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Popular Music & Jazz

Major Concert Venues

Paris-Bercy (aka Palais Omnisport Paris-Bercy — POPB)
Rue de Bercy, 12th
M° Bercy
Tel 08 92 69 23 00.

This grass-covered pyramid with up to 17,000 seats hosts major sporting events, music concerts and shows such as Madonna, Disney on Ice, and Carmen Burana.

Le Zénith
Parc de la Villette, 19th
M° Porte-de-Pantin
Tel 01 42 08 60 00

This modern concert hall seats up to 6400 spectators. Not very big, but considered to be one of the best Paris venues by top musicians and rock stars looking for a more “intimate” atmosphere (so book early to see your favorite bands). Tickets from FNAC and other regular outlets.

28 Boulevard des Capucines, 9th
M° Madeleine
Tel 08 92 68 33 68

Even more intimate than the Zénith, this small and exclusive concert hall was originally solely a bastion of French artists, but more and more international acts such as Blur and Elton John are scheduling their Paris concerts here instead of at the big stadiums.

Le Bataclan
50 boulevard Voltaire, 11th
M° Oberkampf or Richard Lenoir
Tel 01 43 14 35 35.

Built in 1864 as a theatre with an odd Chinese pagoda façade (newly painted in DayGlo colors), the Bataclan had many ups and downs over the years, eventually falling into disrepair and neglect in the 1950s. Today little of its original historical charm is intact, but it lives on anyway as a popular concert hall hosting international musicians playing everything from rock and heavy metal to jazz and World Music with seating for up to 1100 people. The hall also transforms into a dance club on some nights, throwing fabulous themed soirées.

L’Elysée Montmartre
72 Boulevard Rochechouart, 18th
Tel 01 42 23 46 50

Going strong since 1807, this Parisian nightlife landmark has seen everything from can-can dancers to rave parties. Today this compact venue in the heart of the Pigalle district plays host to DJ dance parties, fashion shows, top international musicians, and the traditional monthly Bal Elysée (old-fashioned dancing to a full orchestra).

Jazz Venues

Parisians have been loyal jazz lovers since the Americans first introduced it in the city’s clubs in the 1920s. Today Paris is second only to New York in the number of jazz clubs, featuring both local jazz talent and the many international stars that return to Paris year after year.

Duc des Lombards
42 Rue des Lombards, 1st
M° Châtelet-Les Halles
Tel 01 42 33 22 88

One of the top jazz venues in Paris for the past 15 years, with French and international jazz stars. This is one of the few jazz clubs that lets you reserve a table. Concerts at 9:30pm .

New Morning
7-9 Rue des Petits-Ecuries, 10th
M° Château d’Eau
Tel 01 45 23 51 41

This is one of the more prestigious jazz clubs in Paris (despite the somewhat scruffy neighborhood), a hot and smoky club featuring major names and serious young talent. Nightly concerts at 9pm , doors open at 8pm. Get there early for a good seat.

Also check out Bremner Duthi’s site Paris Loves Jazz

Other Live Music Clubs

Harry’s New York Bar – Piano Bar
5 Rue Daunou, 2nd
M° Opéra
Tel 01 42 61 71 14

Harry’s New York Bar has been a Paris legend since Hemingway’s day. The piano bar is downstairs, with comfy upholstered seating and pre-WWII caricatures decorating the walls. George Gerschwin supposedly annoyed the bar clients upstairs while composing “An American in Paris ” on Harry’s piano. Frequented by the post-theatre crowd and smartly-dressed locals as well as a smattering of tourists. All are equally welcome! Open Monday-Friday 10pm-2am , until 3am Saturdays.

Canal Opus
167, Quai de Valmy, 10th
M° Louis Blanc
Tel 01 40 34 70 00

This large restaurant and club on the Canal St-Martin features live jazz, soul, pop, gospel, reggae and French chanson. The mezzanine restaurant (menus from €30) features views over the concert stage.

Nouveau Casino
109 Rue Oberkampf, 11th
M° Ménilmontant
Tel 01 43 57 57 40

Located behind the Oberkampf HQ, Café Charbon, the Nouveau Casino is primarily known for its electronic music and clubbing after midnight . But they also host a number of live indie rock, punk and pop concerts. The venue is quite small, a retro futuristic look with a bar that glows. The crowd is mostly made up of youngish hipster types out to have fun (ie no attitude, please).

