« 20 Nightlife | Main | Festival Filmer La Musique »

Le Piano Vache

Will Hutchins writing for I V Y paris

PianoVache Paris is certainly not lacking when it comes to chic cafés or à la mode wine bars but if you’re hankering after a rather more alternative establishment in which to hang out with friends over a beer or une verre de vin, then take yourself down to Le Piano Vache.

Tucked away on the attractive cobbled side-street rue Laplace in the shadow of Le Panthéon, this marvelously monickered bar is a hideout for all those with a penchant for punk, new wave and metal.

Though don’t expect to find it chock-a-block with long hair drinkers clad in t-shirts emblazoned with the names of Norwegian death metal bands, or even bald old punks in Crass t-shirts.

Instead you will be welcomed by a busy mish-mash of laissez-faire people and a lively atmosphere. It is also very much a student hangout as it is reasonably priced, yet not the very cheapest of drinking venues in Paris, with pints costing €5 before nine and €5.50 after, while alcools et cocktails cost an extra euro.

Composed of two rooms, a narrow entrance bar joined to a larger room which hosts an eclectic mix of rug and leather covered broken sofas and simple wooden tables and chairs, Le Piano Vache truly has a bric-a-brac aesthetic. Some would be forgiven for mistaking the bigger back room for a bad vintage store, adorned as it is with random hat-stands, dirty old mirrors and broken televisions. Resting in the corner is an elderly piano that may or may not work (my guess would be yes, but only just.) The walls are covered in an assortment of punk, metal and indie posters with the occasional random one, such as ‘Entretien avec un vampire’, old ‘Libération’ front pages and a collage of yellowing passport photos.

I like to think this is a collection of all the tourists who decided that they no longer had need for their national passports upon bumping into this here sub-cultural institution, and chose instead to align their cultural identity to the little sovereign state of Le Piano Vache. On uncovered spots on the wall or on the concrete pillars in the second room many a lover has etched a display of affection.

On Mondays the red lit back room doubles as a live music venue. But don’t expect your favourite act to be playing there any week soon, unless your favourite act just happens to be middle aged local gypsy swing/jazz guitarist Rodolphe Raffalli. In which case, you’re in luck! His jazz trio play the bar every Monday night at 9.30, when all those who don’t wish to listen in peace to his cool Parisian guitar plucking à la Django Reinhardt are ushered into the first room.

There’s even the possibility of bumping into Johnny Depp, if that type of thing floats your boat, as according to their web-site, he has been known to sup on an Amstel or two in there.

In the second room there is a sign above the bar which reads, ‘Last Pub for 897km’, and it kind of feels like it. Of course, there are other sub-cultural bars full of character in Paris, but this was very much one of the first to play rock music, whether that still makes it one of the best is up to you decide, but it’s definitely worth making that trip to find out. 

Open everyday from 12h to 2h.

Le Piano Vache
8 rue Laplace
75005 Paris

Bonapart Paris apartments


Pamela Price

I love this place... before smoking turned illegal, I used to sit for hours at a time drinking wine and smoking with pals amongst the flyer covered walls. Smoking or not, this joint is still a site to see.

Post a comment

Search the site


Paris Resources

Picture 12     360fashionLOGO1
More sites to explore...

Site notices

  •  Subscribe in a reader

    Add to My AOL

    Subscribe in Bloglines

    Add to Google

    Copyright © Susie Hollands.

Follow vingtparis on Twitter