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Jazz clubs and bars

The best venues in Paris to listen to live jazz

© Heinrich Klaffs

Recommended jazz clubs

Au Duc des Lombards

Critics' choice

This venerable jazz spot goes from strength to strength, attracting a high class of performer and a savvy crowd. Check out the 'bon plans' section of the website, which offers reduced-price tickets for certain concerts.

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Châtelet

New Morning

Critics' choice

Jazz fans crowd into this hip, no-frills joint to natter, drink and boogie to the consistently excellent live music. Low key it may be but it's still worth looking out for the occasional A-lister - the likes of Spike Lee and Prince have been known to grace the New Morning with their presence...

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Château d'Eau

Caveau des Oubliettes

Critics' choice

A foot-tapping frenzy echoes in this medieval dungeon, complete with instruments of torture, a guillotine and underground passages. Mondays are Pop Rock Jam nights with the JB Manis Trio, Tuesdays are Jazz Jam Boogaloo nights with Jeff Hoffman, and there are various other jam sessions during the rest of the week.

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5th arrondissement Free

Salle Pleyel

Critics' choice

Home to the Orchestre de Paris and Orchestre Philharmonique Radio France, the restored concert hall looks splendid. If the improved acoustics are only partially successful, the venue has nevertheless regained its status as the capital's leading concert hall for large-scale symphonic concerts, and should keep it until the completion of the city's new concert hall in 2012. Soloists read like a who's who of classical music, and this season includes an interesting series entitled Pollini Perspectives, which gives the great pianist free musical rein.

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Champs Élysées and western Paris

Le Sunset/Sunside

Critics' choice

A split-personality venue, with Sunset dealing in electric groups and Sunside hosting acoustic performances. Their renown pulls in big jazz names.

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1st arrondissement

Le Baiser Salé

The 'Salty Kiss' divides its time between passing chanson merchants, world artists and jazzmen of every stripe, from trad to fusion.

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Châtelet

Caveau de la Huchette

Critics' choice

This medieval cellar has been a mainstay for over 60 years. Jazz shows are followed by early-hours performances in a swing, rock, soul or disco vein.

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5th arrondissement

Cité de la Musique

This Villette museum/concert complex welcomes prestigious names from all over the globe, and also does a fine line in contemporary classical, avant-jazz and electronica.

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Parc de la Villette

Jazz Club Etoile

A couple of steps off the Champs-Elysées, this jazz club got its current name after a face-lift in 2009, though it hasn’t moved – it’s still under the same roof, at the Méridien Etoile hotel. Created in 1975 by French jazz drummer and actor Moustache, this club continues to be a hotspot for American jazz, even though it tends towards a more mixed line-up these days, opening its doors to soul and funk. Connoisseurs can peruse a whisky list as long as the Mississippi, but don’t miss the vast cocktail list, running from the classics to more creative concoctions.

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Champs Élysées and western Paris

Ateliers de Charonne

Critics' choice

This spanking new jazz club is the place to see the rising stars of gypsy jazz (jazz manouche). If you want to grab a good spot near the front of the stage, reserve for dinner and the show.

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11th arrondissement Free

Recommended jazz bars

Les Disquaires

Critics' choice

In its newly-renovated, shiny red interior, Les Disquaires’s little stage directly faces the dancefloor and the decks, and temporary exhibitions by Parisian artists decorate the walls around the bar. The venue is a good Bastille quarter bet for enjoying a quality gig over a cocktail or a beer during happy hour, and even music novices will always find something to enjoy in the programme of live jazz, funk, hip-hop and soul. For those who want to press on until the early hours (2am), the organisers always have a DJ set or two up their sleeve. It’s always a good idea to look in here to get an idea of what’s setting Parisian pulses racing – for the programme details, take a look at their website (French only).

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Bastille

Onze Bar

Critics' choice

A little boho bar that’s just the way we like them, Le Onze seethes with people day and night. Very hip and popular right now, its been done up in (very) shabby chic – the stuffing of the big sofas is oozing out, witness to many wild parties. Daily concerts range from Balkan folk to rock’n’roll, via via jazz, blues, funk or afrobeat (see the program on the (French) website here), and the music never fails to produce a fantastic atmosphere, with people getting up to dance wherever they can find room between the tables and chairs. Even during the week, the bar teems with regulars topping themselves up with the very well priced beers or house rum cocktails. There’s also a menu with things like roasted Camembert with garlic, duck pie, herby beef skewers and cheesecake, all at reasonable prices.

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11th arrondissement

Café Babel

Critics' choice

From the minute you step in the door of Café Babel, you feel like you’ve crossed the threshold of a Miró or a Matisse dreamscape, an artistic encounter between Africa and Europe. The walls are covered in stylised paintings, lines of poetry and vibrant colours. Dragonflies woven out of wire sit on the ceiling, so cast your eyes up as you knock back your coffee to take it all in. This local café represents the cultures that give Ménilmontant its buzz through their music – Raï, zouk, gypsy jazz, swing and chanson française are just a few of the musical styles that meet onstage here from Tuesday to Sunday. Café Babel is a real neighbourhood institution. Rated by the likes of Manu Chao and Zebda, it has stood the test of time without losing its popular identity. The warm welcome, fun crowd and pocket-friendly prices bring together old regulars and newcomers in the know.

