The Vinyl Tourist Visits Paris
Ten days was hardly enough time for the Vinyl Tourist to explore Paris, the capital of France and the heart of its culture. As a consequence, this list is somewhat incomplete, but it should give the visitor a good place to start. Because this is a city of boulevards and avenues which radiate in ever widening circles from the Île de la Cité, it is essential to have a complete street guide for accurate navigation. The Paris Plan N o 11 published by Michelin is the Vinyl Tourist's personal choice. Le métro (subway) is the most efficiant way to cover any distance and, because the city is relatively small (by American standards), walking is easy and educational, too. Want to make your stay more enjoyable? Purchase an insider's guide, such as Paris Inside Out published by the American University or the latest Rough Guide, and leave the Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts at home. This is the most sophisticated city in the world and you will gain the respect of all Parisians if you dress as they do and make an effort to respect their customs. The reputation of French for disliking foreigners is untrue--unless you act like one.
The easiest way for non-European visitors to convert cash into euros at the most favorable rate is to use an ATM (automatic teller machine). Just remember that your receipt will be denominated in € and you'll have to check your bank statement upon your return for the exact amount you withdrew. Of course, there's always the carte de credit. For the latest exchange rate, visit the Universal Currency Converter.
A note on French LP pressings: Most of the records (and CD's) you find in Paris will, naturally enough, be manufactured in France. These tend to be produced in smaller quantities and with greater care than the typical American record or CD. In fact, these pressings are often superior to their US counterpart and one should not be shy about purchasing the French product whenever there is a choice. If your interests are classical, scoop up those Pathé Marconi EMIs. Many are as good as the best "Shaded Dogs."
Also, if you're in the habit of checking the Yellow Pages for shops to explore, be aware that France long ago dispensed with the telephone book as we know it. Instead they employ the Minitel, a national computer network which serves many purposes, including directory assistance. If there's no Minitel where you're staying, visit the nearest branch of La Poste (the post office) where public terminals are available to serve. Thanks to the Internet, you can also find the France Telecom Directories online. For an unabridged list of music stores in Paris, visit the Pages Jaunes and enter the phrase RECORDS RETAILERS as the "BUSINESS TYPE" box, Paris as the "TOWN", and click "Search." If you're looking for vinyl, the operative phrase is "Les Disques 33 tours."
To help you get around, you will find the number of the arrondissement (district) and the nearest Métro [Mo] station following the name and address of each location.
In need of a local map? Try Google Maps. Yes, it works in Paris!
Finally, if you haven't already done so, please read the Vinyl Tourist's Caveat.
20, bd St-Michel
Telephone: (+33) 43 26 90 57
Mo St-Michel or Cluny-La Sorbonne
Boulinier is a multi-storied shop which carries everything from comics to posters to video games, as well as recordings in all formats. There are a wide variety of used LP's (jazz, pop, classical, and rock) typically priced at 25F each. At 50F - 60F, used CD's are about half the price of new.
- Pont Neuf
Quai de Louvre (Rivre droit/Right bank)
Quai de Conti (Rivre gauche/Left bank)
On both sides of the River Seine, just west of the Pont Neuf, are stalls which resemble newsstands, but which feature souvenirs and vintage collectibles, including LP's. The selection leans towards 1960's pop, rock and blues. Here I spotted some original Chess pressings by Bo Diddley, among others, for 200F, about what you would expect to pay in the US. Offer 100F, expect to pay 150F.
Unfortunately, my visit was too short to be as thorough as I usually prefer it to be. However, the following shops were either recommended by other record collectors or their Yellow Pages listing suggests that they stock vinyl (arranged geographically by arrondissement):
- Monster Mélodies
9, rue Déchargeurs
Telephone: (+33) 40 28 09 39
Specializing in 1960s and 70s New Wave, hard rock, and jazz for collectors.
47, r St Honoré
Telephone: (+33) 42 33 62 70
Features British and American imports.
1, rue Marivaux
Telephone: (+33) 42 96 56 54
Specializes in opera.
- Analog Collector
13, Rue Charles V
Telephone: (+33) 42 21 08 38
Specializes in vintage classical and jazz LPs.
- Oldies But Goodies
7, rue Filles du Calvaire
Telephone: (+33) 48 87 14 37
Mo Filles du Calvaire
Reported to be a very good address for country, Rockabilly, and rock 'n' roll.
42, rue des Ecoles
Telephone: (+33) 01 43 54 47 95
Mo Maubert Mutualité
Pop, Rock, Français, Hard, Punk, New-Wave, Electro, Musiques de film
64, rue de la Montagne-Ste-Geneviève
Telephone: (+33) 01 46 34 78 38
Mo Maubert Mutualité
Jazz, Bop, Bebop, Free Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Country, Crooners, Musique Contemporaine
- La Dame Blanche
47, rue Montagne Ste Geneviève
Telephone: (+33) 43 54 54 45
Mo Maubert Mutualité
Specialties include classical, jazz, and avant garde music.
- Paris Jazz Corner
5, rue Navarre
Telephone: (+33) 43 36 78 92
Mo Place Monge
- Jazz Ensuite [Lutèce Jazz]
Telephone: (+33) 43 37 61 80
7, rue Navarre
Mo Place Monge
- Moby Disques
28, rue Monge
Telephone: (+33) 43 29 70 51
Mo Cardinal Lemoine
A fellow collector reports that Moby Disques has "an outstanding jazz selection in their little SRO space." They specialize in Japanese imports, as well. Update, March 2012: It's not clear if this store is still in business.
- Plus de Bruit
35, rue La Rochefoucauld
Telephone: (+33) 49 70 08 70
Mo Saint-Georges or Pigalle
- Bellot Records Three
4, pass Montgallet
Telehone: (+33) 44 75 87 40
World music. Update, March 2012: It's not clear if this store is still in business.
- La Compagnie du Disque
2, rue Maublanc
Telephone: (+33) 48 28 50 40
Classical and popular music. It's not clear if the shop still exists or if sales are limited to online orders.
- Marchés aux Puces (Flea Markets):
The flea markets of Porte de Clignancourt and Porte de Vanves, at opposite ends of the city, offer a myriad of booths and stalls which feature everything under the sun, including collectible records. Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday only. Bargaining is expected; offer 50%, expect to pay 75% of the asking price. Beware of pickpockets!
- St-Ouen/Porte de Clignancourt
Mo Porte de Clignancourt
- Porte de Vanves
ave Georges-Lafenestre/ave Marc-Sangnier
Mo Porte de Vanves
Last Update: March, 2012