Live Music in France
French people love live music. You will often see signs advertising local bands in cafes and bars, with many places having a regular night for live music.
Musical children are encouraged in schools and colleges in France, with their skills thoroughly respected at all ages, so it is more common for French children to play an instrument than children in the UK.
Buskers are often found in towns and cities, with large amounts of people enjoying their songs. Although they will usually have some sort of hat or pot to collect money, it is seen as a shared enjoyment of music, rather than a money making scheme. If you have enjoyed a particular song or think the buskers are especially talented, why not show you appreciation with a euro or two?
Listening to Live Music in FranceIn addition to the local cars and cafes, you are never far from some live music in France. Most towns will have at least one venue playing a range of music, from traditional French music to a local rock group. You may find that certain bars have a reputation for a particular type of music, so it is worth your while looking at the posters of upcoming events to see if there is anything that takes your fancy. The names are usually a giveaway - if tonight's band is called Electro Death, don't go if you only like classical music.
Playing Live Music in FranceThe international language of music can be enjoyed regardless of how good your French is. Joining a local band or music class is a great way to meet like-minded people and expand your social life. Music shops in your nearest town or city are a good place to start - there is usually a notice board with adverts looking for fellow musicians and advertising gigs and concerts.
If you already have a suitable set together and your own PA, you may be able to make some extra money by playing at local cafes and bars. Make sure you are legally allowed to work in France before doing this. As music is so respected in France, you may not have to try so hard to find a place that you are paid (in money, food or wine) for an evening as you may in the UK.
You will find that most bars like a relatively predictable set of Beatles, the Kinks and Oasis type songs, but as a Brit abroad you will add a certain authenticity that may help increase your tips!
Learning Music in FranceThere are a number of one to one classes available for a range of instruments, whether you are aiming to learn the traditional French accordion or to fulfil your dream of playing 'Stairway to Heaven' on an electric guitar. There is usually some sort of music school in the larger French towns, so you can go along and see what there is available.
The English language newspapers that are available in France and expat website forums are a good place to find musical tuition.