Raving in Paris

'Reverie' by We Love Art, July 2012.  Photo from Delighted Blog.


You can find pretty much any kind of music in Paris, once you know where to look. As a non-Parisian, it can be difficult to find out about 'underground' raves. Obviously the scene is always changing, but here are some promoters/event organisers to look for for in 2013:


Berlinons Paris- techno raves in secret locations


Katapult-  club events and 'secret parties' by Karat Records, a French music label


CocoBeach-  Daytime raving in an amazing outdoor venue. Runs from April to Sep, 3pm 'til 2am. (The Facebook page says 'Monday' but as far as I can tell it's always on a Sunday!)

Concrete- Only for the hardcore who don't want their Saturday night to end. Every other Sunday at 7am, always a good line-up.


Debroui-Art- A 'cultural collective' organising house and techno nights in secret locations


We Love Art-  and The Creators Project- Two 'arts initiatives' that create amazing art and music events in prolific locations, sometimes in partnership like Bal Blanc and We Love 1024 BOOM-Box.




'We Love 1024 BOOM-Box' by We Love Art and The Creators Project
Grande Halle de la Villette, Sep 2011

Here are some more useful websites for researching your next Parisian rave:


Resident Advisor

The best website for upcoming nights, club reviews and for researching DJs you might not have heard of.

Illegal Party

My friend Julia says this used to be a website solely for illegal parties, as the name would suggest,  but now it includes all kinds of electro nights. (It's in French, so get your dictionary ready if you're not a Francophone.)

Digitick

The main website in France for buying tickets for gigs and club nights. (The language can be changed from French into English or Spanish.)

Paris La Nuit

Quite useful for concerts and soirées. If you go on Invitations, you can win tickets to events by entering your name and email address. (It's also worth listening to the tracks they put up in Paris La Nuit Radio at the top right-hand side of the website.)

Ten Days in Paris
Smugly cool, but very informed about what's hot in Paris. Party reports and upcoming events.


CLUB ENTRY/TICKETS

Big rave events sell out fast, so always buy a ticket ASAP. If you end up with an extra ticket or decide you don't want to go, you will probably be able to resell your ticket through the event's Facebook group.

Entry price varies, but for a well-known DJ expect to pay between ten and twenty euros (and perhaps more  for something HUGE like Rebel Rave or We Love Art). 


With clubs, it's sometimes possible to pay on the door, but you've got more chance of doing this if you get there early.


Even if you have a ticket, expect to queue for a ridiculously long time. Paris clubs can be really badly-organised compared with London clubs, where you queue in an orderly fashion and aren't shoved about by bouncers... Yes, that is a hint of bitterness you can detect in my voice.



BOUNCERS

Bouncers in Paris are the same as bouncers everywhere- some of them are alright, and some of them seem to think their job is to stop every single person in the queue from actually getting inside the club... Try not to act too drunk and make sure you take ID. (Especially if you've purchased a ticket in advance from Digitick, because they will often check that the name on the ticket matches with the name on your ID.)


DRINKS ETC.

In most clubs, a spirit and mixer is 10, a beer is 8 and a bottle of water is 5.

The drink prices at one-off rave events can be considerably cheaper, but not always.


Drugs are not as commonplace as they are in England, so be extra careful if you are into that kind of thing. 



DRESS CODE

Don't worry about getting really dressed up and looking swanky- in Paris you can go out dressed quite casually (with a few exceptions like Showcase and Le PomPom).

But please, for your own sake, don't dress like you would back in England on a night out with the girls. I'm not being a dick- I love fake tan and sky scraper heels as much as the next Northern girl- but in Paris you can't get away with looking like a cast member of Geordie Shore. If you wear a tiny dress with huge heels and bare legs, you will feel uncomfortable all night- trust me. Always take a jacket unless it's summer.


Also, when I first moved here I was nervous that Paris wouldn't really get the whole 'Adidas jacket, denim shorts and leotard' thing but in my experience it's fine, as long as you are going to a proper ravey night. At least if someone tries to sexually assault you whilst you're sporting your 'East London Warehouse Rave' look, you can run away quickly in your snazzy trainers.


 

SAFETY
Sorry, this probably seems really patronising, but I suddenly had a vision of a fresh-faced, eighteen year old au pair reading this blog and I'm worried for her. So, take care. Yes, go to clubs and see good music and have a good time, but BE CAREFUL:
- Don't buy drugs off fidgety men in dark corners.
- Don't leave your drinks unattended.
- Watch your bag, especially if it's a shoulder bag.
- If you want to go home but your friends don't, find a chair to sit on and wait for the first metro at 5.30am- don't be stumbling around trying to find a night bus on your own.

Men in Paris can be a lot more 'forward' (read: disgustingly creepy and vile) than you might be used to. If you are new in Paris, don't get too wrecked until you've settled in a bit, because there's nothing worse than being really drunk and really lost and suddenly being surrounded by a group of sinister perverts.



