A scaled-down, friendlier Tottenham Court Road, Paris’s Rue Montgallet is the go-to place for anyone looking to buy anything electronic. The street, tucked discreetly behing the Gare de Lyon, stakes its reputation on a string of specialist stores that deal in everything from cameras and hard drives to replacement doo-dahs for yesteryear's computers. Prices are generally more reasonable than at the big high-street brands, though you'll be hard-pressed to find the tidy all-in-one package deals that the likes of Apple offer. The Rue Montgallet comes into its own if you're looking to customise your hardware, or even to have a computer custom-built from scratch – if you're in need of guidance, the knowledgeable staff will oblige. One caveat: the warranties sold here generally last for only one year, rather than the usual three.
There's oodles of vintage to be found in Paris, but the really savvy will plan their shopping sprees around these dépôts-vente and ressourceries. Dépôts-vente are second-hand stores where you can drop off your good, high-quality old clothes and, once some else buys them, recoup a percentage of the profit. Ressourceries are semi-permanent car boot sales where you can pick up everything from clothes to furniture and household items. At these shops, bargain-hunting is cheaper and more fun. Dépôts-vente Madame de Madame de… takes its name from the 1951 Max Ophüls film, in which the Parisian heroine is forced to pawn her beloved diamond earrings, causing all kinds of trouble. Nothing so dark here, just a delightful second hand shop where owner Armelle Franz reassures her customers that ‘I make it a point of honour only to select pieces that are like new’. And indeed, leather bags glow and there are no loose threads on the knitwear... Chine Machine Orchestrated by Martine, originally a New Yorker, the Chine Machine boutique is wonderfully eccentric: old mannequins with blue lipstick, old television sets, framed photographs of stars from way back when, all set against new wave background music. But if the walls are hung with tunics made entirely of bells and knee-high boots with gilded fringes, the racks offer items suitable for any wardrobe... Sissi's Corner This dépôt-vente with its hot pink shop front in the rue des Tournelles has been around for 30 years. Renamed five years ago
Ten addresses to set you spinning La Source La Source, the brainchild of Xavier Ehrestmann (of My Electro Kitchen fame), is one of a select few Parisian record shops entirely dedicated to electro and dance music. All manner of labels are represented here – you're as likely to find an obscure British dubstep EP from 2006 as the latest Chicago house or French electro releases; you need only spot the many DJs among the shop's clientele to understand that rarity and variety... Fargo Store Fargo, with its wooden windows and neon lights, wouldn’t look out of place in San Francisco. It’s got a USA feel inside too (despites being a stone’s throw from the Canal Saint-Martin), with collections that cover ‘country’ music and all its forms (rock, pop, folk and new-wave). The shop’s only been around since 2010, but it’s got good connections... Souffle Continu 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... Born Bad 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 h
Five collectable addresses Lulu Berlu Get ready to travel back in time to a land where all your childhood heroes live on, including Astroboy, Goldorak, the Knights of the Zodiac, all the characters of 'Dragon Ball Z', the Gremlins and GI Joe. From cartoons to TV series, they're all here, including plenty you had forgotten existed. 60 years’ worth of figurines and toys are gathered in this paradise for collectors... Manga Story A manga haven on the Boulevard Voltaire, well known for its retro video games stores. In addition to the all the expected staples of the genre, Manga Story also offers DVDs (both individual and box-sets) of Japanese cartoons. The shelves are literally heaving with Japanese animation series, for long before the invasion of manga in France and the arrival of Dora the Explorer... Little Tokyo With a rose-coloured shop front and a window decorated with 'kawaii' soft toys, at Little Tokyo the Land of the Rising Sun is taken seriously. Every square inch of floor space in this tiny shop in the Latin Quarter, opened in 2008, is dedicated to Japanese culture and manga. Bursting with DVDs, stuffed animals and figurines... Album Proud denizens of the Boulevard Saint-Germain for more than 20 years, the three ‘Album’ shops reign supreme on the Parisian comic scene. Under the watchful eye of the vendors who dispense both advice and anecdotes, this is a comic-lover's paradise, with titles for children and adults (Marvel, DC comics, TPB Vertigo), and whole shelves dedi
10 boutiques to leaf through Le Monte-en-l'air Only in Paris, with its world famous literary past, could you call a bookshop a ‘triptych’. But that’s exactly what Guillaume Dumora’s shop is – a hybrid, triple-purpose space with a “curiosity shop” for atypical and disturbing novels, a “gallery” where different paintings and photos are hung every 3 weeks, and the main “librairie”, where you’ll find everything from graphic novels to classic literature and modern poetry... Le Coupe-Papier 'You can count the bookshops dedicated to theatre in Paris on one amputated hand', the shop owner remarks wryly. The Coupe-Papier bookshop is one of the few surviving ones. Tucked away in the rue de l’Odéon opposite the illustrious theatre of the same name, this specialist in the stage arts is the haunt of students and amateur actors taking acting courses in the vicinity, as well as a site of pilgrimage for professionals... Violette & Co Encompassing more than 80m2 of floorspace, Violette and Co doesn’t sell books for the sheer pleasure of reading, but for a more militant purpose: all the works on offer promote causes to do with women and homosexuality. There are books about rape (including 'Rape as a weapon of war' by Vanessa Fargnoli), on homophobia ('Letter to a straight friend’ by Paula Dumont), on adoption, religion, gender relations and even deportation... Gibert Joseph Formed back in 1929, this string of bookshops is normally packed out with students. Further up bd St-Michel (nos.30, 32 &