The Best Jazz Spots and Events in Paris and Île-de-France
Ile-de-France has got that swing! Concert halls and legendary clubs, bars and restaurants, festivals the whole year through… take your pick.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Saint-Michel
Jazz clubs flourished on the Left Bank in the immediate post-War period, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés will never be forgotten as Paris's original jazz quarter. Even if the Club Saint-Germain has been reborn as a nightclub, other legendary jazz clubs are still in business, such as the inimitable Caveau de la Huchette, created in 1948 in an authentic Medieval stone cellar that's the perfect place to kick up your heels in the lindy hop.
Another nostalgia trip, Le Petit Journal Saint-Michel is devoted to Dixieland and trad jazz. Or try the Café Universel on rue Saint-Jacques, where young artists are invited to test their mettle with the encouragement of a professional house quartet. If you prefer your jazz a little more chic, Chez Papa Jazz Club is for you! Enjoy refined cuisine while listening to dulcet sounds in a room whose walls are covered in autographs.
Rue des Lombards: One Street, Three Clubs
In the very heart of Paris, you'll find Rue des Lombards, withthree of the capital's top jazz clubs Le Duc des Lombards, the Baiser Salé and the Sunset-Sunside crammed along a 50-metre stretch a step away from the busy Place du Châtelet. Without further ado, let's make the introductions. When you arrive from Boulevard Sébastopol, the first thing you see, on the corner of Rue des Lombards, is the attractive slate-coloured front of the Duc des Lombards. On the ground and first floor, the club offers a soft, blue-tinged ambiance, an elegant setting in which to listen to the biggest names in modern jazz via a fine-tuned nightly programme that delights an in-the-know crowd.
A few steps away, the eclectic programming of the Baiser Salé, encompassing Latin, Caribbean and African sounds, will get you into the groove. A favourite for night owls, the bar and terrace stay open into the small hours. Last but not least, the Sunset-Sunside offers two addresses in one! At street level the Sunside, a classy spot with low lights, hosts an up-to-date selection of acoustic New York and Parisian jazz. In the beautiful vaulted cellar, the Sunset programmes more groovy and electric jazz.
Jazz off the beaten track!
Away from the historic neighbourhoods there are plenty of hidden gems. At Porte Maillot, inside the chic Méridien hotel, the Jazz Club Etoile has been going for more than 30 years and has featured numerous stars on the billing including B.B. King, Cab Calloway and Lionel Hampton. The club hosts big bands and the latest talents in soul, blues and funk while its lounge area serves up world cuisine. Paris's near suburbs also have legendary jazz spots, such as Le Triton in Les Lilas, which gives space to the more contemporary forms of jazz and its fusion with other musical styles for a surprising, progressive and poetic mix.
Pantin has its festival, Banlieues Bleues, but also its own concert hall, La Dynamo. The hall was specially designed for improvised music and acoustically primed for the sometimes far-out jazz chords. Its music is diverse, contemporary, open to all influences and never closed to experimentation.
Jazz is also and above all about meeting people who share the same passion, and this gave birth to La Cave du Jazz, a club formed by a group of jazz enthusiasts who decided to organise concerts in the Saint-Pierre/Nemours region.
Since 1991, the non-profit association Auvers'Jazz has programmed and organised quality concerts throughout the year at the Maison de l'Ile in Auvers-sur-Oise, with an average of a concert a month.
And from the end of September to the end of June Eaubonne-Jazz organises a regular event on Tuesday evenings at 9pm combining concerts and jam sessions.
What do you say to jazz for dinner?
Mouth-watering cuisine from restaurants run by jazz fans who sing while they cook, and a great concert… served up on a plate!
The restaurant La Cazaudehore in the Hôtel La Forestière near Saint-Germain-en-Laye has been running its Jazzaudehore evenings for 15 years. It's perfect for an original night out that stimulates all the senses with a gastronomic dinner followed by a jazz concert. All in a bucolic setting in the forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Still going strong, another addition to the attractions around Melun, the restaurant La Vieille Auberge combines home-made country cooking with jazz, hosting talented musicians once or twice a month.
A chic loft ambiance and refined bistro cuisine await at the restaurant La Fabrique in Brie-Comte-Robert, where concerts are organised one a month for the double delight of music and food fans!
At the Paris flea market in Saint-Ouen, the Chope des Puces, historic home-from-home for Django Reinhardt, welcomes the stars of jazz manouche and swing at the weekends, and programmes blues and rock concerts in the week.
Throughout the year and across the region there are jazz festivals to discover, from the best known to the most unexpected
The year starts anew in February with the festival Sons d'Hiver in Val-de-Marne, offering a chance to taste the different forms of Afro-American music and the jazz avant-garde.
It's back to school but no time for the blues, because the beginning of September also brings the festival Jazz à La Villette, with an unmissable panel of artists and original projects… jazz is not dead!
To swing through the autumn days, the festival Jazz au Fil de l'Oise goes out to the public in several locations in the Val d'Oise (Auvers-sur-Oise, Cergy Pontoise, etc.).
Throughout the month of November, Jazzycolors takes up residence in several Paris cultural centres: the festival offers plenty of surprises, giving well-known or relatively unknown artists outside their own country the chance to be discovered in France, and so to promote jazz in the countries represented.