It's hard to explain what it is about Paris that makes everyone who visits it want to feel like a Parisian. Its way of life is copied by the rest of the world and all thanks to its customs, typical of authentic bon vivants, such as the now famous apéro. What are the advantages of this pre-dinner snack between drinks? Lots of it.
"Paris is always a good idea", said Audrey Hepburn in one of her best-known films, Sabrina. And how right she was. No matter how many times you've been to the City of Light, there will always be something new waiting for you, a new corner or experience to discover. So much so that sometimes it can be overwhelming. But that's what Parisians and their customs are for, experts in the good life. That's why their day is structured around breaks to eat, snack or refresh themselves with a good wine. Among these traditions, the Parisian apéro stands out as the most authentic, as it is practically a national treasure. Once you do it, you ask yourself: why am I not doing this every day? Before you take the plunge, we'll tell you a little about its origins, the keys to this gastro custom and its benefits. Bon profit!
What is the Parisian apéro and how did it come about?
To be understood, the apéro is the prelude or preamble to lunch or dinner, that moment before the most important meal of the day. In fact, etymologically speaking, its Latin root comes from the verb aperire, which translates as to open. As the French love to eat, and that also includes letters, "apéro" is an abbreviation of the word "apéritif". It all began in the Middle Ages, when this custom that had become a tradition had a medicinal function: all food that whetted the appetite was considered apéritif. Later, at the end of the 19th century, alcohol came into play among the wealthier classes and, of course, remained an indispensable part of the custom forever.
The apéro is synonymous with getting together with friends or family in a relaxed atmosphere before dinner, generally around 6 or 7 pm. During this gathering, people enjoy drinks accompanied by a light snack. It is said that Parisians at least once a week practice Apero, bringing something extra value and pleasure to a simple dinner or lunch.
The keys to the ritual of the apéro
What makes the Parisian apéro special is not just the enjoyment of drinks and a snack, but the ritual and atmosphere surrounding it. Here are a few key elements that define this ritual if you want to do it at home:
1. Between drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic): The apéro can include a variety of drinks, from wines and cocktails to sparkling water or soft drinks. A Parisian favourite is the "kir", a drink based on crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) and dry white wine.
2. Small but delicious bites: In addition to drinks, a range of snacks are served. These can range from simple pâtés and cheeses to olives, nuts, toast with tapenades or even small quiches. The idea is to enjoy light food that stimulates the appetite before dinner.
3. The point is to relax: The apéro is an occasion to socialise and relax. Most Parisians enjoy it at home or on the terraces of its many cafés. Conversation flows, smiles and anecdotes are shared, and time seems to stand still as you enjoy each other's company.
4. The importance of the time: The apéro is practised early in the evening, which makes it an excellent way to unwind after work and relax before dinner. It is a break from the hustle and bustle of the day and a chance to enjoy life without rushing. Ideally, it should start between 6 and 7pm, given the French dinner time.
5. A toast is a must: No toast, no apéro. Of course, this toast should be made before the start, not after.
Why you'll want to practise Parisian apéro for the rest of your life
It is more than just a culinary tradition that has many benefits if we decide to adapt it to our lifestyle. Nothing can go wrong over drinks, good cheese and surrounded by friends.
1. Encourage connection: Apéro is a wonderful way to get together with friends and family, strengthening bonds and promoting face-to-face communication in an increasingly digital world.
2. After-work Relax: By scheduling a apéro at home, you can set up a time to disconnect from work and reduce stress before dinner.
3. Celebrate gastronomy: By enjoying quality aperitifs and drinks, you can appreciate the richness of local gastronomy and traditions, even when you are not in Paris.
4. Create a special atmosphere: The ritual of the apéro can become a special event that you look forward to. You can give it a personal touch, experimenting with different drinks and snacks to surprise your guests.
5. Live in the present: Apéro allows you to live in the moment, appreciate the little things and value the company of those around you.
Where to have a good apéro in the heart of Paris?
The streets of Paris are full of places where you can get your apéro like a local, but with so much choice, it can sometimes be hard to choose. The best locations are those that are almost secret in the city, such as the exuberant Patio of the Hotel Pulitzer Paris.
In the heart of the eclectic Ópera district but far from the hustle and bustle, this privileged corner is the perfect place to unwind with friends. Or, in other words, for an apéro. Its menu features sophisticated cocktails, delicious tapas and good music. Only tell it to people you really like. That's our secret.