ON RUE JEAN-PIERRE TIMBAUD – THE SAME STREET AS THE HOOD – YOU’LL FIND L’ALIMENTATION GÉNÉRALE, A CLUB AND LIVE-MUSIC VENUE THAT WELCOMES MUSIC LOVERS LOOKING FOR AN ECLECTIC MASH-UP OF DJS AND LIVE PERFORMANCES. L’ALIMENTATION GÉNÉRALE, WHICH MEANS “GENERAL FOOD STORE”, IS A POPULAR SYMBOL IN FRENCH CULTURE: THESE TYPES OF SHOPS ARE OFTEN OPERATED BY IMMIGRANT FAMILIES FROM THE MAGHREB DIASPORA, WHICH IS TRUE OF SAID MESSOUS, THE FOUNDER OF THIS VENUE.
A precocious youngster, Messous opened his first bar at the age of 18. He managed Le Bar du Marché in Montreuil for years and turned it into a bona fide neighbourhood hotspot, a place where workers could mingle with artists and students. After opening several venues in Seine-Saint Denis, Messous decided to expand, and in 2005 he founded L’Alimentation Générale, with a focus on the sounds of his heritage but adding more poetry and boldness. The space quickly became a must-visit for local music lovers in need of diversity – from local rap bands to boogie and funk and even Balkan techno. The midweek clientele of chilled students and hip intellectuals promises a calm vibe as visitors perch at the scattered picnic tables to down beers and cocktails. In the background, behind a large blue kitchen counter, chefs prepare trattoria-style dishes that include pizzas, pastas and burgers. On weekends, the vintage 60s furniture is pushed aside to let the party begin. A relatively easy-going door policy and affordable entry fee mean L’Alimentation Générale fills up quickly. A waltz of floaty vintage skirts and club-kid tracksuits makes its way onto the dance floor while a DJ plays disco cuts, turning the place into a buzzing, bohemian fiesta.