The Bottom Line
- Intimate setting makes concert-going ideal
- Sumptuous, historic Paris theater has seen countless legendary performers take the stage
- Located in Paris' lively 11th district
- No A/C and poor ventilation will make summer shows here a sticky affair
- No food service at bar
- Address: 50 Boulevard Voltaire, 11th arrondissement
- Metro: Oberkampf
- Tel.: +33 (0)1 43 14 00 30
- Open: Varies according to program (see program at the official website for more details)
- Drinks: The venue has a bar serving beer, wine, and some mixed drinks. Prices average 4-6 Euros (approx.$5-$8)
- Capacity: 1500 people
- Venue layout: The ground floor includes the bar and main floor (no seating). The mezzanine level has seats.
- Visit the Bataclan's official website (in French)
Guide Review - Le Bataclan Theater and Concert Venue
After years of planning to form my own opinion of this high temple of indie acts and comic theater, I recently had my first outing at the Bataclan. The occasion? A show by trip-hop/jazz/electrolash/eurotrash Swedish artist Jay Jay Johanson, who has a large following in Europe but (unfortunately) remains largely unknown in the U.S. Incidentally, Johanson's pure, otherworldly vocals and barely-noticeable syntax errors in English are not without charm.
We arrived at the venue on time, which in Paris means we virtually had the place to ourselves. Eschewing the coatcheck (too steep at 2 Euros per article), we entered the main hall. I was immediately drawn in by the intimate atmosphere and the decor's successful merging of rock bar and classic Paris cabaret elements. Wall paintings of cancan girls and various other iconic scenes remind you that you're in a historic spot for street theater, vaudeville, and slightly bawdier acts. High ceilings and a relatively spacious floor make the venue breathable while still conserving a cozy, exclusive feel.
After scoping out the mostly-empty hall, we headed for the bar, conveniently located at the back of the venue. We then claimed spots against a railing, knowing we'd have a good vantage of the show and crowd.
As people poured in and the opening act began, it started to get balmy. Eventually, it was verging on steamy. This was during a brisk week in March, so summer concerts or shows here would be ideal if you enjoy wondering whose sweat is whose.
A lanky, pale figure finally appeared on stage about an hour later, proceeding to regale the full house with melancholy Scandinavian trip-hop ballads and jazzy clin d'oeils to Chet Baker. The night ended on a mellow, but stimulating note, thanks in part to the venue's unique atmosphere. I'd go again anytime.