Paris as a city has had an affiliation with jazz that dates back for almost a century. The jazz scene in the French capital is still very vibrant with many jazz clubs and bars dotted around the city. A plethora of styles can be found, ranging from traditional jazz to avant garde, you should be able to find whichever style you could want. Here is our list of some of the best jazz clubs Paris has to offer.
Located in the 1st arrondissement near the Chatelet metro station on Rue des Lombards, a road that has three jazz bars on it, Sunset/Sunside was the first jazz bar on the road to open up in 1983. The façade of this bar is very understated and inside they are not the biggest rooms, but this helps create a nice atmosphere and is how a real jazz bar should be. Sunset is the room on the ground floor that offers electric jazz and music from around the world, and Sunside is the basement room that plays more trendy acoustic jazz. It’s a cosy spot that is a must for jazz fans with intimate rooms that mean the audience is so close to the stage that interaction is common. You can see all sorts here including acoustic jazz musicians, singers, orchestra swing pianists and jam sessions.
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Situated in the 19th arrondissement in the old Gare de Flandre, La Gare is a jazz bar that offers a great place to see live jazz music performed in groups or even in just improvisational jam sessions. The mission for the bars’ owners is to offer free jazz concerts that put a smile on peoples faces – that is certainly the case at this bar. La Gare has events on pretty much every day which encourage free participation and improvisation. The bistro area is 200m2 and the gardens and terraces take up 2000m2, so it is a very spacious area to enjoy some authentic jazz in a stylish venue. Another bonus is the cheap prices with demi beers starting around €3 and coffee for €1.
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Le Duc des Lombards
Arguably the headquarters of jazz in Paris, Le Duc des Lombards is situated a stones throw away from Sunset/Sunside on Rue des Lombards. Initially just a music bar, it turned into a jazz club in 1989 and has since been undoubtedly the address for jazz in the city. It was completely renovated during the 2000s on the model of the mythical Blue Note in New York and is now a more classy establishment than it originally was. The bar attracts world-class musicians to play here and it has one of the best sound systems in the jazz scene in Paris. It has been for years, and still is, the place to go if you want to see some top quality jazz.
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La Petite Halle
Situated in La Villette in the 19th arrondissement in the North East of Paris, this jazz club offers unusual jams and seamless DJ sets. This trendy venue provides a new type of jazz that draws influences from other genres of music. It has seen the legendary Tony Allen playing drums with Robert Glasper and Mos Def, so it has seen some big names in the scene pass through its doors. The loft-like interior provides you with a bright and spacious venue that is usually packed with local musicians and people who have come to enjoy some jazz in a laid-back setting. There is also a really nice terrace for when the weather is good, and they offer some great food like wood-fired pizzas, as well.
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Jazz Club Etoile
Since opening in 1975, this club has held mythical status in Paris’ jazz scene, for now what has been four decades. This jazz club opened up at Le Méridien Etoile hotel with just one pianist who was soon joined by a flurry of jazz musician friends. After having been refurbished, it mixes vintage with modern. It has a curved stage with 200 seats on offer and good sound and lighting systems which allow for an intimate yet spacious venue, perfect for a jazz club. It’s a great place to visit to see the best of French and international jazz.
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While this is not an exhaustive list of the jazz clubs in Paris, we hope this has inspired you to go watch some high quality live music. As a city that has been linked to jazz for so many years, it seems logical for there to be some top quality jazz clubs, so why not check them out during your time in the French capital.
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