- Looking down at the Barrio.
This article was last updated on November 13, 2011 and is complete to the best of our knowledge. However, organization of salsa parties is a delicate and daunting task and information is subject to change... make sure you call and double-check any of the info below before showing up at a given place.
Please note also that on the rare occasions that the sun decides to come out in Paris between June and September, you might be lucky to find salsa dancers spinning away on the Seine banks, by the Institut du Monde Arabe, if you’re lucky...
For the most recent information in French, check out the SalsaFrance forum, and in particular its weekly dancing agenda and its live events agenda.
Addresses for the clubs and dance schools can be found here
Agua (Bateau Concorde Atlantique) - Tuesday
10 euros, including dance classes and unlimited soft drinks
Formerly located on Péniche Alizé at Port de la Rapée, now moved to Bateau Concorde Atlantique for several months (although some directories still list it at the old address - beware). Hosted by now almost permanant Paris-resident Leon Rose and Noemie Millon. A "Bateau" is in fact a boat, in this case almost permanently docked on the banks of river Seine. The Concorde Atlantique boat has two levels : the upper, street-level is dedicated to salsa, mainly classic PR/NY salsa, some commercial salsa, and a little bit of bachata, spun by DJ Melka ; the lower level welcomes couples smoothly moving to the sounds of Kizomba, as well as the self-service soft-drink bar. Dance classes with Leon, Noemie and Karlito from 8pm to 10pm. Pay car park on the river bank.
Agua - Bateau Concorde Atlantique
Port de Solférino - at the level of 23, Quai Anatole France, Paris 75007
Metro : Musée d’Orsay or Assemblée Nationale - Google maps
Info : 06 30 83 97 40
Balajo - Tuesday & Thursday
Cover 12 euros, including the classes and one soft drink - 8 euros after the class - Free for ladies on Tuesdays.
No history of salsa in Paris would be complete without a paragraph on the Balajo. Its wooden dancefloor has been welcoming Paris dancers since 1936. The current salsa parties, both hosted by David Lartist, are : Salsa & Bachata on Tuesdays, with classes by David & Camela and music by DJs Karl Con Klass’ or DJoe, and Cuban Salsa & Latino Mix on Thursdays, with classes with Herminio & Carole and music by DJ Enrique + guests.
9 rue de Lappe
Metro : Bastille or Ledru Rollin
Barrio Latino - Sunday & Monday
7 euros, free coatcheck on Sundays
8 euros, coatcheck 2 euros per item on Mondays
The Sunday party at the Barrio is almost world-famous and if it’s not already, you can help help spread the word : classes by David Lartist start at 2pm. Around 4pm, Willy starts to mix mambo dura and gorda and kompa, to unwind, in the DJ-cage, and doesn’t stop until the crowd has reached fever-pitch ; the party ends at 19h30 on Sunday night for those of us who have to work the next day. In this refurbished factory, you can spin on the hardwood floor and look up through three levels of wrought-iron magic to the ceiling. Huge windows to the street let in lots of light, and there’s a grand staircase if you want to sit and watch dancers cavorting on the floor, and intimate nooks and crannies if you feel like cooling down from the lovely knots of arms and shines out on the floor. Did we mention the music ? Go there.
The Monday party is, in turn, 100% cuban Timba-oriented, and is hosted by Roberto "El Cubano", with dance classes from 8pm to 10pm, and dancing till 2am.
46-48 Faubourg St Antoine
Métro : Bastille
No more weekly salsa events at Djoon for now. Specific events are nevertheless organized here. Check this FB group for dates and details.
22, boulevard Vincent Auriol - 75013 Paris
Métro 6 - Quai de la Gare / Bercy
Métro 14 - Bercy
Moving de Thiais - Saturday
Cover : 12 euros including unlimited soft drinks, water and late-night snacks. Coat-check : 2 euros per person. Free car park.
Before you read any further : this venue is located in Thiais, which is a 15-minute car ride away from Paris, so before even considering going there, make sure you have a car, or know someone who can give you a ride there - and back. Don’t even think of catching a cab in Thiais at 3am - and calling one will cost you an arm, a leg, and your first-born child.
The Moving de Thiais is a day-time gym that on week-end nights gets emptied from its body-building and fitness machines to give floor - quite literally - to the dancers. Not only salsa dancers, in fact : aside from salsa (i.e., cuban Timba, PR/dura classics and some commercial salsa) in the main room, spun by DJ Sergio, and Bachata / Kizomba in another room, if you think you can dance, you may also give a try to the West Coast Swing room, or to the Rock’n roll & other dances room (which also features some pretty cool cha-cha-cha interludes, and happens to be the coolest room of all - I’m referring to temperature, here, as likewise in most Paris venues, air conditioning doesn’t seem to have been invented yet).
The 12 euros cover, which is a bit higher than in other places, is largely compensated by the free self-service soft-drink counter, where you will also find bread, jam, and even Nutella if you happen to feel peckish at 3am. In turn, you won’t find any alcohol here - not even a beer ; this is a pure dancers’ place. Dance classes from 9pm to 11pm. Dancing from 11pm till 3am.
Moving de Thiais
3, rue des Alouettes
La Pachanga - open 7/7
Cover : 8 euros ; 10 euros on Saturday, class and one drink included. Coat-check 2 euros per item.
One of the living dinosaurs Paris salsa clubs, the formerly concrete, and now hardwood floor of the Pachanga has welcomed the feet of most anyone who’s ever danced salsa in Paris. We lost our milk teeth dancing to David Fagour’s Monday night cuban/Rueda explosion, or to DJ Alf’s parties. Current hosts include Alex "Salserito" and DJ Julian "El Payaso". You may have dinner beforehand and watch the dancers work their magic on the floor.
