I finally went to the renowned jazz club in Paris called Le Duc des Lombards. It is considered one of the best jazz venues in Paris and I highly recommend getting tickets for one of the performances. It’s a great way to spend part of your evening surrounded by great music in an intimate, classy setting. Here’s what you should know if you’re interested in hearing live jazz in Paris.
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1. A Historic Jazz Club In Paris: Le Duc des Lombards
There are a number of Paris jazz clubs and Dec des Lombards consistently ranks in the top 3, if not top of the list. It’s been around since 1984 and has performances by some of the biggest names in jazz. There are approximately 300 shows a year so this is a serious jazz club.
It’s located on Rue des Lombards at Blvd de Sébastopol, in the 1st arrondissement. There are 2 other jazz clubs on the same street, Sunset/Sunside and Le Baiser Sale.
2. What Kinds Of Performances Take Place At The Club?
Whether it’s Swing, Ragtime, Latin jazz, or Bebop, you’ll find all types of live jazz being played at Le Duc des Lombards by rising artists and world-class jazz icons.
- Solo artists, quartets, and bands play at this popular club on the right bank near Les Halles. Some famous jazz musicians who have played there included American trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis and French jazz double bassist Henri Texier.
- Emerging artists and rising stars take the stage on “Nouvelle Scène” nights (Mondays and Tuesdays) and Jam sessions are held late on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Le Duc also supports students and music schools. You will likely see that certain dates highlight jazz quartets or ensembles from music schools in or near Paris. For example, students from Le Pôle supérieur d’enseignement artistique of Paris Boulogne-Billancourt (PSPBB) performed 3 sets in early June 2023. And occasionally Masterclass sessions are offered for aspiring musicians.
The night I chose to go, jazz guitarist, Sylvain Luc was playing for just that one night. His set lasted about 90 minutes.
3. Sylvain Luc “Simple Song”
Sylvain Luc is a guitarist, composer and arranger who has played with many famous musicians including Michel Legrand, Wynton Marsalis, and Charles Aznavour. He recently released a new solo guitar album called, “Simple Song” and although he played pieces from this album, he also played many popular songs that I knew. I’m sure you would know them too. I loved his renditions of “Over the Rainbow”, “The Girl From Ipanema”, and “Josie”, the 1977 hit from Steely Dan.
You can listen to Sylvain playing “Over The Rainbow” here: YouTube Clip.
4. What’s It Like Inside Duc des Lombards?
(a) Interior Designed By Elliot Barnes
Duc des Lombards was tastefully redecorated by American architect, decorator, and designer Elliot Barnes. It is a small music venue with two floors—on the ground floor and with an upper mezzanine area. There’s a bar on each level and there is air conditioning, so it’s quite comfortable, especially in the summer.
The modern armchairs are padded and comfortable and there are cocktail tables throughout…usually one table for every two chairs.
The stage allows the musicians to play “in the round” with up-close seating for those on the ground floor. In fact, you could be right up against the stage. That’s how close the audience can get to the musicians, certainly making the performance intimate.
(b) Serious About Jazz And Music
This jazz bar in Paris is serious about music. On centre stage is a beautiful Yamaha grand piano. It remained covered during Sylvain Luc’s guitar-solo performance; however, it is certainly an instrument jazz musicians love. The high-quality sound system and lighting are top-notch, creating a relaxing, enjoyable, and comfortable vibe.
I had looked into other jazz clubs and some were located in basements. I was a bit concerned about some being crowded and dingy and getting claustrophobic, so I decided to avoid those types of jazz clubs.
(c) Seating Inside Duc des Lombards
Seating on the main level and upper balcony (mezzanine) is theatre-style with chairs and tables facing the stage. You’re seated close together but it’s not a problem.
(d) Viewing The Performance: Where Should You Sit?
Had I gotten there earlier, I would have gotten a better seat on the main level. I didn’t like the one they first offered to me (on the side) and instead chose to sit on the mezzanine, in the front centre row. The only disadvantage with this location was that the railing obstructed the view and you had to kind of lean over to see Sylvain. If you choose the mezzanine, get a seat on the side.
Having said that, however, there are 2 large screen video monitors on the upper level and 1 on the main level of the club so you can also see the musicians from different angles too.
If I were to recommend a place to sit it would be on the main floor in the centre, facing the stage.
5. Drink/Snack List At Le Duc des Lombards
Just before the show starts you are provided with a menu. There are speciality cocktails that are part of the “All About Jazz” menu and they also have wine, whiskey, beer and champagne. Soft drinks and a few non-alcoholic speciality drinks are also available.
I had the “Le Pink Panther”, a non-alcoholic cocktail comprised of grapefruit juice, lime, elderflower, and Fever Tree Tonic. It was very good. They no longer serve hot dishes but you can order a snack. They have charcuterie and/or cheese plates, foie gras, and smoked salmon (14€ -19 € ). Seguin Gourmet provides the charcuterie and Jean-Yves Bordier’s Fromagée provides the cheese and butter plates.
