Meseras dressed in bulletproof vests, the face of Pablo Escobar painted on the walls and the soundtrack of the series & nbsp; Narcos & # 39; as background music. Welcome to Medellin, an exclusive discotheque in the heart of Paris, which has caused the indignation of Colombians.
Here you drink, you eat, you dance and you kill yourself, "read the invitation to the opening party of this nightclub that opened in November in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the French capital, and it has become one of the favorite meeting places of it wealthy Parisian youth.
There is no identification sign on the façade. Following the trend of hidden bars, Medellín is hidden behind a taqueria, "Chez Pablo", where you can taste a Pacho Herrera, a vegetarian taco named after the third leader in charge of the Cali cartel, or a "Tuscan son", a caviar taco for 90 euros (about 105 dollars).
But "Beware! It's not easy to go into the most famous cartel all the time, you have to send to the ceremony" silver or lead "with Popeye, the boss of the taqueria" and Escobar's lieutenant, he warns the day call to the evening of opening that circulated in social networks.
At the entrance, covered with mirrors from the ceiling to the floor, the theme "Tuyo" is heard by Rodrigo Amarante, the introductory song to the hit series "Narcos" on Netflix, in a loop, exploring the story of the great Colombian capo of cocaine.
In the main room there are several references to the universe of narco terrorism. "Medellin is a very beautiful city, but built on a cemetery, this is full of dead people, it was an orgy of blood," reads a wall.
In a corridor, partygoers can discover the organell frame of the Medellín cartel, led by Escobar, while drinking a tequila-based cocktail called María Victoria, in honor of the widow of the drug baron.
All of these references to drug culture do not seem to interfere with the revolutions that dance to the rhythm of Juan Luis Guerra, Héctor Lavoe or Willie Colón. "We don't want to discourage the Colombians, we're here just to have fun and dance," Léa explains, a 23-year-old Parisian.
& # 39; Clarification of a Killer & # 39;
But the many eyes of the dreadful boss are not to everyone's taste. A week after the establishment, dozens of Colombians living in Paris opened a protest to express their disapproval.
"For us as Colombians, it is shocking that the most bloodthirsty killer in Colombia is historically in a public place." Juan David Castillo, a 35-year-old manizaleño (west of Colombia) who organized the demonstration with others, told AFP. countrymen living in France.
"Pablo Escobar is responsible for more than 5,000 direct deaths in Colombia […] and knowing people are dancing there … For me it's an insult! "adds this lawyer who is now dedicated to making Colombian dishes in Paris.
"It's not about sacrificing oneself, it's about rescuing who is the farmer and who is the victim of this story. The fine is not the hero," says Angélica Toro, a psychologist who was born in Medellin in the 1980s. It is part of the generation "who lived in the meat of the Escobar years".
But the owner of the disco, Audren Dimitris, denies any "enchantment" to Escobar. "Whether you like it when you think of Medellin, you think of Pablo, but that's not the main problem, it's just a snap," explains this Frenchman of Greek origin while greeting his regular clients.
To calm the mood, this 37-year-old businessman made some changes. He removed the name Pablo Escobar, as well as the birth dates (1949) and death (1993), of a false grave in front of which customers could pick up and light a light.
"We've made some changes because we realized some things could hurt the Colombians, and that's not our goal," Dimitris defends.
The South American collector launched an online petition requesting that all references to Escobar be deleted and that the name of Medellin is not linked to its figure. "There is a lack of respect for Colombian families who knew the fear and death of this man," said the petition, signed by over 5,000 people.