Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our List of the Best Jazz Bars and Clubs in Paris

Our complete list of Jazz Clubs in Paris.  Where to hear the best live jazz musicians in Paris.  From A to Z with all Paris Jazz Clubs

Some of these venues are famous Paris jazz bars, some of these places are down and dirty Paris jazz clubs. The opinions here are entirely ours. PLEASE send us your comments to help us keep things up-to-date. (also, if you have any suggestions how to get the accents for our French words working correctly, we're all ears.)

L'Archipel: 17 blvd de Strasbourg 10th, Metro Chateau d’Eau Does double service as a cinema...which means the chairs are comfy, but there's no room to dance (or drink). Two rooms (the blue and the red), and one cheerful ticket-taker. Entrance 9-15 euros.

Atelier Charonne: 21 rue de Charonne 11th,, Metro Bastille or Ledru Rollin. Focus on jazz Manouche. Free, straight-up shows that start some time after 8:30pm.

Autour de Minuit: 11 rue Lepic 18th, Metro Blanche Entrance varies (free to about 10 euros.)

Baiser Sale: 58 rue des Lombards 1st, Metro Chatelet Upstairs from the tiny bar and terrasse, there's a nice-sized room for jams and bands. Almost always worth a visit. (price range usually 10 to 20 euros)

Babilo (alt Bab-ilo): 9 rue du Baigneur, 18th,, Metro Jules Joffrin. Weekend jazz, including Sunday 6:30pm jam sessions (kinda Brazilian, so I hear, though i haven't gotten there yet myself.)

Balle au Bond: floats on the Seine near Notre Dame - in winter, it is on quai de Tournelle, in summer on quai Malaquais, Metro Saint-Michel/Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Jazz on a boat - unpredictable schedule, but this barge stays docked in central Paris, the drinks aren't too expensive, and it has a helluva view.

La Bellevilloise: 19 rue Boyer, 20th, Metro Menilmontant or Gambetta. I'm heading there this weekend. More soon!

Le Bilboquet: 13 rue Saint-Benoit 6th, Metro Saint-Germain-des-Pres Opened in 1947, affiliated with Boris Vian in its early days, this is a must-see, the classy joint if you're staying in a nearby hotel, especially in spring when the glass doors are folded back and music pours out onto the street. Consider coming here for a leisurely dinner or stop in for an after-dinner drink (no cover charge but a glass of wine is 18 euros).

Blue Note: 14 rue Mulle 18th,, Metro Anvers. Jazz & sounds of Brazil.

Boule Noire: 120 blvd Rochechouart 18th, Metro Barbes-Rochechouart. Once a dancehall & cabaret, then a cinema, then a serious punk dive, now a little more stable as a mostly alt-pop/rock venue...but every now and then, a jazz cat books in here.

Le Cafe K: 156 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin 10th, Metro Gare de l'Est. Free Friday night jazz (starts fairly early, around 19h.) --

Cafe Laurent: 33 rue Dauphine 6th, Metro Odeon or Pont-Neuf. Shows start around 9:30pm (approx 10 euros)

Caveau de la Huchette: 5 rue de la Huchette 5th, Metro Saint-Michel. One of the classics, on the 'tourist-hell' strip surrounded by Greek and Italian restaurants (and no, the questionable food is not why the neighborhood is called the Latin Quarter). French 1950s trumpet player Boris Vian played here; it was quite a black turtlenecked scene in its day.

Le Caveau des Oubliettes: 52 rue Galande 5th, Metro Saint-Michel The name refers to the medieval dungeons, where ne'er-do-wells were thrown down a hole and forgotten (oublier). And the Caveau is indeed a dank little cavern...But unlike some of the bigger jazz caves in this city, the Caveau showcases free music, with just the right ambiance between student dive and jazz club. The players are young and pull in the local student population. Where else can you hear a twenty-year-old Parisian do a solo sax riff inspired by the Sound of Music, while celebrity-sighting Keziah Jones?

Cav du 38 Riv' : 38 rue de Rivoli 4th, Metro Hotel-de-ville Shows at 8:30pm except on Sundays, when it's often not jazz but baroque music & starts at 5pm. On weekends & Mondays, do check the website in case there's a private party.

