Thumbnail Guide to Paris Open Mics, Jam Sessions and other Live Music
Open Mics in Paris:
Sunday – Pop’ In – only two songs, and you have to be there early to sign up because they accept only 15 singers, or slots. It starts at 9:30 PM , but you have to be there by 7 PM to be sure of getting a spot, and even then sometimes you might be 14 th . Still, they go like clockwork, so it runs basically 9:30 to midnight . Address: 105 Rue Amelot, 75011, Paris, Tél : 01 48 05 56 11. Metro Oberkampf or Filles du Calvaire.
Lizard Lounge, only on the first Sunday of the month, often ends in a jam with all musicians: 18, Rue Bourg Tibourg, 75004 Paris
Monday – Tennessee Bar traditional open mic, three or four songs, starting around 8:30. 12 Rue André Mazet, 75006 Paris, 01 43 54 36 10 One of the most successful and long-standing open mics in Paris – MCd by expat American, James Iansiti in the cozy basement of a cool bar. Good sound system, handled with care by James.
Galway Pub (get three or four songs in, normally): Adresse : 13 quai Grands Augustins Paris 6, Téléphone : 01 43 29 64 50
Coolin Irish Pub Sign up is at 8:30 and the music starts at 9:30 at the open mic at this genial Irish pub in Paris. A great atmosphere: Young, fun, anything goes, tolerant, a nice sound system. Only two songs per person or band, though. Adresse : 15 Rue Clement, 75006 Paris,
Phone: 01.44.07.00.92 Metro Mabillon or Odeon.
Abracadabrabar Just once per month, on the third Monday of each month, a traditional open mic with a good sound system, bright lights and good organization. Write in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on the list. ABRACADABAR 123 avenue Jean Jaurès 75019 PARIS
Tuesday – Le Baroc, 36, Rue de Sambre et Meuse, 75010 Paris, 01 42 40 17 93. The atmosphere varies from week to week.
Acoustic Bazar. A fabulous open mic that has been around for 20 years but is only the first Tuesday of each month. And only two songs on your first try there, and you have to be there at 8:30 to get a spot. Le TEMPO, 18 rue Brochant 75017 PARIS Métro Brochant Tel.: 01 47 00 48 87
French Flair, 40 rue Pixéricourt – 75020, métro place des fêtes – I have never been to this one. It just changed location. Takes place every Tuesday. But it looks like a classic open mic.
Wednesday – The Highlander, rue de Nevers, 75005, 4-year-old open mic hosted by Thomas Brun, a classic, but get there soon after 8 PM for a good spot. Each performer gets three songs. The atmosphere is always lively, the pub always full, the list of musicians invariably long.
Au Vieux Léon, 18 Rue de la Grande Truanderie, 75001 Paris, France. This new open mic – fall 2012 – is hosted alternately by Avalanche and Kim Giani. Kim is also a musician, and one of the longtime hosts of the Pop In open mic. So far so good for this one, as it is a low-key alternative to the Highlander on the same night – and unlike at the Highlander if you arrive after 8:30 you may not be condemned to playing as late as 1 AM. A classic French bar with a little bit of a hip feel to it, it is near Chatelet, the Pompidou Center, etc.
Swan Bar , 165, Bld du Montparnasse, 75006 Paris, 01 44 27 05 84 – an open mic that starts at 9:30 and is mostly jazz, but they accept people with a guitar doing any kind of music… But if you bring sheet music, a pianist will accompany you.
Bandeàgudule Lesguduleries – Chez Gudule, is a kind of cabaret show on the first floor of this bar/restaurant. It is necessary to book a slot first, and you may have to wait for several weeks before you have a chance. This is an open mic, but one with a concept. There is only usually one musical act per evening, and the other acts are comics, actors, whatever. The audience votes the best performance of the night, and if you win that a few times you get the room to yourself for your own show. Contact Candice Carité to book a slot: 06 76 65 22 14, 65 Bd de la Villette M° Colonel Fabien ou Bus 46 arrêt Sambre et Meuse
Les Chansonniers, located in the small lobby of a small hotel in Menilmontant, this is a classic open mic, which runs the third Wednesday of every month. Starts at 8 PM. A warm environment, a cool quarter of Paris. 113 boulevard de Ménilmontant, 75011 Paris, Metro Menilmontant.