GETTING HOME

The metro stops at about 2.30am on a weekend (depending on the line) and starts at about 5.30am. If you need to get home in between these times you have two options: you can get a taxi, which are few and far between in Paris but not overpriced, or you can get the infamous night bus...

Taxis

If there isn't a taxi rank nearby, your best bet is to walk to the closest main road. Try and get a cab that is already going in the same direction you are heading, as sometimes Parisian taxi drivers will refuse to turn around. They can be very picky with their customers, so try not to look like you're going to be sick when you flag them down. The lights on Paris taxis are very confusing but all you need to know is that they have three lights on top and if the one in the middle is green- they're free.

Sometimes taxis charge extra if there are four of you.


It goes without saying that you should always get a REAL TAXI. Don't be jumping in just anyone's car because they beep their horn and offer you a lift.


Night Bus

The night bus, or noctillien, is perfectly safe as long as you are with friends and don't make eye contact with any knife-wielding maniacs, a mistake I have made once or twice. You can use your Navigo or buy a ticket off the driver for two euros. Before you go out, research which night bus route you need to get on the Noctillien website.

Velib

Don't.


CLUBS AND VENUES



Showcase
Sous le pont Alexandre III, 75008. Métro: Champs Elysées Clémenceau ou Invalides
Before I tell you about the clubs and venues I do recommend, I thought I better mention this death-trap just to warn everybody... I hate this club with all my heart and it's so unfair, because loads of amazing DJs play here when they come to Paris. If you want to know why I hate this club so much, read this blog post about how I was nearly crushed to death, lost my phone and was forced to declare a jihad on the place.



CLUBS AND VENUES THAT I HONESTLY RECOMMEND



La Machine. Photo from Musicelec Monipag

La Machine

90 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018. Metro: Blanche
It's next door to the Moulin Rouge, you can't miss it. They have a lot of big names playing and it feels more like a concert venue than a club really... there's been a nice crowd there every time I've been.
Blog Post: Deadmau5

Glaz'art 
7-15 Avenue de la porte de la villette, 75019. Metro: Porte de la Villette
A dingy club way out in the east of Paris. They have some amazing music, especially if you're into dub or drum and bass- and a really nice smoking area/terrace. It's in a really dodgy area, so it's only worth going if you're planning to stay all night and get the metro home in the morning. (Also, be careful if you get one of the two buses home that go from outside the club... they are used by some right shady characters.)

Blog Post: Skank It Up 

La Bellevilloise
19-20, Rue Boyer, 75020. Metro: Gambetta or Ménilmontant
Definitely worth trekking up that steep hill for. A multi storey club that's also a cafe and an exhibition space during the day. The basement club can be really grimy and they have a lot of dub, drum and bass and reggae here. The upstairs room and the terrace are more relaxed.
Blog Post: Foreign Beggars

Nouveau Casino
109, rue Oberkampf, 75011. Metro: Parmentier or Ménilmontant
It has chandeliers swaying from the ceiling and an eclectic mix of artists, everything from Hip Hop to Ghetto Tech to Funk. (If you're a fan of Mr Scruff, he always plays here when he comes to Paris.)
Blog Post: Mr Scruff 

Social Club
142, rue Montmartre, 75002. Metro: Bourse or Grands Boulevards
The two main downsides to Social Club are 1) the bouncers are unreasonably rude and 2) the clientele tends to verge on the Pretentious Dickhead type of club-goer. BUT this relatively small club consistently books big names, allowing you to experience your favourite DJs in a relatively intimate venue (it has a capacity of 500).
Blog Post: 2ManyDJs

Rex Club

5, Boulevard Poissonnière, 75002. Metro: Bonne Nouvelle
If you haven't got a ticket you can still pay on the door, but expect to queue for at least two hours. It never feels too crowded and the music is normally some kind of techno, with mostly French and German DJs.
Blog Post: Daniel Stefanik

Le Batofar

11, quai François Mitterrand, 75013. Metro: Bibliothèque François Mitterrand
Everyone should go raving in a small red boat docked by the Seine at least once in their life... The music isn't always good though, so make sure you check the agenda before you go.
Blog Post: Mikix the Cat 

La Java

105, rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75010. Metro: Belleville or Goncourt
The Electro Swing Club (I think it's every other Friday) here is quite fun- think saxophones and Billie Holiday singing over beats and bass. Some people dress up in vintage clothes and give themselves retro hairstyles for the occasion. The only problem is with La Java is that because it's a long and narrow club, the sound can be a bit weird.
Blog Post: Electro Swing Club

Chez Moune

54 Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, 75009. Metro: Pigalle
The music can be brilliant, but it's a bit of a gamble... It's open until 5am and the ten euro entry price includes one drink (which are about ten euros each anyway). It's a teeny tiny club and so dark you can barely see your own hands, but when the lights come up you'll see the psychedelic decor- strange statues and glittery walls.
Blog Post: Hedonism

Wanderlust
32 quai d’Austerlitz 75013. Metro: Gare d’Austerlitz
When it first opened I thought it was an amazing venue and I loved the huge terrace that looked over the river. Now it's quite pretentious and over-crowded, plus they've put the drink prices up. I still reckon it's worth a try though, if only to hang out on the terrace.
Blog Post: DJ Heidi




Wanderlust. Photo taken from Divercity


211, avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019. Metro: Porte de Pantin or Porte de la Villette
A vast park in the east of Paris, built over the Canal Saint-Martin. It's a bit of a dodgy area at night and there's not a lot of lighting near the metro, so make sure you look at the map on the website before you go, to avoid getting lost. 

