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Autumn Jazz Events in Paris: Jazz sur Seine, Blue Note Festival & Postmodern Jukebox

HiP Paris Blog rounds up this Autumn's jazz eventsPostmodern Jukebox

There’s something about autumn that is inexorably linked to the cool brooding sound of a saxophone or just the right melancholy piano melody. In fact, many a Paris flaneur seeks a good jazz show in the fall, when la rentrée brings us back to reality.

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A Paris Classic: Harry’s New York Bar

In La Ville-Lumière, where the wine can be cheaper than the water, there are times when we forget that there is something other to drink than the humble grape: I refer you to the classic cocktail. Paris is full to the brim of kitsch cocktail bars popular with les bobos, über-cool joints where the process of whipping together a cocktail has more oomph than the finale of the Cirque du Soleil. But sometimes nothing beats going back to basics. And where better to enjoy the perfect Bloody Mary than under the very roof where it, along with other classic favorites, were invented and have been drunk for 100 years.

Harry’s New York Bar is the oldest cocktail bar in Europe, and first opened minus the ‘Harry’s’ prefix in 1911. It’s since become the darling of Parisians and expats alike, celebrated for its extensive cocktail list, beautifully prepared drinks and excellent service. It sits just five minutes walk from the hustle and bustle of Opéra and, in tribute to their loyal expat clientele, a sign outside reads ‘Sank roo doe noo’ – a phonetic transcription of the bar’s address to help lost and thirsty compatriots find there way there.

A warm greeting from the sweetly smiling hostess and a push through the swinging saloon doors, and I feel like I’ve tumbled into New York in the days before prohibition, when the men wore top hats and women feathers and fur. There’s not such stylish attire now, alas – more button down shirts and loosened ties, but the décor and atmosphere still shimmer of debonair early 20th Century days: smartly adorned bar staff, beautiful dark reddish oak panelling, walls plastered with triangular American state flags and rows upon rows of glittering bottles of all shapes and sizes — alcohols, mixers and syrups, all ready to be whipped up into a perfect cocktail creation. Even the old style hot dog stand on the bar counter pays tribute.

I’d missed lunch, which is the only time they serve anything other than New York style hot dogs; so instead, I sipped mojitos – I’m still une bobo at heart – in the piano bar downstairs and listened blissfully to the jazz pianist work his magic on an upright piano into the small hours. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 8 Comments »

Music in Paris: A Look at Spring and Summer’s Best Free Concerts

Here in Paris, the warm days and longer nights have got us yearning for carefree summer fun… To tide us over, HiP Paris contributor Stephanie Wells shares her list of Spring/Summer concerts here. We’d love to hear from you too! If you know of any great gigs, feel free to leave them in the comments… -Geneviève

Julian Brezon

Having been either a student or an intern all of the five summers I’ve spent in Paris, it’s easy to understand why my entertainment budget is virtually non-existent. So when the pink cherry blossoms on the Canal Saint Martin turn the luscious green that signals the real beginning of spring, the promise of free concerts draws me like a magnet.

GuiGui Les Bons Skeudis

Last year’s Caetano Veloso concert at the La Défense Jazz Festival was a sun-blazed highlight of my summer. I’m chomping at the bit to see what musical gems are on this year’s program (under embargo until the end of May). What lucky folks we Parisians are that we can just hop over to the Esplanade de la Défense from June 18th-26th for a top-quality musical extravaganza – for free!

La Défense Jazz Festival 2011, 18-26 June 2011, Esplanade de la Defense, Free

Malias

While I’m waiting for the Jazz Fest’s unveiling, as if on cue, the Villette Sonique publicized their festival lineup a couple weeks ago. Continue Reading »

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