The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Nina Hynes and her band The Husbands are playing in Paris on Monday 2 April at La Flèche d'Or, for many reasons the best live music venue in the city.

First of all, it's free - and unlike other 'free' music bars in Paris you're not constantly being harrassed by aggressive floorstaff into continually buying an overpriced 'consommation', the obligatory drink often imposed instead of a cover charge (for this reason, stay well away from the Guinness Tavern near Les Halles, no matter how much the guidebooks rave about its great live bands). In other words, you can just come for the music. The staff are chilled out and friendly - even the doormen.

La Flèche d'Or, Paris Secondly, the music is usually great - three or four young, up-and coming bands from France or elsewhere before a DJ comes on at midnight. The current Paris fad is for Franz Ferdidand-like art-school indieness, sung in English - but there's room for punk, guitar pop, techno and even Balkan and Turkish folk music (courtesy of a recent show by French actor Tcheky Karyo). Walking up without checking who's playing is a no-risk way to have a good night out.

And the venue itself is impressive. A former train station, it's large and spacious, with room to move and breath. But be warned - no doubt for an authentic rock n'roll experience, the toilet (singular and unisex, like in most old French bars) is of 'Trainspotting' quality.

La Flèche d'Or is in the 20th arrondissement (not far from Père Lachaise, all you Doors fans!), a direct metro ride from Montmartre on line 2, and there are some really great little bars and restaurants in the vicinity. Our own favourite is the Bar de la Reunion just down the street, where the pool table is red and the walls are covered in photos and texts of Spanish and North African poets.

If you like live music and you find yourself in Paris some night, here's where you should go.

* More info (for punters and bands) is available at or

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Check out Aidan's previous articles in the French Letter archive

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Nuggets from our archive

2001 - Early career profile of Damien Rice, written by Sinead Ward. This insightful profile was written before Damien broke internationally with the release of his debut album 'O'. This profile continues to attract hundreds of visits every month, it being linked to from Damien Rice's Wikipedia page.