Jazz first gained popularity in Paris during the roaring 1920s—a common thought is that it was introduced to the city by American soldiers who were stationed in France during and after WWI. It wasn’t until the next decade that it really became a part of the city’s culture, especially with innovative bands like the Quintette du Hot Club de France popping up. Jazz culture has continued to live on in the City of Lights.
When you’re ready to wander away from one of the many holiday villas in France, here is but a sampling of the many renowned jazz haunts Paris has to offer:
Caveau Des Oubliettes This hidden gem in the Latin Quarter is located in a 12th century dungeon, where Parisian lawbreakers were once tortured. But the atmosphere works, and Caveau Des Oubliettes proves to be a dark, intimate space to catch live music acts that range from Afro jazz to soul funk to jazz fusion. You’ll find a free jazz session every evening, and concerts on Friday and Saturday nights.
Le Duc des Lombards Established in 1984, this is one of Paris’s main jazz clubs. The vibe is low-key and relaxed with seating circling a blue-lit stage. Be sure to make a reservation. Jazz greats from around the world have performed on its intimate stage like Terence Blanchard Quartet, Steve Swallow and Christian Scott. Have dinner upstairs before heading down for the music, known to play on until the wee hours of the morning.
New Morning Considered one of the most reliable and popular jazz spots in the city, this is where jazz and music aficionados can find renowned acts that range from the likes of Esperanza Spalding to Dianne Reeves to Prince. The space is larger than you’ll find at most other jazz clubs (able to seat hundreds of avid fans), but the lack of pretension (think wooden folding chairs and people wearing T-shirts and jeans). Be sure to make a reservation, it’s known to fill up quickly.
Le Caveau de la Huchette If you’re looking to have a good time, the bustling atmosphere of this club will not disappoint. Described on its website as “the Cotton Club and the Savoy in the glory days” there is a jazz band performing in the downstairs “cave” every evening. In the past, jazz greats like the Lionel Hampton Big Band, Christian Morin and Maxim Saury have jammed on its stage. Expect to see patrons of all ages and creeds up on the floor dancing the night away.
Sunset/Sunside You’ll find some of biggest names in jazz from around the world at this dual club, as well as a mix of new local talent. In the lower level “Sunset” expect to hear electric jazz and fusion concerts, as well as a smattering of world music acts and salsa sessions. While “Sunside” located upstairs, pays tribute to acoustic jazz concerts. This cozy venue in the heart of the city is one of the most respected jazz clubs in Paris—even legends Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock were fans.
Author Bio: Laura is a freelance writer who loves to travel and regularly writes for Luxury Retreats, the world leader in personalized villa vacations around the world, including prestigious villas in France, Hawaii, and the Caribbean, to name a few. Laura’s favorite destinations include Maui, New Orleans, Dublin, Banff and anywhere in Atlantic Canada.