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a city by city guide to the best indie clubs, bars, record shops and local bands

Paris, France

Usually this bit is written by a well-connected local, and covers the city's musical history and currrent form. That's what the Indie Travel Guide thrives on of course - local knowledge, someone from the city itself sharing their secrets. But after a couple of years of trying and failing to find anyone to write a guide to Paris, I thought I'd attempt the impossible and see if I could write it from here in Brixton. I had a couple of leads - cool bars and record shops and the like - so I thought I'd check out their myspaces and websites, follow links and see if I could piece something together. Surprisingly, it hasn't turned out too badly - looks like there's a thriving indie scene in the French capital. But read this guide with the understanding that it was put together by a Brit who hasn't actually visited any of the places mentioned. Hopefully, this basic guide will inspire a Parisian to step in with some proper reviews, and a rewrite of this intro. But until then...here's an outsider's view of the Parisian indie scene.


Clubs


Goldrush

La Fleche D'or, 102 bis rue de Bagnolet 75020 Paris, Saturdays, free entry, untl 6am
Electro, rock and soul at this free Saturday night club in a converted train station.

Uptight
La Feline, 6, rue Victor Letalle 75020 Paris. Fridays, 9pm-2am.
Soul, garage, ska, boogaloo, mod, and 60s sounds.
(www.myspace.com/uptightxxxasso)

Happy Tuesdays
Le Truskel, 10-12 rue Feydeau, 75002 Paris. Tuesdays
Fill up on Madchester, Britpop and mainstream indie at this Tuesday night party.
(www.myspace.com/happytuesdaysparis)

Common People
Batofar, 11 quai Francois Mauriac, 75013 Paris. Monthly Saturdays
Held on a moored barge on the Seine, Common People offers an ultra hip mix of indie rock, new wave and electro, from The Klaxons and The Gossip to The Cure and Blondie.
(www.myspace.com/commonpeopleparty)

 


Venues

 

La Fleche D'Or
102 bis rue de Bagnolet 75020 Paris
Want to see a cool indie rock or electro gig but a little strapped for cash? La Fleche D'Or puts on all manner of brilliant touring bands and local acts, usually for free entry (although drinks are pricey).
(www.flechedor.fr/)

La Maroquinerie
23, Rue Boyer, 75020 Paris
500 capacity venue. You'll catch bands like Stereo Total and Liars here. Also hosts the What The Funk club night.
(www.lamaroquinerie.fr)

Nouveau Casino
109, rue Oberkampf, Paris
Concert hall that puts on everything from electro to hardcore punk. The likes of The Fiery Furnaces and 65 Days Of Static have played here.
(www.nouveaucasino.net)

Le Bataclan
50 Boulevard Voltaire, Paris
Legendary 19th century theatre and concert venue, that's seen everyone from Edith Piaf to Mogwai. 1500 capacity.
(www.le-bataclan.com)

Point Ephemère
200 quai de Valmy, Paris
Former cargo warehouse turned underground art centre, run by art collective Usines Ephemères. Catch an exhibition or a debate during the day, and cutting edge sounds in the evening.
(www.pointephemere.org)

La Guinguette Pirate
Port de la Gare, Paris. Metro: Quai de la Gare or Bibliotheque
Party to ska, garage and gypsy music aboard this atmospheric pirate barge. The likes of Animal Collective and Okkervil River have played here.
(www.guinguettepirate.com)

La Feline
6, rue Victor Letalle 75020 Paris. Metro: Menilmontant
Paris's answer to London's Dirty Water Club - a garage rock hangout that hosts live shows alongside northern soul, ska, mod, ye ye and rock'n'roll club nights.
(www.myspace.com/lafelinebar)

Le Triptyque
142 rue Montmartre
New bands and live electronica feature at this hip dancehall.
(www.letriptyque.com)

Le Vieux Léon
18, rue de La Grande Truanderie 75001 Paris
In their own words: "Bistrot avec petite scéne pour musique live." Indie, folk, jazz and acoustic.
(www.myspace.com/levieuxleon)

La Cigale
120 boulevard de Rochechouart 75019
Former vaudeville house turned concert venue. You'll catch bands like The Shins and Feist here.
(www.lacigale.fr)

L'espace B
16 rue Barbanègre, 75019 Paris. Métro: Corentin Cariou
Bar/venue with good indie gigs. Leisure Society played there. (J)

Le Scopitone
5 Avenue De L'Opera
Cheap concerts (mostly sponsored by the French website www.blogotheque.net) , club events, expensive beer. (E)
(www.scopitoneclub.com)


Bars


Le Motel
8 Passage Josset (in front of the 108, avenue Ledru Rollin), 75011 Paris. Metro: Ledru-Rollin (or Bastille)
Newly opened indie bar. Live bands play Tuesdays (and ocassionally Wednesdays and Sundays too), DJ sets every other night of the week. Pop quiz every second Sunday.
(www.myspace.com/lemotel)

Pop In
105 rue Amelot, 75011 Paris. Métro : Sébastien Froissard
Cool basement bar with DJs spinning Britpop and Electropop.
(www.myspace.com/pop_in)

Cantada
13 rue Moret, 75011 Paris
Punk and metal bar.
(www.cantada.net)

Le Zorba
137 rue du Faubourg du Temple
A ton of DJ nights at this anything-goes bar.

