The Caveau de la Huchette
Visit the Caveau de la Huchette and Descend into a subterranean jazz club full of swords, history, and cool music. The dance floor is one of the best around, and in terms of atmosphere, there is simply nothing that compares.
Stepping in from the street, it's not apparent that the Caveau de la Huchette is a jazz club. On my first visit, I was double and triple checking the address. If you find yourself in a room with swords, muskets, and a prized chastity belt behind an iron grille, you're in the right place. The Caveau de la Huchette wasn't always a jazz club. In fact, in has a harrowed history not for the faint of heart. It was the meeting place of different societies, and at one point a clandestine Freemasonry lodge.
That's right, fearful figures from the French Revolution of 1789, like Danton and Robespierre, clinked glasses here and, rumor has it, also carried out a few executions.
After admiring the weaponry, head to the back of the room and down the stairs. Caveau means "vault" in French, and the small room on the main floor belies the constellation of domed rooms that make up the vaults downstairs. I never stray long amidst the hushed conversations that float around the main floor. The atmosphere downstairs is anything but mellow. The bands wail on a small stage by the foot of the stairs, and most of the main room is given up to a dance floor that is always full of people of all ages. If you arrive after the band has started, you might just get pulled onto the dance floor before you can squeeze by to find a seat.
If anything can compete with the storied history of the Caveau de la Huchette, it's the music. The likes of Count Basie and Bill Coleman have made appearances here and many of today's performances are true to the Caveau's swing-era roots.
I like to arrive a bit early, so I can claim a spot on one of the wooden benches and have a drink before the dancing sets in. If you do arrive early and have some time to explore before the crowd descends, look out for a small, deep well set in one of the corners behind a tear-shaped opening. It supposedly served to help clear up any mess spurred by a guilty verdict in the trials that were sometimes held here in the days of the Revolution.
With its musical reputation and one of the most fun dance floors in town, the Caveau de la Huchette can get crowded, especially on weekends when the music goes until dawn. It's easy to lose track of the time in the subterranean hideaway whether you've staked out a seat for the evening and are contemplating the labyrinth of passageways or spinning around on the dance floor.
blog comments powered by Disqus
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- February 2011
About the Paris Blog
If you're planning a trip to Paris, it helps to have a local friend that can keep you informed of all the latest events, news, and deals. The Paris Blog is that local friend.