Every May there is also a music festival at Parc de la Villette called Villette Sonique. Some of the events you have to buy tickets for, but they have a lot of artists playing on outdoor stages and that's all free. 


This very urban, contemporary park is filled with theatres and museums, but also with some amazing music venues, such as:

Cabaret Sauvage

As soon as you enter this domed, tent-like structure, you are greeted by a little stage with heavy, red velvet curtains behind it. You step through a gap in the curtains... and suddenly you are at the circus. Need I say more? They have everything from house and techno, to drum and bass, to Gypsy Serbian Brass nights.
Blog Post: Rebel Rave

Grande Halle de la Villette
Often big raves or festivals will use this space, such as Pitchfork Festival or 'Boombox' by We Love Art. It's an amazing venue with a huge capacity, I think it was originally built as an exposition space.
Blog Post: Miss Kittin

Le Trabendo

All right, so I've never actually been so I can't truthfully recommend it, but thought I would mention it as it is in Parc de la Villette and they had some good nights on when I lived in Paris that I couldn't make it to. If anyone's been, let me know what it's like. 




Lights along the canal in Parc de la Villette, guiding you towards Cabaret Sauvage...

15 comments:

  1. It's really funny beacause the first thing that all the french people says when they go out in UK is "WHY ENGLISH GIRLS ARE DRESSED LIKE THAT ?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Different cultures... Have you changed the way you dress now?

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    2. imagine what they would say if they were in america.. here most girls dressed extremely over the top when they clubbing

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  2. This reminds me of the time that I had to evade a pervy and disgusting Frenchman after leaving a club by riding a velib to a nightbus. Amazing what you can do while drunk with a smartphone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, that is making excellent use of the Parisian transport system...

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  3. One or two venues (you might already know judging by your blog and refs)for music listeners and not "table reservations people".
    Sundays exclusively CONCRETE: http://www.concreteparis.fr/index.php?page=Home

    Bon Esprit collectif: https://www.facebook.com/#!/dubonesprit?fref=ts

    Karat records: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/KARAT-RECORDS/197837319573?fref=ts
    http://www.karatrecords.com/

    hope it'll help out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I've never heard of the Bon Espirit Collective or Karat Records, I will get researching now!

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    2. Ohhhh I didn't realise Katapult was organised by a record label...

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  4. Hello !
    I discovered your blog some weeks ago and I like your articles about clubbing in Paris ! They are not too long contrary to what some of your friends think, they entertain me.

    You should really add La Machine du Moulin Rouge to your list, there are some great parties regularly organised by Release The Groove and Sonotown.
    This is a really good venue with two main rooms : Le Central (a kind of concert hall) and La Chaufferie (smaller which looks more like a club) which was the former boiler room of the Moulin Rouge, I just love this room !
    This Friday, Karenn (Blawan & Pariah) are playing along Ben UFO, Redshape and other DJs from bleep.com in Le Central while Release The Groove is hosting a party in La Chaufferie and if it's like last time, you can go from a room to another.
    The atmosphere is also quite good.
    I hope it will interest you !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!

      I love La Machine ,but I haven't finished this page yet- it's a 'work in progress', it says at the top but maybe I should I write it in bigger writing! I've not been to La Machine since I saw Foreign Beggars there last year but yes, it always has a good atmosphere. I'm not sure if I've been in the second room, La Chaufferie, though...

      Thanks so much for commenting and I will try and update this section as soon as possible!

      Delete
  5. I'm really positively surprised what great informations, news and knowledge I've found on this blog, definitely I'll visit here sometime soon, so keep up the good work, I think the blog will get bigger and have broader audience very soon enough. Thanks for the articles and If you have some spare time please visit and check out DJ samples at:
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    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi from a fellow northerner living abroad (Florence). Love the style of Your blog and wanted your advice. I'll be over in Paris with some girlfriends aged 38-45..where could be a good place to go clubbing. We are not spring chickens but we want to have a good time without the tack. Any recommendations?? For bars too..while we're at it.. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi sorry I've only just seen this comment! I would suggest Le Carmen which is a cocktail bar near Place de Clichy, it's a very lovely building but it's quite expensive, about fifteen euros for a cocktail - get there early as it's difficult to get in after 10pm. For clubbing I would suggest Nouveau Casino as it is definitely not tacky. Another bar you should try is Comptoir Generale which is really quirky and laid back, with lots of interesting African themed decor - but not in a tacky way. Also the 404 bar in the Marais is really cool, but it's quite small so again get there early. Just realised you posted this a month ago, hope you haven't already been to Paris and it's too late!

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