Le Comptoir Général – Paris, France - Atlas Obscura
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Paris, France

Le Comptoir Général

This Paris art space celebrates the creativity and ingenuity that springs from abject poverty, especially in Africa. 

Hidden down a Parisian alleyway, Le Comptoir Général is an eclectic art space during daylight hours and a restaurant/bar after dark, all the while reveling in the creative output of marginalized peoples, particularly from Africa.

Hosting everything from gallery exhibitions to film screenings to theatrical exhibitions and much more, the eclectic space is almost an art project in and of itself. There is a certain playfulness to the shaggy dog space with sections bearing strange names such as Le Cabinet de Sorcellerie (The Witchcraft Cabinet) or Le Centre des Objets Perdu (The Centre for Lost Property). Each of the displays are meant to evoke a thematically African sense of culture, via artifacts and everyday objects from African countries. In addition to the various stations of art by the impoverished the space features tropical smoking area that essentially holds a small jungle, dividing the two main rooms of the space. 

Once the active art is over, the space becomes a bar and restaurant that caters to the young and hip of Paris. Elite partyers may seem like a strange audience for work from creators who could probably not afford a drink in the place, but Le Comptoir Général is routinely packed out for both its arty events and its party nights.