Le 38 Rive Jam Session
Was this really it? An unassuming storefront with peeling posters in the window? It was. Once inside we descended the spiral staircase into an intimate 12th Century vaulted cellar with a small stage and seating for about 40 people. My travel companion, Jessica & I arrived early for the Monday night jam session and scored a tiny table & chairs next to the stage. An evening of remarkable music was ours for the small admission fee of 2 euros added to the cost of a mandatory drink. Of course one drink isn't enough. Something must be paired with the charcuterie plate, deftly assembled by the very hip bartender. Did I mention the music was fantastic? The mohawked pianist attacked the keyboard passionately. Talented musicians jammed and the entire evening was a delight
Gypsy Jazz at La Chope des Puces*
Sunday afternoon jam sessions are free and very much a family affair. Ninine Garcia, famed "manouche" guitarist and his son, Roko led the session and various family members sat in, including La Chope owner, Marcel Campion, the "boss of the French gypsies." The bar is small and democratic with lots of regulars from all walks of life. La Chope is located in a somewhat sketchy blue collar neighborhood in Saint-Ouen. Jessica and I were welcomed with open arms (especially by the irrepressible Sammy) and we ate, drank and made merry all afternoon and into the evening.
*The Cup of Fleas