21 juuni 2010

Comic Shops in Paris - 2010 overview

March 2015 - this is by far the most popular post in my blog. I'm sorry to say that I still haven't finished the updated version of this list - there are many more comic book shops in Paris than I have mentioned here (or visited), so it is getting long and complicated. I just need to edit everything down, as the point of this posting is not to be complete list, but just to help to find the best places.

Any tourist has only limited time, so, for now I'd say - if you are interested about comics, visit Super Heros (near Pompidou), Album shops (on both sides of the intersection), FNAC (in Forum des Halles) and you will probably find everything you need. And, when near Bastille, then Opera BD and BDNet.

January 2014 - I'm working on Estonian version of the updated list now, I'll update both versions in February 2014. But I think the info here is mostly up to date.

This is an overview of comic book shops in central Paris, written and photographed by me and based on my own subjective experiences there. This is the English version, Estonian original is here.

There are many comic books or Bande Dessinées published in France any given week. Most of them are originals, some translated from English or Japanese, many of them on much better paper stock and binding than in original version.

Some numbers - in 2009 there were 4863 different comic albums published in France, 3599 of them first editions. It makes 10 new books every day!

It's not an easy task to keep track what's happening, and, when in France, to find the books one likes. Selection is massive, it makes sense to make notes and some kind of pre-selection before the trip and to keep cool head when first time in front of all the shelves and stands, filled with all the hardcovers, one cooler than another.

***
But first: Paris is a very logical city. Districts, or Arrondissements of Paris are arranged like a spiral. Two last numbers in postal code show the arrondissement, so 75005 is in #5. Eiffel Tower is in 15, Louvre in 1, Centre Pompidou in 4, Panthéon in 5.

***
If I must recommend comic shops in central Paris, then the first choices are actually relatively simple and not exactly comic book shops - FNAC and Virgin Megastore.

Really, it is the best to start from the big mainstream bookshops, as they are easy to find and comic sections there are usually pretty impressive.

FNAC

Forum des Halles

FNAC is a chain of supermarkets all over the France and in some other countries. All of them are not bookshops, for example the one on Champs-Élysée is selling music, films and games. One of the biggest bookshops I know (and it's also the one easiest to find) is in Forum des Halles shopping centre, not far from Pompidou museum and church St-Eustache. The house itself with it's inner yard below the surrounding ground is interesting, also FNAC's BD selection is quite substantial. Another FNAC with books and comics is in the massive shopping centre near the big square arc in La Défense.

La Défense

Virgin Megastore

Virgin Megastore entrance in Louvre

Another quick recommendation is Virgin Megastore. One of them - Virgin Louvre - lies in Carrousel du Louvre, in underground shopping street below the museum. Entrance is right near the upside down glass pyramide. It's easy to find and visit, all the prominent new albums are there, as also other books, DVDs, music and various stationery stuff.

On Champs-Élysée, near the Franklin D. Roosevelt metro station is another Virgin - Virgin Champs-Élysée. This one is a real megastore, comics section there is really massive. The people working there are writing recommendation notes to the covers of the best books, so it is possible to discover some new and interesting stuff. Really nice place, every tourist will walk past of it anyway.

Virgins' big plus is that they are open longer than museums. Virgin Louvre is open until 8 (Mon, Tue) or 9; Virgin Champs-Élysée until midnight.

If those giants are not enough, there are many specialist comic shops, selling books but also all the other merchandise from t-shirts and mugs to toys and statues.

Album

As much as I know, the biggest comic book shop chain in France is Album. They have many shops around the country, I've been in Nice and it's as nice as the Parisian ones. Shops are big and there is everything comic releated to be found from BD albums and imported US pamphlets to artbooks and toys.

Two main Albums are located on the crossing of boulevard Saint Germain and boulevard Saint Jacques. Who's already around Latin Quarter and fountain St-Michel, will find them easily. One of them - Album Comics - sells American stuff, all the new Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and indie books, but also the most important French releases. Shop's windows are covered with statues, busts and vinyl toys. There's also very good artbook section, with all the making-of movie books, sketchbooks, artist artbooks and US and Asian picture books. Artbooks in general tend to be heavy and imported ones are not cheap, so it's possibly the best idea just to browse and remember all the cool stuff. And then to go home and get them from the net, without the need to drag them around the airports and planes. (From the shop's viewpoint it's not a nice thing to say, I know... Sorry!...)

