Past the bouncer and down a black staircase 32 feet below ground is Paris's most buzzed-about semi-private club, Le Silencio. Housed where Molière was allegedly buried and Zola printed "J'accuse", it's of little surprise that the enigmatic director David Lynch would select the location for his louche lounge-cum-entertainment space, which he designed (expect gold-leaf walls, raw wood cladding, bespoke neo-1950's furniture) - mere steps into the labyrinthine halls and you've entered the entrails of another world, one that evidently takes cues from Lynch's art.
Before midnight, it's member's only but once midnight strikes, a smartly dressed crowd of cocktail-crazed creatives floods inside, snatching up seats in the art library, loafing at the bar or lighting up in the mirrored smoking room that was conceived to resemble a forest.
Killer cocktails and exclusivity aside, Le Silencio's biggest draw is its broader offering. Presentations from the local artistic set are frequent as are culinary/cultural events, intimate concerts and private screenings.
As the guest of a member, my first visit was not so much to explore the space (though there is plenty to unearth here) but for a private tasting of chef Flora Mikula's work. A couple hours into the evening and I realized Le Silencio wasn't about being seen but about discovery - of high culture and the utterly bizarre.