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Pub Crawl to Three New Open Mic/Jam Sessions in Paris on a Monday Night

January 6, 2016

Some Girls

Some Girls

PARIS – Some people may hate Mondays, but in Paris and many other cities around the world, Monday is the day of choice for open mics. Less business from the regulars means the bar owners use the open mic ruse to get clients. I have frequently in years past written about three open mics in the Latin Quarter that I would make the rounds of on Mondays. Only one of those really remains in its usual form – the Galway – while the Coolin has closed down. But now, on Monday, I did a crawl from pub to pub all within walking distance of the Bastille to three different open mics and jam sessions.

So Monday is not just alive and well in open stages in Paris, but thriving. At least two of these open mics encourage either solo or jam styles on the stage, while the last one has the same musicians on stage joining the clients with bass and lead guitar added to your own instrument, or you just join them and do live karaoke….
First at Madame Louis in Paris.

The first of these places I attended was Madame Louis on the Ile St. Louis, on the Quai de Bourbon. I did not have any expectations for this place, but the moment I arrived I knew I had come to a unique location for an open mic/jam. The ground floor is on the quai near the Seine at the Pont Marie. You can drink or nibble up there, but the open mic is down…. Down down. Down two floors. Actually, you go down a ramp, then take the stairs to the first floor underground and on that floor there is a balcony looking down into the pit of the final floor under.

The balcony, in fact, overlooks the stage itself. So this is a fabulous way to watch an open mic: You can be right in the pit on the second basement floor or on the balcony floor. And the stage is a wonderful kitty-cornered thing with pretty OK sound system and a piano…. The approach is two songs for each musician, and if you want to play with other musicians, then they can join you. Those musicians also rotate, and so everyone gets a chance on the stage.
Singer at Yellow Mad Monkey open mic in Paris.

And the place was packed! I don’t know where they got all these spectators, but they did a great job, and I will be returning to Madame Louis.

From there I walked to the Place de la Bastille to try out the new open mic of the former presenter from the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic, Ollie Joe. This was on the famous Rue de Lappe in a cubbyhole bar of the kind that are perfect for open mics. The theme of the bar is the Rolling Stones, which you kind of understand very quickly, as it is called “Some Girls” and there are photos of the Rolling Stones everywhere.
Ollie and sax player at Some Girls open mic in Paris

This open mic has great promise if the atmosphere I found continues. Lots of clients, regulars and new people there just for the open mic. And Ollie Joe’s great hosting. Will this be the beginning finally of a new era of Ptit Bonheur la Chance-like intimacy in an open mic in Paris? Let’s see!
Turning his coat at the Some Girls open mic

Just up the same street, the Rue de Lappe, was the final open mic of the night, taking place in a sprawling bar called “Yellow Mad Monkey.” I expected something of a yellow mad open mic, and I was rewarded. This seems to be the same crew running this one who let me down so much at the Belushi’s bar open mic on the rue de Crimée last year. But here the deal was impeccable.
Second at Madame Louis open mic

I arrived late, but got my name accepted on the list, and I was the last performer of the night. We did our two tunes, “Mad World” and “Wicked Game,” in a really inspiring trio – at least for me it was inspiring, but I’d had so much to drink by then that perhaps anything would have been inspiring – and closed off the night with a nice jam feel to Wicked Game….
Third one at Madame Louis open mic in Paris

Again, I will no doubt return. In fact, I’m likely to return to all three, yes. No question….

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