Since March 10, and after almost three years of closure, Tango lovers can once again tread the wooden dancefloor of the legendary gay nightclub in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris. The successive confinements, then the announcement of the establishment's sale, at the beginning of 2021, almost got the better of the "chill box". It was counting without the support of the City of Paris, which bought the building for 6.7 million euros in order to save one of the oldest dance halls in the Marais. Apart from a renovated bar, regulars will find a room "in its own juice, with its old benches", slips Hervé Latapie, historical tenant of Tango, "very moved" by the reopening of the discotheque.
To all the sauces
11-13 rue au Maire is one of those places that has known a thousand lives. First a cabaret in 1725, a barricade was erected there during the 1848 revolution. At the end of the 19th century, the room became the headquarters of La Cabrette, a corporate union of Auvergne musicians, before being transformed into a ball. musette, in 1896. Meetings of antique dealers, cemetery caretakers and other lamplighters continue to be held there regularly. It was in the inter-war period that this festive and popular place experienced its golden age. In the 1980s, the king of the Parisian night Serge Kruger will transform the Tango into a discotheque where the public, now mostly Latin and West Indian, comes to slum during salsa and African evenings.
When, at the age of 63, Hervé Latapie took over the establishment in 1997, this LGBT activist, then a professor of economics and social sciences, reconnected with the history of the place: "I wanted to do a gay bagpipe ball and rediscover the spirit popular ball in the French style. » A great accordion lover, he abhors techno music and puts ballroom dancing in the spotlight in the first part of the evening… before giving way, as the night progresses, to a more eclectic playlist, « with hits from all eras. A "quirky" club, falsely cheesy, Hervé Latapie's Tango welcomes everyone: gays, lesbians and heterosexuals. "Night is important," he says. People let go, forget each other, confide in each other... it's out of time. »
At the mercy of the lessor
In addition to the crazy weekend evenings, this new Tango will host "associative parties and weekday events", specifies Hervé Latapie. These debates, shows and tea dances "for early risers" are made possible by the resumption of operations in the form of an associative collective: "We are now free to do what we want without being accountable to an owner. . The only downside: the showdown with the landlord, who plans to transform the upper floors of the building into social housing. The Tango should therefore temporarily close its doors at the end of 2024 for renovation, leaving Hervé Latapie a few months to "convince the Town Hall that there are alternatives so that this building is not completely transformed".