Le 104 is a cultural centre that has, I think, primarily been launched to send good vibes into its slightly rough neighborhood in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. But its good vibes radiate much further than that, even down south to my distant left bank of Paris, making me travel to the other extreme of my city on an occasional Saturday evening – which is quite an effort.
The centre exhibits occasional artworks, hosts courses in street dancing (amongst many others) and has a fancy restaurant and a low key café. But the best thing is the monthly Ball Pop’, organised on Saturday evenings. This phenomenon brings together all ages – kids just old enough to dance to adults that are still able to dance. The concept is simple: a live band plays danceable French music, and a garland of coloured lights gives a campagnarde feel to the venue. The time schedule (the ball ends at 23:30) and lack of entrance fee truly make this party accessible to anyone.
When I just arrived in Paris I remember the ball felt like one of the true first immersions into French culture. Nowadays the cultural shock is less big, and the 104 seems to open up its programme even more, hosting rock ‘n roll and swing dance parties as well.
You can check the programme on the Ball Pop’ and other events here. But even on other occasions Le 104 is well worth a visit.