8, rue Vandamme
Métro : Gaïté or Montparnasse
- O’Sullivans, DJ Gabriel
O’Sullivan’s - Sunday
10 euros, one drink included, no coat-check (don’t bring any valuables with you). Come before 8pm and bring a friend, and it’s two for the price of one !
Located right next to world-famous Moulin Rouge, this is the stomping grounds, every Sunday, of also world-famous Paris-based DJ Gabriel & just as renown Paris on2 dance queen Sève Cartesse, along with DJ Jano, DJ Juan and occasional guests. Don’t be intimidated by the Irish pub-like front of the club, the salsa is in the back room ; if questioned by one of the doormen (which may happen if you’re coming in after 11pm or so), just say "salsa", this sesame works 100%. Two levels : the cozy salon area has a fast-spinning hardwood floor, and the bar-level is a concrete blend that spins better with a bit of talc. Your feet will need all the help they can get once Gabriel hits the tables : it’s difficult to stop dancing, so our good daddy has organized a show so that you can watch Paris’s best dancers perform as you catch your breath. The party normally ends at 1am, but can continue later on occasions. And BTW, walking back to your taxi/hotel through the X-rated neon of Pigalle is a necessary part of a trip to the City of Light. Classes by Sève, queen of everything you need to know about how to move on the dance floor, beginners from 6pm-7pm, and intermediate from 7-8pm.
O’Sullivans by the Mill : 92 boulevard de Clichy, 75018, Paris
Metro : Blanche (2).
Phil & Madj - Friday party Fridays, generally twice a month - dates available here
Cover : 10 euros ; class and one drink included. Coat-check 2 euros per item, low-price (by Paris standards) drinks.
This party is moving to a new venue from November 18, 2011 onwards.
In only a couple of years, DJ Phil and DJ Madj have managed to make this venue one of Paris’ ultimate hardcore 70’s salsa and mambo spot, heavily attended by "on 2" dancers and other "PR"-oriented crowds. Unusually (by Paris standards) located in the 15th arrondissement, i.e., in the South-Western area of the city, the party is worth the somewhat longer-than-usual metro ride. Be there at 8:30pm for Mouaze’s class. Dancing starts at 10:00pm, and the party is over at 2:00am. Phil & Madj often have some surprise guest, either at the turntables or on the dancefloor for a short dance show at some point before midnight. Keep a cab service number at hand, as finding a cab in this part of the city at 2:00am might take you some time, or make sure someone can give you a ride home !
Phil & Madj
New venue : 61 rue Violet - 75015 Paris
Métro - Commerce (8) or Avenue Emile Zola (10)
Google maps -
again, dates available here
Phil & Madj - Café Louise Saturdays, once a month - dates available here
Cover : 10 euros, with 1 soft drink (or beer) included.
Located in the both very centric and worldwide renown area of Boulevard Saint-Germain, Café Louise is, at street level, a quite cosy restaurant where you can have dinner while listening to live music (usually a singer and one musician, various types of music, check the venue’s Facebook page). Walk down the stairs, right at the entrance, for the salsa. Having a salsa party in one of the cobblestone-walled basements of Saint-Germain des Prés has its charms, and it must be pointed out that Café Louise’s basement is actually pretty large compared to many of the neighboring bars and restaurants. However, "pretty large" by Paris standards means that it fits approximately 80 people, so make sure you come either early, or late (i.e., from 1 a.m. or so), otherwise be prepared to spend some time standing in line at the entrance, waiting for a few people to leave the place. The good side to it is that even when the place is crowded, it still leaves some place to dance. As in many Paris venues, and even more in old Paris basements, air conditioning still hasn’t been invented, so make sure you have a spare T-shirt and/or a hand-held fan. The good news is that in this part of town, you will find a cab home quite easily.
Café Louise - 155 Boulevard Saint Germain, 75006 Paris
Metro : St germain des Près (4) or Mabillon (10)
United Party @Moving de Thiais - monthly on Thursdays, and occasionally on national holidays’ eves, check here for next date.
Cover : 15 euros. Coat check : 2 euros. Free soft drink bar. Free car park.
The whole concept behind the "United" parties is about getting all of the diverging trends of the Paris latin dance scene back together : PR/on2 fans, Cuban/Timba-oriented crowds, Bachata lovers, Kizomba wanabees, everyone united at the same location, with different music in different rooms, and the possibility of switching from one room/music to another. Or shall I say, elbow-pushing your way from one room to another, as this is unfortunately the drawback of "uniting" everyone in one place : even in such a huge venue as the Moving de Thiais, it gets pretty quickly as jam-packed as in the Metro at rush hour. Get there before 10pm, or be ready to spend an hour (or more) standing in line on the parking lot. Great idea, though way too successful.
As for the regular Moving de Thiais events, you will need a car to get there and on your way back, as Thiais is a 15-minute car ride away from Paris (see regular Moving de Thiais description above).
Moving de Thiais
3, rue des Alouettes
- Rueda at the WAGG
WAGG - Sunday afternoon and night
10 euros, class and drink included, coat-check 2 euros per item
Formerly the Whisky-a-Gogo, a Parisian club of great renown, this venue has been a home to the Cuban crowds for the past few years. Reports indicate that in addition to an addictive, Timba-rich and swinging son spun by local Cuban-oriented stars Roberto "el Cubano" and DJ Jack el Calvo, there are beautiful bathrooms with lots of chrome, an excellent dancefloor, and a great ambience. The Sunday night parties are quite popular and the club is built to handle a large capacity, people say that even when there are 400 dancers present, you’ll have room to tembleque to your heart’s content on the dancefloor.
62 rue Mazarine, 75006 Paris
Métro : Odéon (10)