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


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. Avant-garde heavyweights on the bill for the May 28th-29th shows include Caribou, Oxbow, Suuns, Kode9 & the Spaceape, Group Doueh, Hype Williams, James Pants, Action Beat, Antilles, The Feeling of Love and Hifiklub & Arnaud Maguet. Anyone who hasn’t yet enjoyed a warm afternoon on the grass of the Parc de la Villette must add it to this summer’s to-do list, tout de suite.

Villette Sonique – Caribou, Oxbow, Antilles, Hype Williams, 28-29 May 2011, Parc de la Villette (75019), 14h30, 20h, Free

Villette Sonique (Les Sens Ordinaires)

Ah, springtime in Paris! Each time I whizz between the Seine and the Bibliotheque Nationale (BNF) on a Vélib, it brings back memories of chancing upon the tango dancers on the Square Tino Rossi as a 20 year-old student. From mid-May, pleasant nights bring out amateur guitarists, accordionists and singers who gladly serenade passers-by in unison with the drifting Seine.


Rounding out the list is L’International in the Oberkampf neighborhood. Entry is always free, and with 3-4 bands per night spanning folk n’roll, French pop, toxic rock and every mutation in between, you’re bound to land upon a new addition to your list of favorites.

L’International, 5-7 Rue Moret, 75011 Paris, Free 7/7


In this city where even daily doses of espresso can cost an arm and a leg, I hold my breath for the first day of spring and the freebies that annually accompany warmer months. A word to the wise; in summer 2011 I plan to indulge more than ever. Grab some wine, a blanket, and a friend or two. The season of free music is a downbeat and a guitar lick away.

Related Links:

  • HiP Paris reader Hannah Judson is playing at Les Déchargeurs every Friday night until June 1. Check out her music here.
  • Vingt Paris Magazine covers the Villette Sonique
  • And don’t forget, June 21 means the Fete de la Musique in Paris!

Written by Stephanie Wells for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Stephanie Wells

Stephanie Wells held stints in the music and fashion industries in New York and San Francisco before falling once again for the siren song of Paris. She holds a BA from the American University of Paris and recently received her MBA degree from the Sorbonne Graduate Business School. A specialist in communication for international organizations, Stephanie has worked with UN and NGO agencies. Her curiosity for all things Parisian leaves neither a passageway unexplored nor cork unpopped. Living in Paris for several years, she writes on food, culture, and travel.


  1. Hello, I look forward to coming to Paris with an extraordinary guitarist to accompany me through France, while I continue to record live performances for my series “Singing My Memoirs Out LOUD” I understand flying into England and using the wonderful train system will get me to Paris and aroun the music scene. If you have anyone on your staff who would be kind enough to chat back to me who I may connect with I’d be so grateful. I am taking a course in speaking French, as I want to be respectful while in your beautiful city. Good vibraaationnnnnns! Susan’L

    1. Thanks Susan’L, we think your project sounds so exciting! I wish we knew more about what it takes to preform live in the Paris music scene. Perhaps contacting a few of the concert organizers at the venues you are interested in will help. Good luck! – Ariel

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