Prices for glasses of wine and pop are reasonable; bottles of wine are less so. Their cocktails are about 10€ -14€.
6. Show Times And Entrance Fee/Prices
(a) Regular Shows (Monday To Saturday)
At Duc des Lombards, the schedule and times constantly change so it’s important to check their schedule. Typically, there are two concerts each night, Monday to Saturday: one at 7:30 p.m. and one at 10:00 p.m. Not all artists do two shows, as was the case with Sylvain Luc, who only did one show on the one date.
His show was advertised a few months prior to the date; however, I didn’t purchase a ticket online until about 10 days before (29 €). There is no reserved seating but I would suggest getting there about 30 minutes before (that’s when the doors open) so you can get a seat on the main level.
- Prices: range from 29€ to 41€.
- Without Visibility: For some concerts, they do have “Without Visibility” tickets (where you can’t see the stage but can see the video monitors) and the cost is 10 €.
(b) Jam Sessions (Fridays and Saturdays)
There is no admission fee to attend the Jam session on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 to 4:00 am; however, there is a 1 drink minimum purchase.
(c) Nouvelle Scène (Mondays and Tuesdays)
On Mondays and Tuesdays at 7:30, 9:00, and 10:30 the “Nouvelle Scène” performances take place. Entrance is free and reservations are not possible. You show up (30 minutes before) and line up to get in.
7. The Top Jazz Clubs In Paris
Here are some of the best jazz clubs in Paris to consider. All are highly rated and are just a little different than Duc des Lombards:
- Le Caveau de la Huchette-5 Rue de la Huchette, 5th arr.
- Le Baiser Salé-58 Rue des Lombards, 1st arr.
- Sunset/Sunside-60 Rue des Lombards, 1st arr.
- New Morning-7/9 R. des Petites Écuries, 10th arr.
- Bal Blomet-33 Rue Blomet, 15th arr.
- Studio de l’Ermitage-8 Rue de l’Ermitage, 20th arr.
- 38’Riv Jazz Club-38 Rue de Rivoli, 4th arr.
- Jazz Club Etoile-81 Bd Gouvion-Saint-Cyr, 17th arr.
- Le Caveau des Oubliettes-52 Rue Galande, 5th arr.
- Café de Paris V-14 Rue de la Huchette, 5th arr.
- Chez Papa Jazz Club-3 Rue Saint-Benoît, 6th arr.
Le Duc des Lombards
Address: 42 rue des Lombards, 1ère arrondissement
Nearest Metro: Châtelet Les Halles
This experience in Paris was part of my 37th trip to France where I visited Normandy and Burgundy and then returned to Normandy via Paris. For more information, check out my itinerary here: Trip #37 To France.
8. Where To Stay In Paris Near Duc des Lombards
For some ideas on where to stay near the Duc des Lombards, which is in a great area of Paris, just north of the Seine and SW of the Pompidou Centre, here are some options depending on your budget.
(a) For a budget hotel, consider:
The Hotel Ascot Opera. It’s clean, in a great location, and has a welcoming staff. Click here: Hotel Ascot Opera to check the reviews and prices.
(b) For a mid-range hotel, consider:
- Novotel Paris Les Halles is just a 3-minute walk away from Duc des Lombards. You can’t beat the location as it’s in the heart of Les Halles. Rooms are air-conditioned and have a mini-bar and a tea and coffee maker and the Metro station is right in front of the hotel. Click here to find the best prices: Novotel Paris Les Halles.
- Citadines Les Halles apartment/hotel has a kitchen, is comfortable, and is incredibly close to rue des Lombards. I really like the Citadines chain as you really get value for your money. Click here to check the reviews and prices: Citadines Les Halles.
- Hotel Choiseul Opera. Although it’s a 25-minute walk away, I often stay at this 3-star hotel. Great price and location….very close to the Opera Garnier AND Roissybus….so I can easily catch this shuttle bus to Charles de Gaulle airport. Click here to find the best prices: Hotel Choiseul Opera.
- Timhotel Le Louvre. I have stayed here and you cannot beat the location, near the Louvre, Pompidou Centre and rue de Rivoli. It’s clean friendly, and comfortable. Click here to find the best prices: Timhotel Le Louvre
(c) For a high-end hotel
If you prefer a bit more of a high-end stay, definitely consider the Maison Albar Hotels Le Pont-Neuf. It’s a boutique hotel in a great location with a pool/spa and sauna and exceptional service. Click here to check the reviews and prices: Maison Albar Hotels Le Pont-Neuf.
(d) Other Paris Hotels
For other available hotels in Paris, check here for prices: Hotels In Paris
Have you been to a jazz club that you’d recommend? Please share your experience.
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