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In Paris from Apr. 24th to May 1st! Recommend me some shows!

Mark_PMark_P New
edited November 2012 in Europe Posts: 18
Hey Folks,

I'll be in Paris from Tuesday April 1st to May 1st (I'll be arriving and leaving on those days, so in they really don't count). Anyways, I know NOTHING about the GJ scene in Paris other than the fact that it is vibrant. Could anyone recommend me some places to go to spot some GJ in the wild? I'm not necessarily looking for anything big--just the real thing played well. (Having said that, I would love to see Bireli!).

Feel free to comment on the (non-GJ) Jazz scene as well. If there are any good clubs for Jazz I would love to stop in one night; I'm actually more interested in strait ahead jazz than GJ, but I figure that, well, since I'm gonna be in Paris...

Finally, any good guitar shops where I can play some GJ guitars? Believe or not, I've never actually played a selmer-style guitar before, though I've been listening to GJ for 3-4 years. These instruments don't exist in the Philadelphia area.

Any help is much appreciated!




  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665

    Two places in particular to check out:
    • L'Atelier Charonne features great gypsy jazz every night. The food is pretty good, too. The Web site is in French, but even if you don't read French, you can make it out OK. From the home page, click on "Le Bar," then "Programmation" for the program calendar. Be sure to make reservations!
    • La chope des puces - Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 7:00, Ninine Garcia holds court, with various musicians joining him for a fantastic jam. The bar is in a rather rough area, where you get accosted by about a gazillion street vendors as soon as you leave the Metro, but La chope is on a relatively quiet street and is actually a nice little spot with what looked and smelled like really great food coming from the restaurant out back. This is a must and is well worth the effort to get there. Take a look at the memorabilia on the walls of the restaurant.

    Here's a good article on the Paris GJ scene:

    And here's a great map that Adrian Holovaty put together:

    As to places to try GJ guitars, Francois Charle's shop is a good place to start: Take note of the hours. It can be tricky to find but well worth a visit. Francois is very friendly and will let you try out any of his fine instruments.

    Also, at the bottom of Adrian's map, there are listings for a Dupont showroom and JB Castelluccia's shop.

    Hope you have a great stay in Paris. Be sure to let us all know how you make out.

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    I've never been - yet, much to my regret, hopefully next year - so can't vouch personally, but one storied place to visit would have to be La Chope des Puces, from everything I've read. Investigate the site, you'll get the picture, if you haven't heard about it already.

    Just came across this site, don't know how current it is, but lists some GJ-venues. If you can catch Adrien Moignard or Les Doights de L'Homme, well....and so many others. I imagine there are almost an infinite number of relative unknowns who play comme les anges en enfer. Good luck.

    Edited to add: Lol, what Klaatu said. Crossed in the mail.

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • Micky DunneMicky Dunne Liverpool UK✭✭✭✭ Olivier Marin, JWC Modele Orchestre, AJL La Flasque
    Posts: 151

    Daniel John Martin has an evening on Wednesday's where he invites a great GJ player. You arelikely to hear either Angelo, Rocky Gresset, Boulou, Tchavolo or some other GJ legend. Enjoy 8) .
    Fast and bulbous
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 608
    The Dupont shop at the north end of the Viaduc des Arts is a good place to look at guitars. They have guitars in many styles and from a variety of luthiers, not just Dupont. You will get a good look at current French guitar making there, which is somewhat different than what we have here. Guitars are expensive in Paris. Be certain to check the business hours because many stores are closed in the middle of the day. The Viaduc des Arts is a very interesting place on it's own and it's worth walking along the top for a km or two if you are in the neighborhood.
  • adrianadrian AmsterdamVirtuoso
    Posts: 507
    Definitely check out this Paris gypsy jazz map I maintain:

    If you have any additions/changes, let me know, so I can update it.

    Also, check out Lylo (, which has free print edition booklets at various clubs. It's an extremely well-organized listing of gigs that gets updated (I think) weekly. They have a separate category for "manouche," and you'll see that most nights of the week you'll have several options. When I was there a year ago, Monday was the best night for gypsy jazz.

    Mika Gimenez at La Taverne de Cluny is worth checking out, if you like the modern French style (Adrien Moignard, Selmer 607, etc.).