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11th arrondissement

Les Trois Arts

Critics' choice

Had enough of cocktail bars that are too cool by half? Here’s a real local bar that’s buzzing with things to do and has a rustic country style. This Breton tavern dedicated to traditional entertainment offers a mix of live arts and lessons on the art of living. You can hear folk, jazz, klemer or classical concerts, or take part in French, Irish, Mediterranean and Eastern European storytelling evenings. Occasionally, you’ll happen upon plays, improv and comedy. All that goes on in the basement, but the bar upstairs also lays on activities. You can borrow board games to pore over in the library, and they’ll even lend you works of art on show as part of the De l’art chez toi (Art at Your Place) initiative. The good food and generous portions will take you back to grandma’s kitchen, with stew, a two-litre soup tureen to share, a cheese board, and every Friday, kig ha farz, a traditional Breton dish from Léon in Finistère. Reservations recommended. Enjoy with a barley ale on tap, a glass of cider, a ‘hypocras’, a specialty of the house and sort of medieval aperitif, or a chouchen, a honey-based Breton aperitif.

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20th arrondissement

Chez Adel

Patron Adel is probably the most renowned chanson café owner in Paris, and this fine den of kitsch attracts countless devotees with its repertoire of chanson and Eastern European sounds.

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10th arrondissement

Mama Kin

Critics' choice

Opened near the Canal de l’Ourcq, Mama Kin jumped right in, offering a full programme of live music and DJ nights since its launch in May 2011. Their dedicated crew organises regular acoustic concerts, inviting jazz manouche, rock, funk, blues and folk groups, or DJs spinning hip hop, reggae, groove and soul. Separated into two rooms, the bar is painted a sandy colour. You’d think you were at the beach, with exotic trinkets washing up on the shore. A striking mural by street artist Da Cruz stretches across the walls of the room next door where the concerts are held. It’s worth coming for the unique, vibrant surroundings alone. Once you’re there, you’ll be tempted by a wide variety of Belgian beer. It’s also open during the day for coffee or a quick meal on the hop including savoury tarts or a ‘welsh’ (rarebit).

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Bassin de la Villette

Le Kibélé

Stashed away below a Turkish restaurant, this little basement is a landmark for new talent and small groups from far-flung places as they pass through Paris. Order a glass at the restaurant bar (there isn’t one downstairs) and head down into the cosy, softly-lit vaulted room to settle in and enjoy acoustic concerts of Latin music, klezmer, jazz or chanson française. Early in the week and early each night, actors and comedians try their luck on the little stage (check the listings online). Here, artists pass the hat at the end of each show – don’t forget to show your appreciation as it makes the rounds!

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Château d'Eau

L'Angora

This newcomer is small compared to the barns of places that have cropped up along the streets of Bastille. Happily, its careful renovation did well to preserve the essence of the 1930s café, highlighting the Art Deco designs and period mouldings. Opened in 2009, it revived the tradition of the bar-concert with acoustic gigs of chanson française, folk, jazz, blues, bossa nova and tango. Amateurs can try their hand the open mic nights. In the glow of the beautiful globe chandeliers, a neighbourhood vibe reigns, which is rare enough in this corner of the 11th arrondissement, where the touristy hubbub has stripped much of the local colour. Yet it’s the pleasures of the palate that will keep you at L’Angora until closing time. The menu, designed by French-Italian cooks, changes daily to keep up with fresh deliveries from the market. That said, they keep up a few key specialities like warm chèvre profiteroles and baked eggs with foie gras. Bliss! At L’Angora, the food is fresh and the music mellow – one to be shared with friends.

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3rd arrondissement

Péniche Antipode

Critics' choice

In 2002, the Abricadabra theatre company transformed this boat moored on the Canal de l’Ourcq into a floating café, with shows for youngsters during the day and plays and concerts for adults in the evenings. In this enchanting Peniche (houseboat), kids 3-8 years old are entertained and educated by screenings, mimes, songs, comedies, shadow puppets and more – and the actors’ antics contain many a nod and a wink for the adults’ amusement. In the evenings, the Peniche alternates gypsy jazz, rock, reggae, blues or funk concerts with improv or theatre sketch nights, and from time to time DJs will spin roots, dub, electro or breakbeat. The bar is well supplied, but you won’t find coca-cola – the products are all artisanal and fair trade.

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19th arrondissement

Le Blue Note

Critics' choice

The name might lead you to expect a real old-school jazz cub, but this bar-club, open evenings from Friday to Sunday, offers an exclusively Brazilian program of live music. It’s an institution for the Carioca and Paulista communities of Paris who come here to sing some MPB (Música Popular Brasileira), dance some samba and listen to Brazilian jazz. on an average night, two or three successive bands take to the stage and play until 5am. On Saturdays, the headline acts are better known than those playing on Friday, while Sunday evenings begin gently with a Brazilian jazz jam before moving on to MPB. Things always end the same way, though, with a tropical-themed party.Apart from Brazilians, many regulars from the neighbourhood also come to soak up the tropico-Latino atmosphere and unwind. Admission is free but drinks are expensive (€10 a beer), and beware the occasionally sleazy clientele and aggressive bouncers.

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Free

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Jazz clubs