Since 2007, the world has celebrated Record Store Day, a way to honor and raise awareness for those beautiful little music stores selling vinyl and CDs. Though the celebration began in the United States, it is held all over the world every third Saturday in April. Sure enough, vinyl shops new and old selling music in Paris will be taking part in the fête, with special deals and free concerts all over town on Disquaire Day, which is April 20. Here’s where to go and what to see.
This year’s official ambassador is Jack White of the White Stripes, who will be reissuing its album Elephant in a special 10th anniversary LP, with the band’s distinctive colors of red and black on one side of the record and white on the other. Though he won’t be in Paris (he isn’t Santa Claus, after all, hopping from Record Store Day to Record Store Day all over the world), there will be plenty of live shows and DJ sets to catch all over Paris for Disquaire Day.
Up in the 18th Arrondissement, le Mila (2, rue André Messager) will have artists playing off and on beginning at 3 p.m., including jazz ensemble Luigi Grasso Quartet and the funky, catchy pop of the Sophia Lorenians, who in my book win band name of the year. Place Sainte-Marthe in the 10th will celebrate all day with performances starting at 1:30 p.m., featuring Paris folk bands Part-Time Friends and Sauvage, who create dreamy pop-inflected tunes to enjoy on what will hopefully be a sunny day. And for late-night celebrators, noted trip-hop remixer Chinese Man will be doing a DJ set in the 11th Arrondissement at the bar l’International (5–7, rue Moret), beginning at 11 p.m.
If you just want to help support the time-honored tradition of record stores, Paris has a surprising number of disquaires, at least one in every arrondissement but clusters of many in the 9th and the 11th particularly. You’re sure to find records at places like concept store Colette (213, rue Saint-Honoré) and Rough Trade Records’s pop-up shop at Agnès B. (6, rue du Jour), both in the 1st, but I checked out a few more around town and found some new favorite haunts for my vinyl-loving ears.
Crocodisc (40–42, rue des Ecoles, in the 5th) hits you like a wall of chill vibes, feeling like you’re on an island vacation just stepping in. The place’s bright yellow walls are stacked with records specializing in Latin jazz from samba to salsa, and there are more than a few 5-euro-special crates to comb through. Just south, la Dame Blanche (47, rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève) classes up the joint with rows and rows of classical music. Here I was reminded why I love vinyl in the first place: for the soft whisper of dust noise over the sounds of a string ensemble.
Up in the 9th, Plus de Bruit (35, rue de la Rochefoucauld) offers the standard record store experience of dusty old discs for a few euros apiece in every imaginable genre, and a proprietor who knows his stuff. Around the corner, Gals Rock (17, rue Henry Monnier) is dedicated to the culture of female rockers, and is filled with not only new releases on vinyl but also fun accessories and journals made out of records. Be still my heart! Gals Rock will also be having a showcase of pixie chanteuse Maissiat beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Over in the 11th, indie disquaire Fargo (42, rue de la Folie Méricourt) will sweep you off your feet with its well-curated playlist, vast selection of genres and incredible (and incredibly beautiful) collection of concert posters for sale. For a completely different experience, hunt down Bimbo Tower (5, Passage Saint-Antoine), an unmarked shop off the beaten path specializing in dozens of genres you’ve never heard of (what is “junk noise,” I wonder?), and packed to the gills with fanzines from all over the world and—get this—one-of-a-kind mix tapes.
Whether you’re celebrating Disquaire Day in Paris or elsewhere, head out on April 20 and be sure to support this beloved but endangered species of boutique that promotes a classic mode of listening and music-loving communities all over the world.