Forget anybody who ever told you jazz was dead – the city of lights begs to differ. Paris still very much worships at the altar that Serge Gainsborough, Miles Davis and Django Reinhardt built with a number of establishments that still persist to this day. Jazz in Paris is an experience best enjoyed in a moody bar, surrounded by the city’s coolest cats and a ruby glass of wine. As a thriving musical haven, if you stumble into a Paris jazz club you’re likely to discover the hottest newcomers and greatest legends on the scene today – but one thing’s for certain, it’ll all be quality. Whether you’re new to the scene or a keen lover, here’s the best jazz bars and clubs Paris has on offer to get you started.
Le Caveau de la Huchette
Somewhere in the crowd could be the club you need to know – and Le Caveau de la Huchette is it. If you didn’t get the reference, this is literally the jazz club that appears in the Oscar-winning film La La Land for a brief moment and it’s just as rocking as it appears in the film. As the birthplace of Parisian jazz, many greats have performed here and it still attracts a loyal crowd of enthusiasts. If you’re something of a history buff, this moody space is packed with it as revolutionaries like Robespierre and Marat once flocked to its tables back in the 1780s – way before jazz was even a thing. Nowadays though, it’s a top Paris jazz club. Just don’t bank on Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone being there.
Duc de Lombards
Duc de Lombards is a place to come if you really want to experience the music. Easily one of the most famous jazz bars and clubs in Paris, this establishment comes alive at night with legends like Miles Davis and newcomers with experimental passing through its spotlights. Jazz enthusiasts from all over the world flock to Lombards’ tables and there’s a real communal feeling here, whether you’re a local or tourist seeking the best jazz in Paris. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the cocktail list and menu are on point here as well – take a leaf out of The Guardian’s book and hang around for the more experimental cocktails later in the evening.
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Le Caveau des Oubliettes
Paris’ Latin Quarter is well beloved by tourists, but did you know that it also hosts one of the best jazz bars around? Besides being one of the coolest (and eeriest) establishments around, it’s steeped in history. In its past lives, it was a prison, cabaret and torture museum but it’s since spruced up its act as a top Paris jazz bar with a cosy, intimate feeling. Whether you’re coming to see a specific performer or want to watch magic happen at their regular jazz sessions, the nights here are long and filled with unbeatable music.
Le Baiser Sale
Looking to discover some brave new voices? This atmospheric Paris jazz bar champions talented newcomers on the music scene and occasionally plays hosts to musical celebrities as they tour around the world. If you’re looking for something that feels more honest than the slicker bars in the city, this intimate space is it – there’s hardly an amp in sight. It’s gradually come into its own over the past twenty years, earning a reputation as the place to enjoy jazz in Paris that prioritises the music above all else. Keep an eye on its line-up, you never know which famous faces might be stopping by for a surprise performance.
This Paris jazz club has been scatting and crooning since the 1980s, starting off as a dinky little basement bar before taking over a whole building – a sacred place for jazz worshippers. Located on rue de Lombards, a street lined with bustling jazz bars and clubs in Paris, it’s exactly what a jazz bar should be: welcoming, full of energy and effortlessly chic. Frequented by the likes of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis, the venue is actually split into two separate areas (called sunside and sunset) that host separate performances to maximise the space. You can never get enough jazz in our opinion.