Travel and all that jazz: 35 European city break tips from musicians

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Travel and all that jazz: 35 European city break tips from musicians

Dublin’s 12 Points Festival runs September 5-8, and we’ve asked 10 of its bands for insider tips to their cities…


The Rite of Trio
The Rite of Trio
Elliot Gavin
Julie Campiche Quartet
Susanna Risberg
Nox.3 & Linda Oláh
Mia Dyberg Trio
Kompost 3
Kjetil Mulelid Trio
Container Doxa
Steiger

The 12 Points Festival is a Dublin based festival that features the hottest new jazz sounds and related music from across Europe.

The festival (12points.ie; Sept 5-8) celebrates is twelfth birthday this year with artists visiting from Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Vienna, Porto, Ghent, London, Oslo, Geneva and Ljubljana…. so what better excuse to ask them for their insider travel tips!

Paris tips

By Nox.3 & Linda Oláh

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Nox.3 & Linda Oláh

Cirque Electrique: On top of the Parisian Peripherique at Porte de Lilas metro station, you’ll find a big circus tent with an adjacent bar kept by a crazy bunch of contemporary circus artists. Here you’ll find good ambiance at all times as well as good beer, interesting events and great music-parties organised by the Collectif Loo. See cirque-electrique.fr or collectifloo.com.

For music, try the Jazz Series at the local bar ‘Le 34’ at Rue Leon in the 18th arrondissement. Great staff, great ambiance and good music, what more can you ask for?

For food, Alain Passard’s l’Arpège, a 3-star vegetarian Michelin restaurant, is our restaurant tip. It costs a small fortune but it’s an experience for life. See alain-passard.com/en/.

Les Saveurs d’Alberto in the 19th arrondissement (10 rue Adolphe Mille) serves Cameroonian home cooked food, generous plates and favourable prices. You’ll find it on Facebook.

La Cantine Bretonne serves traditional crêpes and most importantly kouign-amann: eat this butter cake and afterwards you can die happy! See lacantinebretonne.com.

Lulu White is a small bar with great cocktails in the Pigalle area (12 Rue Frochot), where the Collectif Paris Swing organises concerts that is sure to make you reach ecstasy! See luluwhite.bar.

More:
Paris on a budget: 13 thrifty tips for your chic city break

Copenhagen tips

By the Mia Dyberg Trio

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Mia Dyberg Trio

Mandagsklubben 5e is an underground club at venue 5e in the area Kødbyen (‘Meat Town’) in Vesterbro. Every Monday night there is original, cutting-edge, high quality music from 8pm to 2am. No other club in Copenhagen has that! We have three or four different bands every Monday… See mandagsklubben.org.

Freetown Christiania is an intentional community and commune of about 850 residents in the borough of Christianshavn. It was temporarily closed to residents in April 2011 by the Danish government, but later re-opened.

Christiania has been a source of controversy since its creation in a squatted military area in 1971. Its cannabis trade was tolerated by authorities until 2004. Since then, relations between Christiania and Danish authorities have been strained. As of 2018, cannabis trade is on-going and Danish police officers are in place to stop the use or trade of other drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Take a spontaneous walk through Christiania, visit the Jazzclub (Pusherstreet 1, 1407 Christiania) and walk up the stairs behind Nemoland Café (nemoland.dk/en/) for a stroll along the lake.

Østerport Park is a gorgeous park at the other side of Østerport station. Walk through the park where you will find The National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst) which is Denmark’s largest art museum. See smk.dk.

More:
Copenhagen on the cheap: 10 top tips for thrifty eats and drinks

Vienna tips

By Kompost 3

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Kompost 3

AU (bar/club/gallery) is a little gem is located in Ottakring, Vienna’s 16th district (16. Brunnengasse 76). Not only is it a lovely bar, but also an open space for experimental and creative projects of all kinds. Expect to meet interesting people and hear or see something special.

One of the first things you might hear about when visiting Vienna is the historic giant ferris wheel in the Wurstelprater. To be honest, it’s way too expensive and also kind of boring. However, at the other end of the amusement park is the ‘Praterturm‘, a 117m swing carousel, one of the world’s highest. If you dare to sit in one of its delicate chairs, you’ll be rewarded with maybe the best view of the city and a nice adrenaline rush. It’s best when the sun is setting (prater.at).

Winter in Vienna can be quite depressing and nasty. One enjoyable way to overcome this is skating on one of the city’s ice rinks or frozen rivers while drinking hot punch. The most special place might be the Engelmann ice rink, located on a rooftop in the 17th district. And because doing things on rooftops is just cool, you can play football there when the ice has melted.

Porto tips

By The Rite of Trio

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The Rite of Trio

Pedra Nova (also known as Carlos) is a bar close to ESMAE (Porto Music and Theatre Superior School) where all the bohemian artists and art students go. It stays open throughout the night (officially until 4am) and the atmosphere is vibrant and heavy as in a pre-revolution discussion vibe or a speakeasy. Everybody knows Pedra Nova as “Carlos” – as in, let’s go to Carlos. There’s no sign on the street and they have actually the best Francesinha (Portuguese sandwich) in town.

