The best Paris record stores for Disquaire Day
Opened in 2008, Souffle Continu quickly became one of the musical stars of the neighbourhood thanks to its owners, Bernard and Théo, a pair passionate about vinyl and obsessed with discovering the newest releases, while never forgetting the fundamentals. From jazz improv to harsh noise, from indie rock to black metal.
A dangerous place for collectors of both wine and vinyl, the Cuve à Son record store-cum-wine shop is the debut opening from Christophe Lepreux, who previously worked at record label Nocturne, FNAC and for a slew of renowned wine merchants. Going his own way this time, Lepreux’s twin interests have been ingeniously combined, as bottles of medium-range organic and natural wines (€14-€44) share shelf space with new and second-hand records across all genres (€5-€50).
For a while it was tough to find a store selling LPs in Montreuil. But that’s a thing of the past now that Amadeo, a local who’s lived in the suburb for eight years, has established Beers & Records, offering both vinyl discs and a selection of artisanal beers, because the two go so well together. Inside we found records both old and new that span a wide range from soul, funk and jazz to electronic music, rock and hip hop (prices start at €2).
Now here’s a record shop not to miss – Born Bad – a rock ‘n’ roll central with its own label that has signed excellent French rock groups like ‘Cheveu’, ‘Magnetix’ and ‘Yussuf Jerusalem’. But aside from its own bands, the shop also offers an array of cool sound, from punk and 70s rock ‘n’ roll, to blues and hardcore. There’s even a special rockabilly and 50’s section filled with the gems of days gone by.
Jean-Paul has been running Plus de Bruit for 17 years, and is an unmistakable figure in the neighbourhood – his store is always full of regulars come to see what’s new in stock since their last visit. A rare pressing of a Standells compilation, indie rock vinyl from the ’90s, French punk bands… you can spend hours rummaging for treasure in the racks, which you’ll usually end up getting for a more than reasonable price.
Like its mammalian namesake, Walrus is something of a rarity in Paris: a record shop that doubles up as a bar-cum-café. The concept is rooted in necessity: record sales just don't pay the rent nowadays. To judge by its spacious layout and gleaming fittings, Walrus seems designed with the coffee-drinking flâneur in mind; the impressive range of rock and indie LPs notwithstanding, people mostly come here to chat and chill rather than jam.
As welcoming as it is well-stocked, Music Please has been selling quality vinyl to the Belleville locals for nigh on a decade now. As with any good generalist record store, the collection runs the gamut of genres, from old-school hip hop to prog rock. Vinyl dominates, but iPod-owning Millennials are catered for with CDs and associated hardware. Running through it all is an emphasis on quality albums picked by staff, and sold at reasonable prices – as the personable owner tells us, 'This isn't an art gallery.' Quite right: Music Please is a decent, unpretentious music store, and all the better for it.
Any self-respecting Parisian or well-informed tourist will have checked out a free gig or two at L'International, linchping of the capital's rock scene. And anyone who's been there will jump at the news that the bar's owners have opened a record shop a few houses down the legendary Rue Moret. Unsurprisingly, it's a lovingly curated affair, the vast collection (both new and second-hand) taking in everything from wispy folk to heavy noise. The friendly staff will guide you through the maze with personalised recommendations, and two listening booths are on hand to help you make up your mind.
You could spend hours in Exodisc on rue du Mont Cenis, a record shop run by ex-pat Larry, whose encyclopedic knowledge of rock music has been practically unrivalled in the city for the last 30 years. Amid the rows of records and CDs you’ll find everything from the Rolling Stones and Death in Vegas to underground groups like Wooden Shjips and obscure krautrockers Cluster. Any questions about what to buy – just ask Larry (or his wife Dominique, also in the shop). They make a point of listening to their stock so that they can offer proper advice to music lovers looking for something new.
Nicolas started selling stuff online in 2004: new releases, all in genres that make neighbours hammer on the walls – doom, sludge, noise rock, death and black metal, etc. Then, tiring of hawking his wares from his sofa, he raised some capitl and opened Music Fear Satan at the end of 2010. When asked if it wasn’t a little risky in the current economic climate, he replies frankly that he never knew the golden age of records, and that he knows very well that he’s started ‘with both feet in the shit’.