Get us in your inbox

© Eurydice Coffinier

Live music in Paris: the 10 best bars and venues

The city's greatest places to grab a bière, have a dance and catch a famous singer or an unsigned band

Rémi Morvan
Written by
Rémi Morvan

You’ve done the cafés, you’ve done the bistros, you’ve done the coffee and the pastries and the glasses of wine. You’ve done all the wandering around and having your main character moment in Parisian streets.

The only thing left to completely immerse yourself in Paris’s culture? That’ll be seeing some actual live music, from some really great bands. And there’s music and creativity all over Paris, just waiting to be discovered. On our list, we’ve got huge, grand halls alongside clubs, intimate jazz venues and more. Go on, go to a gig. You’ll love it. 

🥘 The best restaurants in Paris
🎨 The best things to do in Paris
💃 The best clubs in Paris
🏨 The best hotels in Paris

This article was written by the editorial team at Time Out Paris. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Best live music in Paris

1. Le Cigale

With its horseshoe shape, graceful balconies adorned with red borders and theatrical dome, La Cigale is one of the most beautiful and renowned venues in the capital. Originally a venue for vaudeville, variety shows, and cabaret, it wasn't until 1987 that the place, redecorated by Philippe Starck and inaugurated by the Rita Mitsouko, became the stronghold of Parisian concerts as we know it today, with a capacity of over 1,400 seats spread between the pit and the balcony and a serious sound system. Today, La Cigale’s diverse program features everything from up-and-coming French rap artists to international headliners, across rock, jazz and French chanson.

2. La Maroquinerie

Is La Maroquinerie one of the best concert venues in Paris? Probably. The venue, tucked away in the heights of Ménilmontant, boasts quality acoustics and an amphitheatre that holds up to 500, with a clear view even from the back. Concerts here have that extra something, with a stage almost at ground level that puts you in almost physical contact with the musicians. Here, you’ll see established bands and tomorrow’s international stars (Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran both played here in their early days). The programming is avant-garde, eclectic, leaning towards pop and indie rock, but also featuring rap, funk, folk, hip-hop, soul, jazz, and sometimes hardcore, metal, and punk.


3. Olympia

The search is over: the most iconic venue in the capital is hiding at 28 Boulevard des Capucines. It was in 1954 that this spot took a turn towards fame and glamour when Bruno Coquatrix took over. The venue, with a capacity of around 2,000 between the pit and the mezzanine, hosts concerts of all genres year-round as well as public shows. Over the years it’s welcomed international icons like Patti Smith and George Benson, the cream of French rap such as ElGrandeToto, 13 Block, and Alpha Wann, rock legends past and present like The Libertines, Jack White, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and a variety of pop acts including Lara Fabian and Zazie.

4. Petit Bain

Built in the spring of 2011 by a collective of architects, this barge has quite a look with its 45 meters long, 11 meters wide, and 6 meters high structure, featuring a restaurant, a rooftop with a view of the Seine, and a 450-seat concert hall. While the programmers’ indie rock bias is evident, the programming has continued to broaden, both in styles and in time zones – the clubbing nights at Petit Bain are top-notch, pioneering and sharp no matter the kind of music. Lastly, an important detail: the sound system is of such quality that it delights both the audience and the artists.


5. New Morning

On April 16, 1981, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers inaugurated a venue on Rue des Petites-Écuries. The New Morning was born, and continued to thrive for decades, pulsating with the greatest names from the worlds of jazz, reggae, soul, and funk. Today, standing tall at over 40 years old, with its unparalleled history and acoustics, the venue attracts new faces, successfully evolving with new styles like hip-hop or electronic music. The New Morning is a musical temple like few others in Paris, and regular pilgrimages are highly recommended.

6. La Gaîté Lyrique

After ten thousand lives and ten years of work, the Théâtre de la Gaîté transformed in 2011 into the epicenter of Parisian cultural life 2.0, La Gaîté Lyrique. Its interior architecture and ultra-modern decor challenges the ornamental Belle Époque style of its origins (and is as unique as its programming). Its seven multidisciplinary floors propel visitors into the depths of the digital age. In terms of music, the main hall, completely covered in screens, hosts quality concerts and electronic nights for its 850 attendees, curated by the team from Nuits Sonores, one of France's premier festivals. 


7. La Station - Gare des Mines

After etching its legend in the now-iconic Station Sud, the Mu Collective has been maintaining it since 2020 in the grandiose space opposite, La Station, designed by their comrades at Atelier Craft: 5,000 square meters spread between the exteriors – with a restaurant – a blockhouse with 8m-high ceilings, modular speakers, and a capacity of up to 750 people. It’s here that every weekend, a mix of trendy and eclectic crowd gathers, drawn by an artistic program ranging from rock to electronic music; sharp, diverse, sometimes bewildering but never dull. 

8. Philharmonie de Paris

The Philharmonie, with a grand hall of 2,400 seats, offers a rich and abundant program, led notably by the resident musicians of the Orchestre de Paris, who indulge themselves by inviting prestigious foreign conductors all the time. Jean Nouvel’s flagship also hosts a few dates from the Days Off festival in early July and Jazz à la Villette at the end of August.


9. Salle Pleyel

A flagship of classical music in Paris since its creation in 1927, Salle Pleyelhas since 2015 transitioned into the realm of contemporary music, bringing a new audience to discover the Ternes area. Even its walls have undergone significant changes. The concert hall has unveiled a much cosier design, with warm lighting and wooden hues. And a big plus? It’s increased its capacity, now accommodating 2,500 seats compared to 1,900 (with a modular pit) and has undergone substantial acoustic work to adapt to amplified music. Naturally, the lineup spans a wide range, from K-pop to hip-hop to international pop.

10. Boule Noire

La Boule Noire concert hall, with nearly two centuries to its name, has seen its fair share of excitement. After starting as a social club in the 19th century, it became a dance hall, then a cabaret and cinema, before embracing rock in the 1990s, hosting bands for their first performances in Paris (like Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix). With a new programming team in 2019, and Laure Togola joining in September 2023, the venue has discovered the fountain of youth. The lineup now includes the best international indie rock bands from all stylistic backgrounds, exceptionally good hip-hop nights and electronic influences.

    You may also like
    You may also like