Le Truskel
10-12 rue Feydeau, 75002 Paris. Metro: Bourse
Franz, Kasabian, Sex Pistols, New Order, Cure, Killers and more get spun in this indie bar.
(www.truskel.com)

Planète Mars
21, Rue Keller, 75011 Paris
"Cheap drinks, expensive music!" at this sci-fi themed bar.
(www.myspace.com/planetemars)

Les Souffleurs
7, Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris
Hosts some intriguing sounding DJ nights, including Women In Revolt and Ice Creme.
(www.myspace.com/lessouffleurs)

La Caravane
35, Rue Fontaine au Roi, 75011 Paris
The good folk from the Paris Normal weblog have been known to run an indie night here. Worth checking the blog (see below) to see if they've got anything coming up.

L'International
5/4 rue Moret, 75011 Paris. Métro: Parmentier
Free gigs every night. (J)
(www.linternational.fr)

Le Plastic
13 rue Jean Beausire, 75004 Paris. Métro: Bastille
Another nice place in Bastille area. (J)

Le Bar Dix
10 rue de l’Odéon, 75006
Not an indie hangout as such, but comes highly recommended from an Indie Travel Guide reader. Worth visiting if you want to soak up some genuine Left Bank ambience, while listening to their jukebox stuffed with Jacques Brel and cool old French pop.


Record Shops


Monster Melodies

9 rue des Déchargeurs, 75001 Paris. Metro: Châtelet
Secondhand shop specialising in folk, psych, sixties, etc.

Born Bad
17 Rue Keller, 75001 Paris.
New and secondhand punk, indie and rock.
(www.myspace.com/bornbadrecords)

Parallele
47 rue St Honoré
Walk though the bookshop at the front to find a hidden second hand record store out the back.

Ground Zero
23 rue Sainte Marthe 75010
The best indie record store in Paris. Ground Zero was the first French store to stock "The Kids At The Club" - these guys really know their stuff. The likes of Herman Dune have played instores here too.
(www.groundzero.fr)

Plus de Bruit
35 Rue de La Rochefoucauld, 75009 Paris. Métro: Saint Georges
Secondhand vinyls: 60's, folk, psych, pop. (J)


Local Bands

 


My Girlfiend Is Better Than Yours

They say: "We are from the future. With a 'time machine' we arrived here, in your pourrie period. And we just play the hits of the future, those you don't know yet, but that you are knowing right now! Have a good life! Eat a lot!" We say: "Swoonsome psychedelic indiepop."
(www.myspace.com/mygirlfriendisbetterthanyours)

Le Club Des Chats
Eighties indie irritants Stump live on in this Parisian fourpiece, who peddle ultra quirky jerky pop with lots of animal noise and sudden yelps.
(www.myspace.com/leclubdeschats)

The Hushpuppies
Killers-style indie rock from this Parisian fivesome.
(www.myspace.com/hushpuppies)

The Parisians
Garage-rocking mates of The Libertines.
(www.myspace.com/parisians)

One-Two
Danceable punk-funk and neon powerpop.
(www.myspace.com/powerpopuptothetop)

Music For Grown Ups
London band relocated to Paris. For fans of The Smiths, Joy Division, Nick Cave, Pulp, Lambchop, and Tindersticks.
(www.myspace.com/musicforgrownups)


Miscellaneous


Paris Normal Blog
The first port of call for any indie fan thinking of visiting Paris. This indispensable blog has an up-to-date diary of all the interesting indie shows and happenings in Paris, as well as an excellent venue and bar guide. Some of this guide was lovingly ripped off from Paris Normal. Thanks fellas!
(parisnormal.blogspot.com)

Popscene de France
General guide to the French pop scene. Well worth a look.
(hometown.aol.com/michaellantelme/Popscenedefranceindex.html)

Festival Villette Sonique.
This is a somewhat smaller festival than Primavera in Barcelona, but very cool. Bands such as Liars, Les Savy Fav, Lightning Bolt. Those kind of bands. Happens at the same weekend as Primavera in Parc de la Villette.
(www.villettesonique.com)

Magnetophone
List of the larger gigs in Paris.
(www.magnetophone.com/offline/region/ile-de-france/concerts)

Main Paris photo © Urban75.com

Thanks to Poppy, Jenny, Emmanuel, Sabrina, Henrik and Paloma for help with this guide!
Additional reviews by Joany and Emilie.

If you'd like to recommend a club, bar, record shop, band or any indie delight for inclusion in the Indie Travel Guide, please email us. If we've included a link to your band/shop etc, it would be lovely if you could link back to us. Thank you!

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