They say you can’t have it all, and you know what? They’d be annoyingly right. Paris has provided for me with so many wonderful things, from the cultural to the culinary, but all the warm delicious croissants in the world can’t make up for the fact that France is a country with no interest whatsoever in the one subject closest to my heart; cricket.
You can stop that frowning in contempt at the screen right this minute. We all have our weird and wonderful passions, and for most of you out there I can confidently bet that includes some kind of sport (though if that means French favourite handball there’s really not much I can do to help you). Coming from a family full of sports-mad females, don’t you girls be thinking I’m tuning you out here, even if you don’t get into the odd game, I imagine you’re partial to the odd drink or two.
In the need to sate my sporting passion, I have done extensive research in the subject of finding a screen showing the action I want in a city where sport is secondary. And as we slide into February, the timing couldn’t be better to share my findings with the start of the rugby Six Nations on 6th, not to mention a full year’s calendar including the Euro 2016 football cup, Rio Olympics and Tour de France approaching soon after.
The good news is that there are plenty of options (though lesser south of the river), with a huge array of anglophone bars showing most sports, most days. The most obvious candidates are the big chain heavyweights Café Oz and O’Sullivans with several locations a piece, but cosier Irish alternative Corcoran’s lets me test my pool skills, and so gets my vote. McBride’s in central Châtelet in also a good bet.
On more independent level, the English crowd will feel particularly at home in The Coq & Bulldog, The Bombardier, The Bowler or The Cricketer and the Scots at The Thistle, The Pure Malt, The Highlander or The Auld Alliance. In absence of any Welsh themed drinking holes, our British cousins will just have to pick a side.
For a more North American selection of games, The Great Canadian and The Moose win hands down and you can enjoy the action with a bowl of that chips/cheese/gravy combo they’re crazy about over there. Southern Hemisphere sports fans have fewer options, but South African bar Pomme d’Eve and charming Australian-run Prohibition-themed The Bootleg (with bonus pool table) are some of the best independent places in the city you could hope to find, whatever your nationality.
Beware the anglophone-looking French bar who have no idea what the Ashes are as I discovered to my horror very early on in my search, and don’t be afraid to call and ask just to guarantee they’ll be playing the exact game you’re after. Some will even tape games taking place in the wee small hours so you don’t miss any of the action. And if you steal my stool at the bar, the concept of fair play won’t even come into it…