Solilóquios / Yoga Sobreo Porto is a really special place music space. This was originally a Yoga school (yogasobreoporto.com) established on the fourth floor of a historical gorgeous building with one of the best views over Porto. Now it’s where the Solilóquios (soliloquios.org) concerts happen with a world class selection of the most exciting improvised music.

We recommend the Douro riverside walk because Porto’s relationship with the river is a very special thing. Try the riverside walk, either from Porto in the direction of the sea but specially from Porto in the direction of the mountains, as one of the most inspiring moments you can have in town. Start at the Marina do Freixo and keep walking along the river. You’ll understand.

London tips

By Elliot Galvin

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Elliot Gavin

For music; one of my favourite places to go is Cafe Oto in  Dalston (18-22 Ashwin st). It puts on brave and fascinating music – I would urge people to go any night of the week and expect the unexpected. See cafeoto.co.uk.

For Coffee, there are many places to choose from, but my favourite is Prufrock (23-25 Leather Ln; prufrocklondon.com). For an experience of what makes London London, you have to walk down Deptford High Street in South East London when the market is on. It’s every conceivable culture, all coexisting alongside and on top of each other – that’s what I love about London.

Oslo tips

By Kjetil Mulelid Trio

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Kjetil Mulelid Trio

Motvind Festival is a small, independent two-day music festival usually held in early July, hosted at Blå and Kafe Hærværk (both are excellent clubs also outside of the festival). Not only is the music very exciting and fresh, the festival also draws the attention to the social responsibilities of all festivals and organizers, for example questioning sponsorship and financial aid from corporations making a profit from unethical business. See motvindfestivalen.no.

Take the subway to the woods: Oslo is surrounded on almost every side by large forests and outdoor areas. Here you can go mountain hiking, cross country skiing, swimming or fishing depending on the season. Most parts are easily accessible by subway or bus, and from here you can choose everything from walking around a couple of hours, to long hikes lasting days.

Visit Henie Onstad Art Center: This is a very cool art gallery located just outside Oslo. You will experience Norwegian and international art, as well as curated concerts and performances. Also surrounded by a very nice outdoor area, perfect for short walks and exploration. See hok.no.

Geneva tips

By The Julie Campiche Quartet

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Julie Campiche Quartet

Les Bains des Paquis is the best value for money restaurant. It’s great place to go the all year and you can sit with your feet in the lake! It’s like a beach in summer and sauna in winter. All Geneva goes here: families, businessmen, alternative circles. See bains-des-paquis.ch.

Remor has the best ice cream in Geneva. Homemade from three generations! Find out more at remor.ch.

One of my favourite things to do is to take a boat trip with Les Mouettes. These are public transport boats. It cost only a bus ticket to take it and you can see the city from the lake! See mouettesgenevoises.ch/pw/en.

Buvette de l’îlot 13 is a great place to drink a ginger or normal beer and I Iove l’Ecurie (lecurie.ch) as an alternative place for music. Easy, simple, friendly… nice places to hang out.

Ljubljana tips

By Container Doxa

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Container Doxa

The Golovec forest is a really cool forest about ten minutes walk from the Ljubljana city centre. It’s got trees, an endless labyrinth of paths and mountain biking single trails.

Go and see the under-appreciated statue of Boris Kidrič, a Yugoslav politician who stands in a park behind the Cankarjev dom Cultural Centre. Think what you will of the former socialist regime, this statue’s got some very peculiar and funky gravitas.

Last but not least, there is burek or borek (filled pastries). Eat it between 2 and 6am. It will make your life shorter and happier.

Stockholm tips

By the Susanna Risberg Trio

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Susanna Risberg

My first recommendation is a coffee place called Espresso Sosta (Sveavägen 84). They make the best coffee in Stockholm. See sosta.se.

I would also recommend walking up on “Hammarbybacken“. It’s an artificial hill located south of Södermalm. The view is really great if you’re into views, and the hill itself looks really cool from below.

Stockholm is a very pretty city, so just walking or riding a bike all over town or checking out the architecture is a really nice thing to do while visiting.

Ghent tips

By Steiger

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Steiger

Have a drink in Blond (Edward Anseeleplein 2), a gay bar, a bit hidden just behind the Vrijdagsmarkt in the city center. The bar just opened last year, but already carries an almost cult status amongst the locals. Every month there are great concerts. Her,e you can discover the most interesting experiments of the acclaimed Ghent music scene while sipping from your Club Mate vodka, Greek Raki, or ‘pintje’, as you prefer.

Eat the famous French fries in Tartaar (address: Heilige Geestraat 3) one of the best “frietkoten” of Gent. Enjoy their famous vegetarian snacks in combination with some lovely fries, heaven…

Don’t take a tourist boat at Graslei, just rent one yourself, at the end of the Coupure, close to Bijloke site. This way you can explore the medieval city centre and the green area outside of Ghent from the water, away from the tourists.

While you’re at the rental place, stop at Kask (schoolofartsgent.be) the art school of Gent. The old hospital building and its gardens are worth a visit. This is also the same site where Gent Jazz festival is held and where you have great jazz concerts in de ‘bijloke concertzaal’ all year round.

More info:

The 12 Points Festival takes place in The Sugar Club, Dublin from September 5-8. Tickets from €59 (festival pass) or €20/18 (nightly). 12points.ie

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