Thursday – Culture Rapide blues jam session, a small bar in Belleville that has an open mic for music, poetry, spoken word. Very cool blues jam session with the Belleville Blues Band running the show and playing a first set before the stage is opened to anyone wanting to play. You can generally play on your own or with members of the band in a jam. It is not really strict as to whether the music is pure 100 percent blues, either, so this is a great place to go and play any blues-inspired pop/rock. 103 rue Julien Lacroix 75020 Paris, M° Belleville / Pyrénées, 01 46 36 08 04. Starts at 10:30 PM.
Tennessee Bar traditional open mic, three or four songs, starting around 8:30. The same location and MC as on Monday night: 12 Rue André Mazet, 75006 Paris, 01 43 54 36 10 One of the most successful and long-standing open mics in Paris – MCd by expat American, James Iansiti in the cozy basement of a cool bar, started this second night weekly. The only difference to Monday’s open mic is that this one has a featured guest who plays a longer set. Good sound system, handled with care by James.
Anthracite open mic, 20 rue de la Reynie, PARIS 4, Réservation : Tél. 01 42 77 50 50, email@example.com. Although they call this an open mic, it is more like the Cavern vocal jam/live karaoke, whereby there is a house band that plays a repertoire and singers from the audience are invited up on stage to sing a song from the band’s repertoire with the band as backing. Having said that, when I went I was allowed to use my guitar as well – which the Cavern does not allow – and I did a song from the band repertoire, playing my guitar and singing, along with the band. There is a 15 euro cover charge that covers a drink as well, and the show starts around 10:30 PM and runs until 2 or 3 AM. Call to make sure the open mic is happening, as I am not sure if it is every Thursday or not.
Friday – Culture Rapide Barman’s open mic is an open mic for music, poetry, spoken word. Can be very cool, and guitar singer/songwriters really welcome. Only problem is, unlike with the aforementioned blues jam, there is no microphone or amplifier. But in my experience the audience is often quiet and it’s a cool environment. 103 rue Julien Lacroix 75020 Paris, M° Belleville / Pyrénées, 01 46 36 08 04. Starts at 10:30 PM.
Swan Bar – Mentioned below for its open mic on Wednesday, this also has a kind of open mic on Friday night and Saturday night starting at midnight to 2 AM . But it’s not always easy to get on, a little disorganized. Really the best is Wednesday for this, but if you’re in the area you can drop by at midnight to see. See address below.
Saturday – Also again on Saturday nights the Swan Bar has a midnight to 2 AM open mic, mostly jazz.
Quiet Man, is a longstanding mainstay of Irish music in Paris, and on Saturdays, starting at 18:00 there is an open mic for beginners, followed by a jam session for more advanced musicians that starts at 22:00 and goes on until 2 AM, or closing time. A wonderful feeling of really being in Ireland, but watch out: the emphasis is on reels and jigs and not so much on songs and singing. 5, rue des haudriettes, 75003 Paris, Metro Rambuteau or Hotel de Ville.
The main places you would probably want to start looking at for full-fledged bands and other cool stuff are:
- Bus Palladium, 6 rue Fontaine, 75009 Paris
There are shows there almost every night.
- L’International, 5, rue Moret 75011 Paris
Another bar/venue place that has concerts all the time, and mostly young people, new groups, etc.
- OPA, 9 rue Biscornet, 75012 Paris, bastille
Another place with bands, concerts, usually no cover charge (as with the above places)
- Le Truskel, 12 rue Feydeau, 75002 Paris, Metro Bourse.
- Le Motel, 8, passage Josset, Paris , France , 75011 more often a bar with DJ, it does have bands, concerts, usually no cover charge (as with the above places)
- Le Point Ephemere, 200 quai de Valmy 75010, Paris, France
You get off at Metro Jaures and this place is located down on the canal below. You’ll see all the people outside, usually. An art space, concert space, bar, DJ thing, restaurant, (even has some privately run recording studios where I recorded four songs in the summer).
Here are some places where the focus is jazz:
- Petit Journal,one in Montparnasse, 13, rue du Commandant Mouchotte, 75014 PARIS, or the same one in St. Michel, 71, boulevard St- Michel, 75005 PARIS
- New Morning, 7-9, rue des Petites Ecuries, 75010 Paris
- Caveau de la Huchette, 5 rue de la Huchette, 75005 PARIS
- Swan Bar, Montparnasse, mentioned above, which is owned and run by an American who has lived in Paris for years and always wanted to create a kind of NYC jazz bar in Paris – and did so; although it’s not alway jazz! It’s at 165 Blvd du Montparnasse, 75006