Cithea: 114 rue Oberkamph 11th, Metro Parmentier. Mostly DJs, but occasional jazz.--

Cite de la Musique: 221 ave Jean-Jaures 19th,, Metro Porte de Pantin Depends entirely on the month. Check the schedule for specially programmed musicians--often big names, more towards the experimental spectrum. In the warmer weather, visit the music-based museum exhibits, then go for a stroll through Parc de la Villette, where amazing samba bands, dreamy sax soloists, and a few inevitably rhythm-free bongo players vie for attention on weekends. Unbeatable location for a picnic!

Club Drouot: 20 blvd Montmartre 9th, Metro Richelieu-Drouot Free, doors open around 7 but show only starts around 9pm, so don't knock yourself out. --

Czech Centre's Paris-Prague Jazz Club: 18 rue Bonaparte 6th, Metro Saint-Germain-des-Pres Wow I have to get back to this spot, haven't been for years (I mean YEARS...last time I was there, I still needed a visa to get into Czech Republic...!) And looking at this season's programming, I've been missing some cool stuff. Very central location, too.

Duc des Lombards: 42 rue des Lombards 1st, Metro Chatelet. One of the classics, and for good reason--even with its recent facelift, the Duc still brings 'em in from far 'n wide. For some reason, the place is open for lunch...but forget the food. Come here for the show--whoever it is, they're usually on twice per night, about 8pm and about 10pm.

L'Entrepot: 7 rue Francis de Pressense 14th, Metro Pernety. Not in the usual neighborhood, but once you get here, this funky renovated warehouse includes a great restaurant (with a big quiet patio!), a quirky bar/cafe, and cinema projections. Call first to see what's on--local community shows sometimes take over the programming.

L'European 5 rue Biot 17th,, Metro Place-de-Clichy. Just around the corner from the big cinemas at Clichy.

La Fabrica'son: 157 blvd Gabriel-Peri in the Malakoff suburb just outside of Paris, I aim to get there soon to check out the jam sessions.

La Fenetre: 77 rue de Charonne 11th,, Metro Charonne. Mostly a theatre but they're booking more and more jazz these days. Plus Monday jam session, 9pm, 5 euros.

La Fontaine: 20 rue de la Grange-aux-Belles 10th, Metro Colonel-Fabien These days, Daniel isn't programming as much jazz as he used to because upstairs residents have complained about the noise. But every now & then, there's a great show. Last June, waiting to the band to get going, we leaned on the copper-topped curving bar and gawked at the house drinks (the girlie 'La Fontaine' cocktail consists of kirsch, orange juice and peach liquor...ouch). Friendly barman Daniel started booking jazz here three years ago, because he likes the music and wanted to learn more about it. He calls the bands his 'education'; the first night we dropped in, he'd managed to cram a funky five-piece band (including piano, drumset, and wide-screen Mac laptop) into the tiny space beyond the bar. The young, mostly local crowd drank wine (which costs a reasonable 4 euros a glass), and nobody minded that Daniel had to manoeuvre between the sax player and the bassist to carry drinks to the terrace.

Le Franc Pinot: 1 quai Bourbon 4th, Metro Saint-Paul/Pont Marie  This charming non-smoking venue on Ile Saint-Louis, just off Pont Marie, hosted a wide range of jazz players just about every night in a split-level basement that dated back to the 18th Century.

Harry's New York Bar: 5 rue Daunou 2nd, Metro Opera. The piano room is downstairs, which is less atmospheric than the old-style drinking establishment at street level, where I encourage you to order a Bloody Mary or a Daiquiri and pretend to be Ernest Hemingway or Janet Flanner. After 10pm, Tues-Sat, mosey downstairs to see who's tinkling the piano keys.

Le Houdon: 5 rue des Abbesses 18th, Metro Abbesses. Free jazz nights Friday & Saturday nights; imagine a New York Village jazz dive and an old-fashioned Montmartre café got together & produced a love child: you'd get Le Houdon.

Jawad K Fe: 114 rue de Bagnolet 20th, Metro Gambetta. Afro-beat jazz most Fridays and Saturdays--free, starting after 9pm. --

Jazzcartoon: 138 rue Montmartre 2nd, Metro Bourse. Depends entirely on the week and the whim, Thursday through Sunday, entrance around 12 euros.

Kiosque flottant Bel Horizon: Quai Francois Mauriac, port de la Gare 13th, Metro Quai de la Gare. Especially nice in warmer weather...

7 Lezards: 10 rue des Rosiers 4th, Metro Hotel-de-ville. I know it's long gone now but I just don't have the heart to take it out of the listing...those warm jazz ghosts just linger on.

