LATEST NEWSHow Paris got its Groove Back

Producer Benjamin Cassan shares his wisdom on Paris after-dark and how to party like a rock-star DJ

LATEST NEWS

How Paris got its Groove Back

Producer Benjamin Cassan shares his wisdom on Paris after-dark and how to party like a rock-star DJ

As the glitter settles on Paris Fashion Week for another year, talk turns to the golden moments, and these days, it’s as much about the after-parties as the shows themselves.  Partying in Paris has always been a tricky thing.  It’s one of those places that, as you rightly suspect, somewhere out there bohemian revelry of Moulin Rouge mysticism is unfolding, but how to find it, and then… how to get in…is another affair.  Over the past decade, clubs in Paris hit a slump and the scene felt staid. Too much style, too little substance.  Now, Paris has got its groove back thanks to a handful of innovative hospitality ventures that connect iconic Parisian architectural spots with international superstar djs, increasingly including Paris as a regular destination on their global circuit. For the first time in a long time, it’s all about the music.

The man masterminding the strings is producer Benjamin Cassan and his agency Zain.  For 2018 Fashion Week, Cassan flew in some of the biggest names in electronic music, from Damian Lazarus to Bedouin, to play at private members’ nightclub Raspoutine.  A firestarter and visionary in Paris’s hospitality scene, Cassan is also a founding partner of Paris’s hippest new restaurants, from Loulou, set overlooking the gardens of the Louvre, to Monsieur Bleu, located in the contemporary art museum Palais de Tokyo.  Come summertime, these terraces are the hippest places to hang, drawing artists, musicians and cinematographers to meet for chic lunches in spectacular surroundings.  It helps that the design, developed by renowned architect Joseph Dirand, matches the quality of the cooking. This summer, Cassan is due to open a new spot, Giraffe, defined by a roof-terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower.  “There will be nothing like it”, he shares.

 

Cassan credits his success to partying in the Ukraine back in 2005.  “I went to this festival in Ukraine in 2005 called Kazantip that was the underground Burning Man of the time – an incredible experience. Back then, electronic music wasn’t so fashionable. Ibiza wasn’t yet that place where billionaires went, and so I made friends with all the top underground DJs like Jamie Jones and the Martinez Brothers.  At that time, they were djing for €2000 a gig and now they are global superstars.  I was the only foreign guy there, so I decided to produce my mini-own nightclub inside the festival.  We had a French chef and would host the best DJs, so it drew a array of influencers from around the world, including Swedish royalty. From there, I went to set up nightclubs and a concert hall in Kiev before returning to Paris to open Rasputin.  I have to thank that trip to Ukraine as the starting point for all this”.

It’s at Kazantip that Cassan met his wife, Ukrainian DJ Kate Zubok, and the pair now work together, producing private events in spectacular locations. “We are currently organising a show for 5000 people in an airport hangar with an incredible view of the Space Museum behind, so guests will listen to incredible music whilst overlooking a rocket ship.”

But has Paris’ nightlife scene really changed so much?  According to Cassan, the answer is Yes. “The nightlife scene in Paris has changed a lot.  Before, when people went out, it was to see and be seen. Then the VIPS who used to go to Saint-Tropez started going to Ibiza and understood that the experience is defined by the quality of the music.  This is the biggest change now, people pay much more attention to the artists playing and the design, it’s not just about going to get drunk and see beautiful girls.” This shift is matched by an improvement in the quality of restaurants in the French capital, from forward-thinking vegan restaurants in Le Marais to the dynamic crew behind the Experimental Cocktail Club.

“There is this breath of fresh air in Paris at the moment.  Underpinned by Macron’s election, you can feel it.  Tourists are coming, people are reinvesting.  It’s become the place to be again.”

Benjamin Cassan’s Paris Black-Book  

Regularly responsible for showing international superstar djs how to enjoy Paris, Benjamin Cassan shares his insider tips.

Where to Go Out in Paris?

Truth be told, I don’t go out so much in Paris as I am mostly at my places, welcoming the artists playing, either at the concert hall in Palais de Tokyo or Raspoutine. Coming up we have everyone from Nils Fram to David August, the techno event Tales of Us, Solomun djing and a pop showcase from Julien Doré. When I am not working, my wife and I love to go to the East side of Paris to see artists perform at les Nuits Fauves, Concrete or Arena Concert Hall.

Favourite Cocktail Bar?

The Experimental Cocktail Club and the places this group has opened in the last few years, especially Balagan and Beef Club.  They have revolutionised the Parisian cocktail scene by introducing the best of Britain’s cocktail culture here.

Favourite Late Night Spots

There is no good and safe after party place in Paris. Better finish your night in Raspoutine at 6AM and then go to sleep.

Culture not to be missed

Through Monsieur Bleu and Loulou, I get to work with two of the most active museums in Paris, Palais de Tokyo and MAD (The Museum of Decorative Art). Because they don’t have a permanent collection, like the Pompidou or the Louvre, they have to constantly reinvent themselves to stay relevant. Palais de Tokyo does this through curating new contemporary artists and MAD through associating with brand like the very successful Dior exhibition that finished in early January.

Secret Spot only Parisians Know

I’m going to give you a very secret one. We will be opening a rooftop place at the Cité de l’Architecture et du patrimoine Trocadero with the most incredible views of Paris.  It’s called ‘Girafe’.

To Detox/ Recharge

Fly away from Paris to Taiba in the North-East of Brazil to kitesurf and do yoga

To Party

Kiev and Moscow.  Once you party here, you won’t want to party in Europe again. The clubs are incredible and people really know how to party…

Hippest hangout at the moment

The South Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc and a new 10 day festival called Epizode that takes place over New Year.

Inside tips on how to master Paris nightlife – is it all about lists and doors and who you know?

Don’t book through the hotel concierge or your credit card, the really cool place don’t work with those unless you want seat by the toilet.

Next up?

SOLOMUN+1 in Paris-LeBourget on April 28th