If outwards appearances were anything to go by, then La Flèche d’or would not be worth a go. Its ashen and burnt coloured walls do not endear the passing-by pedestrian, nor does anything about its outward demeanor for that matter. However, I had heard from native Parisians that it was worth the time, and well, as usual it turned out that they right.

Built upon the site of the old Charonne train station, la Flèche d’or is one of Paris’s most reputed – among those in the know –  and oldest underground music venues. It offers the complete entertainment package: various mixtures of alcohol, good food and music. It is bigger than it looks at first glance, and yet not overwhelmingly so. It is a true music venue in so much that it is fully equipped to accommodate big and small bands. From rock, pop rock, soul, funk, world- music, electro live, you will experience everything the urban music scene has to offer. As always, the French crowd will be overdressed and overly snobbish for the occasion, but trust me, when the dancing and merriment hour arrived, they all partook in it abundantly till the early hours. If you are going to become familiar with the underground Paris crowd, then  La Flèche d’or is  as good a place as you will come across.

 

Naniso Tswai
I have travelled afar and aplenty but never before have I met a city such as Paris. In fact, “that Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me” (Woody Allen: Midnight in Paris). This powerful quote both explains and encapsulates my relationship with Paris. Young, energetic and full of life, almost instantly her cuteness consumes you, coursing through your veins until all you desire is to never leave her embrace. But it is not all catwalk perfections, as despite her elegant demeanour, living here is an altogether different and gritty affair. For the tourist Paris dons her most beautiful frock and flirts an irresistible charm, but were you intent on becoming a permanent fixture, prepare yourself for her invariably coarse moods. She is obstinately and often infuriatingly French. She wears her French mantra, indeed breaths it as if though to do anything else would be an affront to her flag. Even when I ventured into her sprawling contours expecting her personality to become diluted, however I was both relieved and perplexed by the resoluteness of character. She is France at its most unyielding, arrogant and concentrated self, but damn, do I love to love her. I invite you to follow my own discoveries of Paris’s hidden corners and whispered beauties.

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