Picture the scene – it’s the turn of the 20th century, bohemia is exploding across Mont Martre, the cabaret is born and like a young Ewan McGregor you rush to the nearest seedy underground venue to watch a spectacle like no other.
Alas. Back to reality. It’s 2016 and tourism has all but sucked the seedy charm out of every cabaret hall, including the Moulin Rouge – the former heart of it all – transforming them into overly expensive, commercialised, feathery dance shows with none of their former glory. (Moulin Rouge prices begin at 87€ – show only!)
But do not fear! There remains one place where eclectic immersive entertainment true to cabaret’s past still exists. Tucked away in Saint-Michel in the historic 5th arrondissement lies ‘Aux Trois Mailletz’ – a restaurant-cum-piano-bar-cum-cabaret spectaculaire! It is without a doubt my favourite place to be in the early hours of the morning, no matter the day of the week!
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The cabaret takes place on a tiny platform in an underground cellar with arched ceilings that can barely hold 50 people. Fitting as many as 8 singers on stage at any one time alongside a dancer and a full band consisting of drums, keyboard, bass, guitar and horns is an achievement in itself! Whilst this does lead to a very crowded and often chaotic scene on stage, this only adds to the rugged charm of the whole experience.
The songs cover a huge range of genres from the likes of Edith Piaf, Jessie-J and Daft Punk to name a few, whilst taking inspiration from Jazz, Blues, Soul, Funk, Rock, Reggae and just about anything else you can think of. Combine this with an energetic dancer stomping the beat, climbing across the table as you lunge to save your drink, and you’re starting to imagine what it’s like at Aux Trois Mailletz!
If you begin to tire or need a break (the music ends well after the sun has risen so if you’re in it for the long run you’ll probably need one!) you can head back upstairs to listen to some gentle piano and perhaps a ballad from one of the singers taking it down a few notches. The best part? The kitchen serves traditional french food until 5am!
Aux Trois Mailletz is a relic of a time gone by, and an increasing rarity in an ever-modernising, tourist-friendly Paris. Time stands still Aux Trois Mailletz, and your evening will be all the better for it.
Cabaret Practical Info:
Restaurant: Good food with main dishes starting at around 15€, open 7pm to 5am
Cabaret: 20€ entry during the week and 25€ at weekends
Timing: don’t arrive too early unless you want to be seated right by the stage. Any time after midnight is best.
Drinks: The cheapest option is to buy a bottle of wine and split it between your party. Bottles for around 25€+
More info on the website here: http://www.lestroismailletz.fr/
Address: 56 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris. Nearest metro Saint Michel or Cluny – La Sorbonne