Lionel Hampton Jazz Club: 81 blvd Gouvion Saint-Cyr, 17th, Metro Porte Maillot (25 euros includes a drink) Inside the Hotel le Meridien Etoile, this upscale joint has been open since 1975. Jazz every night at 22h30, including Big Band, Swing Orchestra, and the occasional soloist. Named for the American bandleader.

Living B'Art: 15 rue de la Vieuville,, Metro Abbesses. --

LMP (Lavoir Moderne Parisien): 35 rue Leon, 18th, Metro Marcadet-Poissoniers Jazz, World, French chanson, and anything else that strikes their fancy, this hipster venue of the 18th is affiliated with nearby L'Olympic Café, at 20 rue Leon. For the summer through to mid-September, drop by on Wednesday or Sunday evenings for the street festival (note that when viewing the schedule on the website, what's listed will more or less match what’s actually happening, though probably it'll start a LOT later than scheduled.) Alternately, just cruise by L'Olympic any evening you're free, if you're in the 'hood. Odds are, something will be going on in the basement room--just ask the bartender.

New Morning: 7 rue des Petites Ecuries, 10th , Metro Chateau d’Eau. One of the legends, a jazz and world club inside a vast old print shop.

L'Ogre a Plume: 49-51 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 11th,, metro Parmentier. Free performances on Saturday nights starting at 9pm. --

Salle Pleyel: 252, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, 8th,, Metro Ternes. Newly-restored, this is now one of the best theatres in the city, accoustic-wise.

Studio de l'Ermitage: 8 rue de l’Ermitage 20th, Metro Menilmontant/Pyrenees. Not always happening, call to be sure.

Sunset: 60 rue des Lombards 1st,, Metro Chatelet Lined in metro-tunnel tiles, the white shiny glare is one of the most atmopheric (or oddest) jazz atmospheres in town - this venue books prestigious bands and the accoustic is much better than you'd expect...

Sunside: same address as above, on the main floor, above the basement tunnel of Sunset. A plain brick-walled space that books some of the best names in the city. Nicer ambiance than downstairs.

Swan Bar:165, Boulevard de Montparnasse, 75006, 01 44 27 05 84. RER Port Royal, metro Montparnasse. This is a great little club up in the historic Montparnasse area. The fabulous cocktail bar is run with a cheerful and creative hand by the lovely Isla, and Lionel does the booking. They show a whole range of jazz styles and the bright, friendly ambience is a nice change from some of the over-smokey cellars that abound in the city.

Le Triton: 11 bis, rue du Coq Français (just out of Paris in Les Lilas) 01 49 72 83 13 , Metro Mairie des Lilas. Good accoustics, great atmosphere, and a sympa little patio & restaurant...add good programming to the mix, and you've got one hell of a good reason to head out just past city limit. Get out at metro Mairie des Lilas, walk down past the "mairie" city hall building, and turn left on French rooster street. Full program on their website.

Café Universale: 267 rue Saint-Jacques 5th, RER Luxembourg. Not my favourite venue (something about those weird sticky seats just puts me off), but popular for its free vocal jam nights (where local talent takes on standards and the occasional surprising song choice) and sometimes packed with English-speakers.

Also, if you want to travel slightly out of the city, there is the Quai du Blues, just outside of Paris on Ile de Jatte, 17 blvd Vital-Bouhot, Neuilly, Metro Pont de Levallois. Check for schedule.


Eric - Concert Paris said...

Congratulations on this very comprehensive list! Do not forget the "Paris Prague Jazz Club" in Czech Centre and the "Bellevilloise" who sometimes organizes jazz concerts.

Anna said...

Hi, like your blog!
Me and my friend enjoyed Caveau de la Huchette and some other clubs (not on your list) when we were young students in Paris in the 60-ties.
Next year we´re going back. We will go to la Huchette again of course, just to remember. Will we be too old...?
But where else could we go without being the oldest ones? We don´t want it too expensive either. A glass of wine or two is perfect.
We prefer tradjazz, blues or swing.
Your advice will be helpful. Thank you!

Karen on Cape Cod said...

Will be in Paris Nov. 1 for a week.
May be playing Cole Porter at the Swan....piano...would love to hear from Anna.....we are same ERA!!
Karen...Cape Cod MA...USA

Karen Marguth said...

Thank you so very much for this list with descriptions... I'll be going to France in July 2012 with my jazz band, to take part in a festival, and we are looking to book some gigs in Paris while we're there.

Perhaps we'll see you there!

-Karen Marguth

Anonymous said...

La Bilboquet is unfortunately closed.