A talk with Jane Penny, TOPS’s vocalist, at her home back in Montreal
Let’s feed your hunger for insights and secrets in the Scene Report. Julie Bathelier, head of communications at the Parisian agency Super – which organises the upcoming Heartbeats Festival together with L’Aeronef, Le Grand Mix and De Kreun – takes you on a tour through the dreamy capital of la douce France.
Text by Julie Bathellier.
Photos shot by Vincent Arbelet, Léo Delafontaine and Jacob Khrist in Paris, France
There are thousands of Paris city guides, so many things to see and so many options to hang out that it gets difficult sometimes to choose the right place. If you want to take in all the culture, the right food’s important. So let’s start there. Like a true Parisian, you go for Japanese. Rue Sainte-Anne is the popular place to be, but I’d recommend Sapporo on the Rue Saint Honoré, serving the best ramen, not far from Le Louvre, La Comédie Française and L’Opéra. Cheap and good food in a very chic district.
If you’d prefer to try some bristronomique food – basically, a mix between bistro fare and gastronomic cuisine – stop by at Hai Kai. The female chef prepares a different menu every day, using fresh ingredients to create really well-executed, revisited French food. And it’s just next to Canal Saint Martin, so very romantic as well, with the boats passing by. In the afternoon, Le Bal is a very nice place to take a break, near Place de Clichy. The place is dedicated to visual images, with exhibitions, events and a library. It’s in a dead-end street, so even on a sunny day it’s very relaxed.
As you’re clearly fond of good tunes given the publication you’re holding, you shouldn’t miss out on the record stores. Stop by Ground Zero and National 7. Both are independent record stores where you literally can find thousands of treasures. National 7 even has a selection of vintage furniture. At Les Balades Sonores the people are very nice and helpful. With their label they’re promoting fresh French and Parisian bands and they organise showcases in the tiny shop as well. Afterwards, go to Les Petits Gros on the same street, a typically French, old-fashioned bar, for an apéro with fromage and charcuterie, a beer or a wine, and some good friends.
The vibrant 11th arrondissement is a good district for drinks as well. Around metro Parmentier there’s Le Complot, a bar where they have a great selection of rums. Near Bastille and Voltaire there’s L’incognito, which is at first glance a liquor, cheese and charcuterie market, but at the same time an original bar. Don’t miss out on Le Motel, a tiny bar for a beer or cocktail that’s not too expensive. It’s a really fun place, with DJs and exhibitions by local artists. And every Sunday there’s the Quizz where you can win a bottle of champagne.
The music scene in Paris is very intense, with lots of shows every night. I work for Super, an agency that represents and organises shows for more than 300 international artists. A lot of them are promising bands, some don’t even have an LP; none are being played on the radio. Over the years we see them evolve and become famous.
Movement, this modern electronic R&B band from Australia, is one of them. Their show at Pitchfork Paris enthralled the audience, who were all dancing and smiling. We also work with Tobias Jesso Jr, who is said to be the new John Lennon. At the office we like singing out loud ‘How could you baaaaabe?’ And then there’s Badbadnotgood, who I discovered live at Point Ephémère, a famous small venue next to Canal de l’Ourcq. There they gave an outstanding performance somewhere between hip hop and jazz.
Apart from that, Super also produces the Fireworks Festival, a showcase for artists on the rise, Pitchfork Music Festival Paris, and now Heartbeats festival, an indie festival on the border between France and Belgium.
If you want to experience a fun concert out on the Parisian streets, you can head to Le Trabendo, with its great sound system. In the ’90s it was a famous jazz venue, then it became a pop-rock joint. It’s quite big and you can walk from the pit to the bar easily, then go drink your signature cocktail on the terrace facing the newly built Philharmonie de Paris. The fact that it’s not in the very centre of the city makes for a very engaged crowd that knows it will have a great time, thanks to the carefully curated programming.
Near Bastille, you can head over to Le Badaboum. Formerly it was called La Scène Bastille and it was a bit neglected. It reopened a year ago and it’s a nice venue to discover some new bands. It’s also a club where you can hang out from Thursday till Sunday. They have a delicious cocktail bar, a classy and very good alternative to the chaos of the well-known Rue de Lappe, which is just touristy, with outrageous prices and bad music.
If you prefer a place in between a venue and a bar, Le Pop Up Du Label is a good option. A small venue newly opened not far from Gare de Lyon, it’s a bar and restaurant at the same time. There’s a tiny stage where you can discover the US and UK scene in an underground ambience. So, see you there!
ESSENTIAL FOOD: Sapporo, La Comédie Française, L’Opéra, Hai Kai DRINKS: Le Bal, Les Petits Gros, Le Complot, L’incognito, Le Motel STORES: Ground Zero, National 7, Les Balades Sonores VENUES: Point Ephémère, Le Trabendo, Le Badaboum, Le Pop Up Du Label