The concept's simple enough: invite a dozen French artists/bands to a studio, split them up into groups, give them two hours to compose something, and get them to play the fruits of their labours in a one-off concert to remember. This is the long and short of the 'Secreètes Sessions', the sixth edition of which took place last weekend with the likes of Narrow Terence, Bukowski, Cheateau Brutal, Kyan Khojandi, Rhinogrades and Boris Viande. Those not lucky enough to make it to the gig can catch up courtesy of a YouTube playlist and a free album download on Bandcamp. Our favourite tracks are 'Play It Loud', 'Old Man', 'My Fork', 'Burning Août' and 'No Solution', though all are worth a spin – as are the back catalogues of these hot artists.
For more details, take a look at the official website of Secrètes Sessions (French only).
Five addresses to set you spinning Fargo Store Fargo, with its wooden windows and neon lights, wouldn’t look out of place in San Francisco. It’s got a USA feel inside too (despites being a stone’s throw from the Canal Saint-Martin), with collections that cover ‘country’ music and all its forms (rock, pop, folk and new-wave). The shop’s only been around since 2010, but it’s got good connections... Souffle Continu Opened in 2008, Souffle Continu quickly became one of the musical stars of the neighbourhood thanks to its owners, Bernard and Théo, a pair passionate about vinyl and obsessed with discovering the newest releases, while never forgetting the fundamentals. From jazz improv to harsh noise, from indie rock to black metal... Born Bad Now here’s a record shop not to miss – Born Bad – a rock ‘n’ roll central with its own label that has signed excellent French rock groups like ‘Cheveu’, ‘Magnetix’ and ‘Yussuf Jerusalem’. But aside from its own bands, the shop also offers an array of cool sound, from punk and 70s rock ‘n’ roll, to blues and hardcore. There’s even a special rockabilly and 50’s section filled with the gems of days gone by... Plus de bruit Jean-Paul has been running Plus de Bruit for 17 years, and is an unmistakable figure in the neighbourhood – his store is always full of regulars come to see what’s new in stock since their last visit. A rare pressing of a Standells compilation, indie rock vinyl from the ’90s, French punk bands… you can spend hours rummaging for
Long past closing time, long before bed time? Don't head out on the tiles in Paris without a back-up list of cool venues that won't stiff you for the entrance fee. These laid-back dives are everything a night owl on a budget could wish for. Clubs with free entry La Java At the back of a superb Art Deco building, La Java has been the venue for Parisian night owls since the 1930s. In this working-class area of Belleville, Django Reinhardt, Edith Piaf and Jean Gabin all made their names to the sound of the accordion. In the decades that followed, the rebellious bourgeois youth came to let their hair down to a rock soundtrack. Then, in the 1980s, the nocturnal fauna of the Parisian ‘trash underground’ came here to listen to punk rock. There followed a fallow period of low-quality salsa, but La Java has recently rediscovered its original vocation as an anti-establishment club, with a programme featuring garage rock, punk dub and electro-techno nights. There is no Parisian hype here, and that does it the world of good. L'Alimentation Générale (ALG) This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. It might translate as General Foods, but Alimentation Générale is no supermarket – rather, it’s a bar, restaurant, concert hall and club all rolled into one. Evenings at ALG are warm, colourful, ultra festive and always affordable – entrance is usually around €5 to €10 with a drink. The concrete room, furnished with big convivial wooden tables and a table
Upcoming gigs Petit Fantôme + The Pirouettes + Marc Desse Petit Fantôme is the moniker of Pierre Loustaunau, erstwhile member of a couple of French pop bands who met with modest success in the '00s (Crane Angels, François and the Atlas Mountains). Since going solo with his 2011 EP 'Yallah', the little ghost has been steadily amassing popular and critical support for his modern take on the French chanson – a sound at once intimate and firmly clued into the trends of the moment (electro and R&B influences). Catch him at the Point Ephémère alongside electro-pop duo The Pirouettes and enigmatic singer-songwriter Marc Desse, both up-and-coming talents on the French scene. Watt The Fuzz #2 : Underground Beats + No Money Kids + Little Brain Attack If the inaugural Watt The Fuzz night (sponsored by yours truly) was anything to go by, edition number two should offer up another slamming evening of rock and blues. Its remit is to bring new bands playing old-school rock to our attention; given this, we're not surprised to see Underground Beats (scions of Doors-esque psychedelia) and No Money Kids (excellent soul/blues hybrid) featured on the lineup. Keep an ear out also for Little Brain Attack, purveyors of trippy rock sonorities whose ascendancy we've been tracking for a while now. One for all the children of the '60s and '70s out there. Velvet Veins + Geyster Get ready for a bluesy night at Le Bus Palladium with our favourite act of the moment, Velvet Veins. With their grungy energy an
The Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers designed Centre Pompidou (also known as 'Beaubourg') is one of the most iconic and colourful pieces of architecture in Paris. Inside you'll find the largest collection of modern art in Europe - some 50,000 works of art by 5,000 artists, representing Primitivism, Fauvism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, American Color-Field painting and Abstract Expressionism, of which only a fraction - about 600 works - can be seen for real at any one time. Avoid the queues by coming after 6pm (the museum is open until 9pm - sometimes later during temporary exhibitions); or you'll just have to grin and bear it. We have, however, complied this list of the best eateries, bars, shops and attractions around the Pompidou Centre. Follow it and you should be rubbing shoulders with a resolutely Parisian clientele.For more information on the Pompidou Centre, click here. Around the Centre Pompidou... Museum: Musée de la Poupée Down a narrow alley in the Beaubourg area, this small, private museum and doll hospital enchants little girls and boys (and their parents) with its collection of some 500 dolls, mostly of French origin, and their accompanying accessories and pets, which are arranged in thematic tableaux. A few teddies and quacking ducks are thrown in for good measure, and storytelling sessions and workshops (along the lines of making doll's clothes or miniature food for dolls' houses) are held at 2pm on Wednesdays (in French, reserve in advance; €8-€13). There