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Top 5 Spots for Jazz in Paris

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Paris and jazz have a history almost as long as jazz itself.

Although jazz was born in the United States (arguably in New Orleans in the late 19th century), the form quickly spread to Europe, as many African-American “jazzmen” found that their brand of music was both taken more seriously and considered more acceptable across the ocean than back at home. Paris, in particular, opened its arms to these innovative musicians, many of whom settled in Paris after fighting in Europe during World War I. Many jazz historians feel that were it not for Paris’s whole-hearted welcome of jazz and African-American jazz musicians, the music might never have fully developed and found its place in the world.

From 1914 through the 1930’s, the hot spot for jazz in Paris was old Montmartre, a section of the city in which many African-American jazz musicians lived, and the site of many legendary jazz clubs, including Le Grand Duc and Bricktop’s. Decades later, the now ritzy streets just off of the Champs-Elysees were the place to go. Today, jazz can be found all over the city, from huge public venues, to small cozy settings, to a single musician blowing jazz standards on his sax on (or under) a bridge.

If you’re looking for a good venue to enjoy jazz on your trip to Paris, here are a few options.

1. Le Duc des Lombards.

This well-known jazz club has been around for nearly 25 years, and holds a reputation for being warm, intimate and open. Top-notch musicians from around the globe play here, including Steve Swallow, Michele Hendricks, Paolo Fresu. Known especially for its free jazz, you’ll be transported back to the ‘50’s and ‘60s from the first note.

42 rue des Lombards, 1st arrondissement, Paris. Tel. 01.42.33.22.88.

Admission: € 19-25, depending on the performers.

2. New Morning.

One of the most popular jazz clubs in Paris, New Morning holds about 300 people when at capacity, but still manages to have a personal vibe. In terms of décor, don’t expect anything fancy: there are only wooden folding chairs and small tables on which to place your drinks – but you’ll forget about that once the music starts. Buy your ticket in advance, if possible. The lines for tickets the night of a particular concert can get pretty long.

7-9 Rue des Petites Ecuries, 10th arrondissement, Paris. Tel: 01 45 23 56 39.

Admission: € 10, approx.

3. Café Laurent.

This low-key hotel jazz bar has yet to become a big name in Paris, but as far as I’m concerned – that’s great. This is my favorite place to kick back on a comfortable sofa, order a (really well-made) cocktail, and listen to some first-rate jazz. The Christian Brenner trio plays every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, and often invites guest musicians and vocalists from around the world to join them.

33 rue Dauphine, 6th arrondissement, Paris. Tel. 01 43 29 03 33.

Admission: No cover, just one €10 drink minimum after 9pm.

4. Parc Floral Jazz Festival.

If you are a jazz-lover and happen to be in Paris in June and July, you’ll definitely have to check out the annual Jazz Festival at the beautiful Parc Floral de Paris. There are about 1500 seats available, but why not just take a blanket, a bottle of wine and a picnic basket and listen to blissful jazz on the grass, under blue skies? Concerts take place every Saturday and Sunday in June and July, starting from 3pm.

Parc Floral de Paris, boulevard de Ménilmontant, 20th arrondissement, Paris.

Admission: €5.

5. Autour de Midi…et Minuit.

Those who want to listen to jazz on the stomping grounds of the original jazzmen of the 1920’s and 1930’s, will enjoy this cozy club in Montmartre. Although it has not been around long – it opened in 2001 – it has made quite an impression on jazz aficionados. And with its lovely “double voutée” (double vaulted) stone ceilings, even people very into jazz must agree that the place wins top marks for atmosphere.

11, rue Lepic, 18th arrondissement, Paris. Tel.: 01.55.79.16.48

Top 5 Popular Hotels in Montmartre, Paris

Photo of Jazzmen playing on Arcole Bridge, Paris, by Mohsan

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer barbara diggs

Barbara Diggs is a freelance writer living in Paris, France. She has travelled to many European countries with her toddler son in tow, and firmly believes that traveling with a child is not only possible, but fun (if you plan in advance)!

9 responses to “Top 5 Spots for Jazz in Paris”

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  1. Bettina Young says:
    July 2nd, 2010 at 06:50

    Hi, do you know where Michael Grossman jazz/blues painist, arranger and composer is playing is Paris. He was previously in Barcelona for 15 years. I would appreciate an email if you have any information as friends and I will be visiting later this year.
    Thankyou,
    Bettina Young.

  2. sterlyn dabon lee says:
    August 23rd, 2010 at 08:51

    your information will be very helpfu;. My girlfriend and I will visit Paris in March or April next year.

  3. CLARICE fORD says:
    June 23rd, 2011 at 04:57

    COMING TO Paris June 30 -July 7, 2011 for our wedding anniversary and would love to check out a few jazz clubs….please advise .

  4. Bob Atkins says:
    August 26th, 2012 at 17:06

    Coming to Paris September 9, 10, 11: arriving Sunday afternoon and leaving Wed AM. Want to spend an evening listening to Jazz in a great atmosphere. Recommendations?

  5. Karin says:
    March 1st, 2013 at 23:23

    Hi Barbara,
    We’ll be in Paris 28 June to 11 July. Can you tell me what jazz is on at that time. Also what jazz venues are around Ils St Louis?
    Karin

  6. jackie franklin says:
    April 7th, 2013 at 08:19

    I ail b visiting Paris April 12, for 9 days. Looking for a very nice jazzspot. Any suggestions?

  7. jackie franklin says:
    April 7th, 2013 at 08:22

    I will be visiting Paris April 12, for 9 days. Looking for a very nice jazzspot. Any suggestions?

  8. Andrea frezza says:
    May 5th, 2014 at 00:31

    Do you know when and where Elliott Murphy is playing

  9. Dianne Hayden says:
    November 10th, 2014 at 16:03

    I will be in Paris from 12/22 through 12/28/2014. I have a few days free – the 24th, 25th and 27th. Can you suggest something special? My friend and I are celebrating my birthday on the 23rd.
    Thanks for the advice.


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