Discovering Rock Venues In Europe: La Cartonnerie

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This is the first part of a series of articles detailing some of the finest rock venues in Europe

All photos: David Bronstein

La Cartonnerie roughly translated to The Cardboard in English is Reims premier music venue for up and coming bands as well as established artists whizzing their way through France on European tours. It’s well positioned in Reims and with the city only 45 minutes away from Paris by train it has now become the norm for some of the best loved rock acts to make a stop here.

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Downstairs bar at La Cartonnerie

The venue which was opened just 11 years ago strikes you immediately with its architecture. The actual building is on a pillar and rises above the ground. Inside, the venue is a welcome melting pot for regulars who are invited to bring stickers for the walls and there is even a dedicated pillar to inscribe your memories of your visit.

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‘Write Now! Fans are encouraged to scroll on this pillar

La Cartonnerie is much bigger than may be expected from an outside view where once inside there are several venues within the ‘box’ and for thirsty patrons there are many bars. In the walk in level there is a dedicated ‘chill out zone’ to relax in before the big night and there are also studios for recording. Upstairs there is a smaller venue all equipped with PA and a fine looking stage that can hold up to 350 fans. The main stage is a level up and it is here where many American and British rock bands book into. This venue can hold up to 1,200 fans. There is even a balcony level at the back. The main venues floor is how all music venues should be; the back of the venue is raised by steps meaning that even if you are not near the front you get a fantastic view.

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Main stage as seen from the band’s perspective

Backstage, there is as should be expected, a touch of French elegance where dressing rooms are decked out in typically lavish colors and antique but classy furniture. Adjacent to the dressing rooms are hot showers and further down the hall is the kitchen where band members and touring staff can help themselves to meals in a very relaxing atmosphere with modern settings. And since we are in the Champagne region every artist that plays the venue gets complimentary champagne.

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Damien Mahoudeaux, Communication, PR and Press for La Cartonnerie backstage

Some of the bands to play at La Cartonnerie are world known including Deer Hunter, Hot Chip, and Jefferson Starship. In recent weeks the venue has laid host to Machine Head, Garbage and The Dandy Warhols. Even Clint Eastwood’s son Kyle has played here when he made an appearance in May. This fall Ugly Kid Joe and The Divine Comedy are just two more acts that will be added to the thousands who have played previously.

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Dressing room for the last warm ups before show time

If you are visiting France there is a good chance most of your stay will be located in Paris, but here’s a hint if you want to see a band up close and personal in a venue that has superb acoustics, hop on a train and come visit.

You can find out more about La Cartonnerie by visiting the official website:

http://www.cartonnerie.fr/NEWSITE/