Franc Pinot de L’Île Saint Louis
The famous photographer Atget photographed the doorway to Franc Pinot when it was still a bistro – that’s how old it is. The blue façade, with wrought grapevine insignia and grille, remains unchanged, only now it’s one of the most atmospheric jazz joints in Paris. (Good jazz clubs usually have a blue-and-white ‘TSF 89.9 fm’ sign in the window.) Upstairs, lit up by a sparkly neon ‘Jazz’ sign, is the booth-style bar, where photographs of jazz giants line the walls. The serious business happens downstairs in the vaulted cellar, where you sit at small tables, lit by tiny red lamps. There is also a mezzanine level from which you can spot the occasional celebrity musician in the audience. The bar is open from 7pm and concerts start from 9pm; prices vary from 10 Euro to 15 Euro, depending on the artist. Take note that, regardless of the quality of the music, it’s impossible to predict whether the club will be full or empty.