Address:
67, Boulevard Saint-Germain 75005 PARIS

Another big Album shop is directly on the other side of the crossing, this one sells French BD albums. Right near the door there are stands with new albums, older albums are on the basement level. This is important not to miss, as on the ground level there are only the just published books, plus manga and merchandise sections. Most of the stuff is down there, including some nice shelves with sketch- and artbooks. Album chain is also publishing their own free promo magazine.
Albums are open until 8, on Sunday until 7.

Address:
84, Boulevard Saint-Germain 75005 PARIS

Rue Dante

Poster for Rue Dante comic book night

Right there starts the main comic book street in Paris - Rue Dante. There are several smaller shops, one next to another, including a couple of them with blue Album signs. As much as I know, one of them is the original first Album. Some of the shops are specialized on manga, Aaapoum Bapoum (more about them later) sells also cheap secondhand books.

Editions Déesse


Who is interested about American superheroes, should visit Editions Déesse. This shop is also in Latin Quarter, quite near where the tourist ships are boarding behind the Notre-Dame. Shop is small and really superhero-centric. But, what is special there - they have published several high quality USA artist portfolios. I haven't seen similar ones from their homeland - like Travis Charest's Captain America portfolio. But, as for regular American comic book releases, Europe is not the best place to buy them - they are much cheaper in US-based Internet shops.

Address:
8, rue Cochin 75005 Paris

Super Heros

The wall with fresco by Tardi

The name is misleading, as this shop is nothing about superheroes, instead it's one of the best comic shops I've been. It's not that big - like many shops in Paris it's narrow and deep - but it's filled with books. I think all the important releases are there, but it looks like this shop has a little bit more sophisticated taste. The selection has not only the hit releases, but also books from smaller publishers, some of them look like self published stuff.

The speciality of Super Heros are the books with ex libris - small signed and numbered prints glued to inside cover. It is probably the easiest way to get signed BD albums, and the best thing there is - they are like additional gifts from the shop, so the books with and without ex libris cost the same!

But I must warn - the sign "Ex-libris offert" on the book means that it is physically not yet ready and buyer of the book will receive it on later date. Of course, if you're a tourist with limited time in Paris, it's hard to organize... The same with all the signing sessions, but it makes sense to check the homepage - maybe there is something happening on the right day. The same with all the other shops and signings.

Super Heros is really close to the Centre Pompidou, on the left side of the street, directly to the left from the square in front of the museum.
Address:
175, rue Saint Martin 75003 Paris

BDNET.com

One of the surprises form me was BDnet.com, as it was right around the corner from our rental apartement, really close to the Place de la Bastille, on rue de Charonne. Nice shop with two rooms, with, as it seemed, daily changing selection. As the name gives away, it's also internet shop; with it's big and competent selection it is a valid alternative to all the Amazons and Alapages. I like to visit their homepage just to see what new books are out this week. For example, here's their comic book chart of the moment. Actually, there are two shops, other one is near the Place Nation.

Addresses:
Librairie Bdnet - 26, rue de Charonne 75011 Paris
Librairie Nation - 36, Bd de Charonne 75020 Paris

OperaBD

Near the Bastille square is another BD shop, small but cozy and with good selection - Opera B.D. Open seven days a week, from 11 to midnight. I've got several books there I didn't find anywhere else. Also, this shop's website is one of the best places to get an overview of new French albums.

Address:
2, rue des Tournelles 75004 Paris,
Metro: Bastille, exit r. St Antoine.


Un Regard Moderne

This bookshop is a real cultural phenomenon. I'd recommend to google it, to see what it's all about. It is filled from floor to ceiling with comics, manga, artbooks, erotica and all kinds of obscure releases, so there's only room for 2-4 customers at time. The doorway was so scary that I didn't dare to slip inside...


Address:
10 Rue Gît le Coeur 75006, Paris

Aaapoum Papoum

This shop is also close to Latin Quarter. (Smaller one is on Rue Dante.) Aaapoum Bapoum is different from the other BD shops I know. Selection is big and there's enough room to move around and to browse, but the emphasis here is on older books. Some of the books are obviously second hand, but it looks like there are also some leftovers directly from publishers. There are also new books, some of them expensive special editions. This is the only place I know one could find books or magazines for just a couple of euros.

Aadress:
14, rue Serpente 75006 Paris
8, rue Dante 75005 Paris

Librairie Boulinier

One can find comics and manga in every bigger bookshop in Paris, even BHV's book department has pretty decent comic section. Boulinier, a shop in the neighbourhood of the big Albums, is not only book and music shop, it has also quite massive comic section with vintage looking tables and shelves filled from floor to ceiling with BDs.