  • Mark_PMark_P New
    Posts: 18
    Thanks everyone for the great advice. Adrian, I look forward to using that map! I gotta start planning this trip! I'd like to get in two nights of gypsy jazz, though it's possible that I only fit in one. Whatever I end up doing, I'll try and snap a GJ related pic for you folks!

    Perhaps those who have experience with guitar stores/luthiers there could help me with preoccupation of mine: I know in the States (I'm from Philly), people are generally ok with the guitars being played. Right now I'm studying in Spain (flamenco land--something I can't pretend to play) and it seems to be the case as well. So my concern is that in Paris, how are they gonna feel about a grungy american student walking in and requesting to play dubious gypsy jazz on their fancy guitars? I suppose with some smiles and positive body language I'll get by? I certainly know how to handle an instrument (wash hands and watch the keys!), but, of course, I will be a foreigner.
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    I don't know about the others, but Francois Charle was very open to my playing his guitars. His front door may be locked because he is likely to be working out back, so you have to ring to get in. But he let me in, we had a nice chat (it probably helped that I mentioned that I bought his book), and then he said to help myself to the guitars and call him if I had questions.

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • Mark_PMark_P New
    Posts: 18
    Hey Guys, got back from Paris, well, about a month ago, and I keep forgetting to let y'all know how it went. Here it is:

    First off, thanks for the advice. I can tell a lot of you folks have done your research and knew exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately, I never got around to seeing any music. As I said originally, my trip to Paris was to see an old friend and I just never got around to bringing her to a gig. I did however have the days to myself and I used two of them to go check out guitars. The first day I went to Francois Charle's shop and drooled over his guitars. Nobody here mentioned that he has (potentially) France's largest collection of vintage Martin's. He was thrilled when I mentioned to him that I'm from right outside of Nazareth, PA.

    Because I first went at around 11:00, he told me that if I wanted to play some guitars I'd have to come back after 2:00. So in the interim I went to the Dupont Show Room and, after having wanted to play a selmer-style guitar for about 3 or 4 years, I finally had the opportunity to do so. Not sure what the model was besides being a Dupont grande bouche (sp?) in the 1,300 euro range. I really, really enjoyed the experience. The sound is just so distinct from my Larrivee D-O3R. Playing it gave me an entirely new appreciation for the tone that guys like Stochelo and Bireli command.

    I wanted to play some more guitars there but felt that my time was up after 45 minutes on just one. I thanked repeatedly the guy in the shop and headed back to Francois Charle's. There were some people there when I got there buying Selmer plans so I waited until everyone left to play some of the guitars. I started, unintentionally, with a German made (I think?) Stephen Hahl, the most expensive guitar on the rack:


    I played two other guitars but neither of them came close to this instrument. It was one of the most exquisite guitars I've ever played. Perfect balance, colorful tones, and just a dream to play. It made the other guitars seem like toys.

    Here's a pic of the other selmer-styles, with some nice vintage Gibson mandolins at the bottom:


    I also didn't realize that Francois is the writer of the Selmer-Maccaferri book. I almost bought one but I found 75 euros a bit excessive... I ended up leaving with two Wegen 2.5mm GJ picks, which have actually improved my playing quite a bit.

    I should say that Adrian Holovaty's map was an excellent resource to have available while I was there. It made finding these places possible. I did end up going to the two streets of guitar shops that he has listed in the map but it turns out that they were all closed because it was Monday (?) and evidently they open late on Mondays. I went into one shop but the guy was a little rude and didn't let me touch any of the guitars.

    All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for someone who's not even that into gypsy-jazz. More than anything is was really really cool to go to a place where gypsy jazz is popular. The day I went to the D'Orsay there was actually a decent GJ group playing outside. I sat and watched for about 30 minutes, thrilled with what I had encountered. It was strange to go from a place like Philadelphia, where Barry Warhaftig and the Hot Club of Philly are the sole ambassadors of GJ, to Paris, where the community is perhaps more vibrant than any other place on Earth.

    A highly recommended trip for any of you guys (and gals!) here!

  • MitchMitch Paris, Jazz manouche's capital city!✭✭✭✭ Di Mauro, Lebreton, Castelluccia, Patenotte, Gallato
    Posts: 159
    Hello Mark,
    I wish you can come back another time to get deeper into the jammming scene :-)
    Lots of venues in Paris.
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