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.
Caveau des Oubliettes jam session, 52 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris, 01 46 34 23 09. Blues Jam. See main entry under Thursdays, below.
Monday – Galway Pub (get three or four songs in, normally): 13 quai Grands Augustins Paris 6, Téléphone : 01 43 29 64 50 This is a great open mic to play at in terms of its stage, as you play with your back to the front window of the bar, which opens in summer, and you get the feeling you are singing to the people in the street as well as the people in the bar. Which is, in fact, the case. But some nights are definitely busier than others in terms of the musician attendance. It can vary from absolutely great nights, to so-so nights. But it is definitely a “must do” in Paris open mice.
Tennessee Jazz Bar, 12 Rue André Mazet, 75006 Paris, 01 43 54 36 10. Don’t be fooled by the word “jazz” in the name of the bar, this is a traditional open mic for any kind of music, mostly folk, pop, rock, etc., allowing two or three songs, and starting around 8:30. One of the most successful and long-standing open mics in Paris, it was until recently MCd by expat American, James Iansiti in the cozy basement of a cool bar, and is now hosted by the same excellent host of the open mic at La Tireuse (Tuesdays), Ollie Joe.
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.
La Tireuse, 18 rue Laplace, 75005 PARIS, 01 43 54 42 32, email@example.com The open mic in the cellar of this bar used to be the one we knew at Ptit Bonheur la Chance. It became in a very short period one of the most successful and fun and cool open mics in Paris – until the bar suddenly got sold to a new owner. From May 2013 to September 2013 after around three years of such a great open mic, the community of the Ptit Bonheur la Chance went into a state of mourning and misery…until it was announced that the new owners of the bar – now renamed – La Tireuse, had decided to reinstate the open mic, with the same MC, Ollie Joe. And so life returned to normal…or better. The stage was moved to the back of the room, and some nice tables and chairs were installed. Get there early, around 8:30, and prepare your two songs. The sound system could use some improvements, as usual, but the atmosphere is sublime: an open mic where people listen to the music, or go to the floor above – the ground floor – to talk.
Pigalle Country Club, 59 rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, 75009 Paris, near Metro Pigalle and a few others as well…. They call it the Wapaphalooza Open Mic, and it starts after 8PM and goes on until after midnight, maybe well after. It’s a romping, rocking affair, and usually run by the members of the Burnin’ Jacks band, an up-and-coming French band. The bar, located near the famous Place Pigalle, has this big country club name, but could not be further from a country club in style and atmosphere. It’s a freewheeling, laid back, small but cosy bar, and the open mic takes place behind a mic at the back with no stage. It’s as much a jam as an open mic, and it’s a free-for-all. Don’t expect to sign a list – just go and take the mic or join in with those who are already behind it. The accent is on acoustic rock and rock blues. Even classic rock.
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, 7-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. But this has become one of Paris’s longest running open mics, and the level of the presentation and music is guaranteed to make for and interesting night out.
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.
Caveau des Oubliettes jam session, 52 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris, 01 46 34 23 09. Soul Jam. See main entry under Thursdays, below.
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 – Escargot Underground, 7 rue Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, 75002 Paris, France, Phone 01 80 06 74 26, Email firstname.lastname@example.org. An open mic in the basement of the office of a Russian tourism business? That’s this one. The Escargot Touristic Center is the business, and in the vaulted brick cellar of the office every Thursday night there is a small open mic, with often two or three Russian musicians. But it is entirely open to all kinds of music, has a half decent sound system, a set of drums, bass, amps, etc. Although it says on the invitation on Facebook that it starts at 7 PM or so, I think it’s not worth showing up until 8:30 – although that could change. Despite the Russian connection, this is an intimate, classic open mic.
Tennessee Jazz Bar, 12 Rue André Mazet, 75006 Paris, 01 43 54 36 10. One of the rare venues to offer a classic open mic two nights a week, check out the main entry under the Monday section, above.
Caveau des Oubliettes jam session, 52 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris, 01 46 34 23 09. This is not a classic open mic, but rather a classic jam session: A fabulous underground room with a great little stage, drums, keyboards, bass, amps, and a good organization. The idea is that you sign up to the list and join in the jam either playing an instrument or singing. You are grouped together with other musicians also signed up on the list. There are several jams per week: The Blues Jam on Sundays; the soul jam on Wednesdays; the funk jam on Thursdays. In my experience, you can fit in to any if you have something that comes close, even if it is not exactly, strictly, within the desired definition.
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 – Cabaret 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 above 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