Jazz was first introduced to France by African-American soldiers during the First World War, who marched their music through 2,000 miles of tiny French villages and huge concert halls. Led by Lieutenant James Reese Europe, the 369th Harlem Infantry Regiment band travelled everywhere, thus creating a jazz craze among the French population. After the war many jazz musicians settled in France, and began delighting cabarets and club audiences in Paris’ Lower Montmartre. The years passed and Parisian jazz has lost nothing of its vitality or diversity. Have a look at the 10 best places to see live jazz in the city.
A cosy little jazz hub in an iconic street
Sunset Sunside has a vaulted, dimly lit salon with a stage so close to the audience that interaction with the musicians becomes natural and almost instinctive. This is a cozy little place to go as a couple. Expect a selection of more acoustic jazz musicians, singers with velvet voices, and orchestra swing pianists. The jam sessions are an invitation to journey into old times, where nostalgics of Billie Holiday will feel blessed.
The Sunset/Sunside, 60 Rue des Lombards, Paris, +33 1 40 26 46 60
Hier soir, je suis très émue par les trois ovations debout à #Paris au #sunsetsunside #jazzclub . Je suis très honoré par l’amour que vous #Parisiens ont partagé avec mon groupe et moi-même! Oui, je veux être de retour et j’espère que cela ne prendra pas plus longtemps, mais je peux vous demander de m’aider par étaler votre enthousiasme au sujet de ma musique avec vos amis et amateurs de jazz. C’est une nuit que je n’oublierai jamais! Merci et à bientôt! 😘 Muito obrigada queridos Portugueses que estiveram ontem em Paris a ouvir-me e a aplaudir-me! Fico sempre tão tão feliz de vos ver! Obrigada e um até breve! Sintam-se à vontade em partilhar a minha música com os vossos amigos entusiastas de boa música e da cultura Portuguesa. Beijinhos #innocentiacd #innocentiatour #mariamendes #myneumann #mariamendesjazz #jazz #vocaljazz COPYRIGHT PHOTO: #arthurenard
Le Petit Journal Montparnasse
Jazz à la Woody Allen
At Le Petit Journal, located on the side of Montparnasse, you can enjoy a meal and drink a glass of wine while reliving the heyday of jazz. The program includes orchestral, soul, the iconic brass bands of New Orleans, and singers who resurrect the great divas. It’s a leap in time for old school jazz enthusiasts.
Le Petit Journal Montparnasse, 13 Rue du Commandant René, Mouchotte, Paris, +33 1 43 21 56 70
Le Duc des Lombards
The flagship of Rue des Lombard’s jazz scene
Just a stone’s throw from Sunset Sunside is one of the Parisian headquarters of jazz, Le Duc de Lombards. Expect to watch the cream of jazz stroll on stage — it’s almost hypnotic. The chic program is led by the owner Sebastien Vidal, who is always willing to open his microphones to both local regulars and acts at the forefront of the international scene.
Le Duc des Lombards, 42 Rue des Lombards, Paris, +33 1 42 33 22 88
La Chope des Puces
The temple of Jazz Manouche
La Chope des Puces remains a mythical venue where, for decades, Manouchist (jazz manouche musicians) greats –often neighbors and customers of the small café — like Django Reinhart made their name by celebrating gypsy jazz as part of the local music. On weekends, the Manouche community that lives in the periphery and visitors to the nearby famous flea market often mix and dance together in this legendary space.
La Chope des Puces, 122 Rue des Rosiers, Saint-Ouen, Paris, +33 1 40 11 02 49
Le Baiser Salé
A simple place with a very distinctive soul
A mojito in hand, a sharp group mixing jazz and funk, and a warm atmosphere where amateurs and connoisseurs joyfully mingle. This is the triple promise of Le Baiser Salé, nestled (again) in the lively Rue des Lombards, and literally attached to Sunset Sunside. Opening in the 1980s, the club keeps things simple, consisting of only a bar — rum is its specialty — and a stage. An interesting fusion of several musical styles like salsa and soul is the secret behind this emblematic venue.
Le Baiser Salé, 58 Rue des Lombards, Paris, +33 1 42 33 37 71
A original place that refuses to be defined
In the Lilas, in the east of Paris, the experimental niche is held by the Vivante brothers. A restaurant, concert hall, and rehearsal studio, this venue functions as a haven for artists who come here to record their projects. Piano, saxophone, jazz, rock, world music; at Le Triton everything is played in a spirit of discovery and openness.
Le Triton, 11 Bis Rue du Coq-French, Paris, +33 1 49 72 83 13
Historical venue for well-informed jazz fans
It was here that Art Blakey played the first note in 1981. New Morning is a talented sponsor for the small hall of the Tenth Arrondissement, which has hosted, among many, Archie Shepp and Chet Baker. Today, New Morning has opened its horizons to the world of music, and features reggae, folk, blues, and rock gigs, as well as jazz.
New Morning, 7-9 Rue des Petites-Ecueries, Paris, +33 1 45 23 51 41
Caveau de la Huchette
Thematic jazz from the 1920s
For all those who dream of diving back into the heyday of retro jazz in the 1920s, this music den is a must; all of the post-war jazz greats have performed at Caveau de la Huchette. Every evening, Parisians dance under the stone arch of an old execution chamber to the sounds of orchestras, crooners, and brass big bands.
Caveau de la Huchette, 5 Rue de la Huchette, Paris, +33 1 43 26 65 05
For eclectics, a mix and match
The XIth Arrondissement also has the right to vibrate every night to the sound of jazz. For Les Disquaires, dressed club day is the watchword in order to discover new faces. The place welcomes both American jazz and funk, soul and samba, and prolongs the night with DJ sets, proving that jazz has never dated.
Les Disquaires, 4-6 Rue des Taillandiers, Paris, +33 1 40 21 94 60
The Duke’s Bar
Jazz in a very chic, British style
Located close to the Place Vendôme, the bar of the Hotel Westminster organizes perfect jazz evenings every Friday and Saturday night. Things get a bit British with the opportunity to decompress from a week’s work in front of a club sandwich. Afterwards, you can sink into the big green armchairs that Duke’s recycled from old libraries and antique furniture shops. It’s an ideal location for ardent fans of George Gershwin.
The Duke’s Bar, 13 Rue de la Paix, Paris, +33 1 42 61 55 11
Check out the program of jazz gigs in Paris for more information and options.