City Guide: Paris With Asio (aka R-Play)

Words and photos by Asio (aka R-Play)
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The weekend has unfortunately come to a close, but that doesn't stop our wanderlust. That being said, it's time to gear up for a new edition of our on-going city guide series. This time, we are joined by Paris-native Asio (aka R-Play) who's seen support from the likes of Richie Hawtin, Adam Beyer, and countless others. His recent release on Sous Music, which you can grab here, further cements his presence as an in-demand producer. Below, he takes us a tour of the city of light/love, providing his local-only knowledge. 

Words and photos by Asio

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We all like a good drink, so where are the top spots to head to before a night out?

Paris is the city of bars and cafes. You just have to go down any of the streets in any area and you’ll find a huge selection to choose from. I’d say just to make your own choice, you have bars with all different food, drinks, and vibes. Personally, I like to get some drinks with friends at Chez Jeannette which is in the 10th district, a typical kind of brasserie you find here. I also like to chill at the terrace at L’appartement again in the same district – there is a crazy view of the Gate of St Denis, a monument from the middle ages. So it's worth going for that alone. I also can recommend Bistrot Cezanne, in the 9th district where my friend Ben serves the best pastis glasses, and you can also buy tobacco until late into the night, which we all appreciate here.

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Where can you find the best clubs / late-night venues in town?

If you have never been to Paris before, then you should probably go and see REX Club. It as the main reference point for years in the city for nightlife. However, in the last 5 years so many huge venues have been opening including Café Barge (mainly for after-parties), NF34 and Dehors Brut (the new concrete). We have really nice new collectives also like Drome, Ground Effect, Unplug, Bloom and some massive festivals like Marvellous Island, Weather Festival and Mama. The scene is always evolving thats for sure.

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Brunches are a weekend staple, which spots stand out to you?

Marché des Enfants Rouges in the 3rd district is one of my favorites. It has a great terrace, ambiance and you’ll find a varied menu there too. I highly recommend the creole shack. Also in the 3rd district close to Carreau du Temple, there is Café Creme – where if I am being honest, I always order the same thing – the Burger Muffin! It's delicious.

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If you are looking for a typical UK style brunch in Paris, then you have to go to Holybelly 5, just close to Pancake Sisters which is another one to recommend. Both of these are in the 10th district and probably have the craziest pancakes, eggs, and bacon in the city.

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For something exotic, go to Zerda Cafe in the 10th district. It’s a typical North African restaurant, their couscous is amazing, as well as the Durum a Kurdish – a family-run restaurant, I love it.

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Best dirty late-night street food option?

Hahaha, that's probably the worst creperie just close to Rex club, it's open till late in the morning. All dancers and DJs to all go there to get a quick food break. It's funny because you get to see the joy on everyone's faces when eating a crepe after hours on the dancefloor, however, it's like eating with your gums and all a bit weird. I tried it myself many years ago, so I have first-hand experience!

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Where can we shop for records and music memorabilia in Paris?

Techno Import is for sure the best record shop in Paris, which is in the 11th District. It is owned by Mazen, a really nice guy and also a well-known trance and progressive DJ in the city. I have to spend a lot of time in this shop! You can also take a look at Ground Zero (10th district) and Toolbox Records (11th District).

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Your Sunday escape plan when you need to get away from it all?

Ohhh for the spring and summer months head to Parc de Vincennes or Parc des Brutes Chaumonts – both are beautiful, quiet and easily accessible by metro. If you are in Paris during the winter months, then I usually go to Comptoir General, an old 19th-century factory which has been changed into a timeless place, a haven of escapism and renovated with complete meticulousness and passion. It's inspiring, relaxing and I love going there – it makes me feel like I am on vacation.

Something everyone should do when visiting Paris, but probably hasn’t?

Wow, this is a good but tough question. Paris is a historical city, so I feel you still need to go and see those well-known attractions as they are part of our history and so beautiful. The top for me is Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre – classic but all amazing. If you want to look for some hidden spots, then go for a ride to Canal St Martin and feel the vibe of the place. It's inspired by the charm and romance of the canal and many artists have lived in this area and still do today, taking in the inspiration.

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For a cultural escape, go to Atelier Des Lumieres (11th district) which shows amazing videos (like animation) from artists including Van Gogh. Centquarte-Paris is located in the 9th district and wow, this is the place to come for Hip Hop, Electro dance exhibitions, concerts and visual displays, artistic photo galleries, sculptures, kids entertainment, and circus acts – it has it all! It's such a unique artistic collective platform you must experiences with friends and family.

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A track that reminds you of your childhood in the city? (If not originally from this city, a song that reminds you of when you first moved here)

I guess that would have to be Laurent Garnier, Shazz and Ludovic Navarre – ‘Acid Eiffel’ which was released back in 1993. I personally love this track because I first heard it in about 1997 when I started to come to Paris city center for the parties, and it would always be on the radio in the taxi on the way back home. The first time it came on, we were driving over the Seine river, and the sky was pink, the sun rising up over the city and it was just magical! At that time, a voice inside me just connected with Paris and told me to stay….so here I am!

What are other great exports that come from Paris?

Paris as everyone knows is the city of fashion. There are loads of pop-up markets and more in the city which offer some things with that ‘French touch’ so you can go bargain hunting and find some amazing vintage clothes and accessories.

A gift you can’t leave Paris without taking home for friends?

A (made in China) Eiffel Tower in a Snowball, hehehe ;)

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