Address:
20, boulevard Saint Michel 75006 Paris

***
But still - sometimes it is easier to buy online. Some books are impossible to find, sometimes the only copy there is pretty tattered. Shipping from French interent shops is uniformly expensive, but the process is simple and for the people in other EU countries it's also hassle fee. Of course, one can't browse in Amazon.fr, alapage or BDnet, so to find something new and intriquing stuff is not easy, but shopping is actualy faster than in real time and in real shops. But, what will happen' when the parcel is on it's way... will it arrive intact?... Usually it is. Usually.

Rue Keller

Paris is the same as the other places in the world, as the shops there are not necessarily eternal.

Like on Rue Keller - there were and still are several comic book and manga shops, but some I visited year ot two ago are now gone or replaced. Like Myth & Magic, a pretty cool artbook shop. Or another manga shop...


***
So, that was my longish overview of BD and comic shops in central Paris, based on my own experiences and trips there. I hope this overview can be of help. All comments are welcome!

17 kommentaari:

mister X ütles ...

Ochenpoleznaya teavet! (Ta võtab teadmiseks).
Kõik sama, kui ma kunagi lähen Paris on lihtsalt valik kauplustes ja ma lähen. Tänu Ivar!

Ivar ütles ...

Hi, you're welcome! :) I'm glad if this list can help someone else beside me. Why I wrote it - for some reason I haven't found similar list from the net, but it looked to me that there should be one. And now there is! :)

Sally ütles ...

Thank you very much for this! I'm stopping there for a couple of days and was wondering how to find things like small press or second-hand - this is really helpful. Thanks for sharing it ^_^

Ivar ütles ...

You're welcome! I'd love to know if it actually was of any help...
:-)

For small press books go to Super Heros, I think you'll find something there.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I am in Paris right now and your guide is very helpful. So far, Album and Boulinier are my favorites for BD. Heading to Super Heroes tomorrow.

Ivar ütles ...

Cool! It'll be interesting to hear did you find something in the shops...

Sally ütles ...

I'm back from Paris, and just wanted to say thanks again, as this was so helpful! In the end I didn't make it to Super Heroes or Un Regarde Moderne, which looked like the most interesting two, as it was an anniversary trip, so I didn't want to spend the whole time dragging my poor husband around comic shops!
So generally I stuck to ones near where we were going, and managed to spend a couple of hours around Rue Dante, which was great! I also found Boulinier by happy accident.

My favourite of the ones I saw was probably Boulinier - they had several clearance boxes out front of albums for 3 euros, and a shelf of manga for 1 euro or 50 cents.

I've linked to this post on my blog, since it was so helpful to me: http://www.sallyjanethompson.co.uk/blog/2010/12/14/paris-and-comics/

Thanks again!

Ivar ütles ...

I'm glad my little guide could help you!

You got some interesting books there, it's impossible to get back from France without any, I know... :-) At the moment it looks to me that French BD's are much-much more diverse and interesting than American comics. And they have some very good children book illustrators too.

Domenica Di Piazza ütles ...

Great blog entry! I'm going to Paris on Thursday and will be using your little guide to help me track down the Adele Blanc-Sec BD while I'm there. Thank you!

daydream fool ütles ...

I love this article, I'm going to print it and take it with me to Paris the day after tomorrow!

Ivar ütles ...

I hope to be back in Paris in 40 days! :-) Who knows, maybe I need to make some updates afterwards...

alex orzeck-byrnes ütles ...

this was incredibly useful, thank you! i found Aaapoum Bapoum especially delightful.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Thanks loads for all the info, will be going to Paris in Oct and didn't know where to begin looking for the comic shops.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Thanks so much for this list. Checked out the places around Rue Dante (near our hotel) and this list was a huge help. Aapoum Bapoum in particular was great.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Hello everyone, here is a french blog speaking about Paris Book Shops and events. You can find some more interesting adresses.

http://www.bdkult.com/

ChrisM ütles ...

Sadly, Pulps art book shop is now closed.. (as of Oct-November 2013)

Ivar ütles ...

Yes, I know that Pulp's Art is no more. :-(

Sorry for no decent updates for some time now. Actually, I started working on a new version of this post long time ago, but it's still work-in-progress. And - at the moment it just makes sense to wait for my next trip to Paris. So, I hope to update this post in February 2014. Thanks for reading!