La Scène
2bis Rue des Taillandiers, 11th
M° Ledru-Rollin
Tel 01 48 06 50 70

This former warehouse on the edge of the Bastille neighborhood has both live concert and clubbing nights, with an eclectic program of both unknown and popular electronic, hip hop and rock musicians. Small venue, standing room only (to eep in mind when choosing footwear). Similar crowd to the Oberkampf scene: alternative, young, and virtually snob-free.

La Dame du Canton (formerly Le Guinguette Pirate)
Quai François Mauriac, 13th
(at the foot of the Bibliothèque François Mitterand)
M° Quai de la Gare
Tel 01 43 49 68 68

An old Chinese junk converted into a pirate ship, this floating venue has live pop, rock, acoustic and World Music concerts, improv’ theatre, free poetry readings and nostalgic French chanson. A charming venue unlike anything else in Paris ! Open Tuesday-Thursday 7pm-2am , weekends until dawn, and Sunday depending on the program. Most concerts start at 8pm , same time the restaurant “le Cantine” opens for dinner.

7-15 Avenue de la Porte de la Villette, 19th
M° Porte-de-la-Villette
Tel 01 40 36 55 65

This alternative artistic and cultural venue has an eclectic, international program featuring everything from Indie rock, Cuban salsa, punk accordion, Brazilian orchestra, and African percussion. There are also arts expositions and film screenings. Located on the very edge of Paris near the Parc de la Villette, it’s virtually tourist-free.

Flèche d’Or Café
102bis Rue de Bagnolet, 20th
M° Alexandre Dumas
Tel 01 43 72 42 44.

Once an abandoned train station, the Fleche d’Or is now a bar-club-concert venue-restaurant popular with a diverse crowd from students and locals. After being closed for “disturbing the peace”, it re-opened in 2006 with a firm focus on indie rock, electro, and clubbing. Concerts are free, and the restaurant (8pm-midnight) has big salads and food platters around €13. Laid-back crowd, no dress code, and far, far, far from the center of town, so be sure to catch that last metro if you don’t have taxi fare.

Popular Music Festivals

Fête de la Musique
The longest day of the year – June 21 — is celebrated throughout France with an all-night musical festival in the streets, bars, concert halls, and parks. Schedules can be found at the tourism office, town halls and in most weekly entertainment guides and newspapers, or just be spontaneous and follow your ears around the city.

Paris Jazz Festival

Pull up a deck chair or just lie on the grass at the Parc Floral de Paris (Bois de Vincennes) for the free jazz concerts every weekend at 3pm from mid-May through July. Tel 08 20 00 75 75. Entry to the park is €3 (€1.50 for students 7-26).

Hippodrome de Longchamp, Bois de Boulogne This annual music festival (1st weekend in July) is dedicated to raising money and awareness for AIDS and HIV organizations in France and around the world. Top headliners over the years have included Earth, Wind & Fire and Indochine, as well as many alternative and underground groups. Tickets for the three days are €40, campsites (tent provided) are €7 for three nights. Reserve early, the festival regularly sells out.

Paris Quartier d’Eté
From July 14 – August 15, the gardens, squares and parks of Paris host a wide range of international music concerts, dance, and theatre productions. Tel 01 44 94 98 00.

Techno Parade
This noisy and colorful parade of floats blasting every kind of electronic music from techno to trance takes place every 3rd Saturday in September. Tel 01 42 47 84 75.

This two-day festival at the end of August is the largest commercial rock festival in the Paris region, with a gorgeous venue in the historic Parc de St-Cloud (the end of metro line 10). Headliners have included Foo Fighters, Beck, Radiohead, the Raconteurs, Pixies, Morrissey, Robert Plant, and Queens of the Stone Age. There’s a campsite and all of the usual stands. Two-day passes are about €65 if you can get one before they sell out. Read my article all about it here.

Fête de l’Humanité
This festival of mostly French musicians is to benefit social causes, so the tickets are extremely cheap for the number of concerts (€10 in 2006 for the three days), and you can learn about all sorts of non-profits helping to make the world a better place. It takes place in the Paris suburbs of La Corneuve in early September.

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