Chez Gégène

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Chez Gégène
162 bis Quai de Polangis, Allée des Guinguettes


Joinville-le-Pont, France
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Tel: 01 48 83 29 43
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Joinville-le-Pont, France: Twirl into Paris' past on a guinguette riverboat

Chez Gégène

The banks of the Marne, just east of Paris, have hosted Sunday-afternoon guinguettes—dance parties, with much sipping of pinard and twirling to la java; usually involving one or multiple accordions—since the very beginning of the 20th century. (Liquor taxes were cheaper outside the city.)

Chez Gégène started out here when a man who called himself Rossignol moored a péniche in Joinville-le-Pont, and it's still going today (literally: the Bastille Day festivities kicked off last night).

It's a bar, a restaurant (duck magret aux trois poivres, pheasant with wild mushrooms), but most of all, it's a dance hall, with live bands well-versed in retro tunes, or DJs spinning material you'll only find on 33 (or 78).

And Chez Gégène has its regulars: Couples in their Sunday best (slicked hair, Mary Janes) who remember the parties' last-century heyday are joined by the twentysomethings who've boosted the recent guinguette revival in Paris and beyond.

Parties take place every weekend and on holidays; the dancing starts after the boat leaves, so be sure to call ahead for the schedule. The season lasts from April to December, when Gégène closes for the winter.

Photo: histoire-immigration.fr; chez-gegene.fr

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