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Paris is known for many things, but not its live music. Which is a shame, seeing as it’s given us Serge Gainsbourg and, err, Johnny Hallyday. Its government policy making every radio station play a majority of songs in French hasn’t helped its international musical credibility. But the city of love is also a great city of intimate live music. Here are five of the best places to see great bands up close, often for free.
The stickers all over the walls in this tiny rock pub show that it’s the place bands play before they get big. From Klaxons to Jeffrey Lewis, they’ve all rocked out in the basement (and then stickered the walls).
A tiny club near the Pompidou centre that hosts everything from heavy metal and punk to burlesque nights.
La Cantine de Belleville
Quite literally a cave. Last time we checked, they still had bands blasting out of its rocky basement hole. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if it had been shut down by now.
Truly majestic, le Carmen is in the historic nightlife district Pigale, and has its own slice of (very different) musical history. This mansion used to be the home of opera composer Georges Bizet, and the venue is named after his most famous work.
Probably the trendiest bar in town. Located in an old synagogue, its hipster cred means prices are high and the queues may be long. But to rub shoulders with the great and good of the Paris art scene in a basement dancefloor, this is the place.