are notoriously snobby about the areas they will frequent, and each postcode is
secret shorthand for a different style (the 1st arrondissement is
luxurious, the 6th arrondissement is chic, the 20th is
bohemian). The areas beyond the city centre are generally seen as no-go areas –
but the opening of a new venue in the 15th arrondissement looks set
to change this.
In order to
encourage growth and development in greater Paris, former president Nicolas
Sarkozy launched an initiative in 2007 called Grand Paris, with plans for architectural and urban
development. However, some independent initiatives have set the ball rolling
on their own, even before the government project has begun to fully take shape,
slowed by budget issues.
charge in June 2012 was the
opening of Wanderlust, a venue that hosts concerts, club nights and yoga
sessions along the Seine in the hitherto cultural wasteland of the southern 13th
arrondissement. And now another new multi-discipline venue, Electric, has opened in the depths of the
far-flung 15th arrondissement, just steps away from the famous
Parisian ring road, Le Périphérique, which
separates central Paris from the suburbs.
the top floor of an exhibition hall that hosts trade fairs in the city’s Porte
de Versailles area, Electric’s outlying position affords it more space than its
centrally-located equivalents: an impressive 1,000sqm indoors and a mammoth
20,000sqm of outdoor space, all with spectacular panoramic views over Paris.
Conceived by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, the light and
airy interior with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows is the antithesis
of most subterranean, windowless clubs and concert venues. Here, a natural feel
pervades: light woods, pale furniture and even a pillar that has been converted
into a large fibreglass tree – the branches of which support lights and
projectors, and the shape of which finds a visual echo with the Eiffel Tower seen
on the horizon.
itself as an “alternative cultural venue”, Electric hosts both diurnal and
nocturnal events, spanning the disciplines of music, art, sport, fashion and
more. The venue has already seen crowds brave the journey for such events as a
concert by French electro music star Kavinsky (of Drive
soundtrack fame) and a club night put on by Parisian party-makers We Love Art.
abreast of upcoming events, stay tuned to Electric’s Facebook page or visit
Kim Laidlaw is the
Paris Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes www.unlockparis.com.