In a city of remarkable streets, the Rue de Douai distinguishes itself not with examples of architectural beauty or ingenuity nor with an abundance of restaurants and barsdu jour but by its astonishing musicality. Along this short, quiet road in the 9th arrondissement, there are no fewer than a dozen shops that sell musical instruments and equipment, and a good many of them specialize in one instrument: the guitar.
The team at Centrale Guitars MB have been passing on their love of all things guitar and bass to customers since the store opened back in 1979. One of the oldest in Paris, it has received numerous accolades from the French music industry as well as the worlds’ most recognizable guitar brands, including Fender, Gibson, and Taylor. Today, the store is in the enviable position of being the sole vendor in France of the Custom Shop Gibson. However, it is also heavily invested in developing new talent in guitar manufacturing, exemplified by its support of French LAG guitars.
The Guitare Collection boutique specializes in vintage guitars, offering a wide range of rare and limited edition instruments. The store was founded 11 years ago by professionals who are passionate about vintage guitars and the collecting of instruments. There are some 200 square meters of shop space to explore, and on an average week, there are more than 350 guitars in stock. The catalogue can be viewed online, and guitars can be ordered for store pickup or worldwide UPS delivery. Some exceptional guitars currently on sale include a red National Reso-Phonic from 1958 and Gibson Mandolines from 1916 and 1917.
Open Tuesday, 11:15 AM–6 PM, and Wednesday to Saturday, 10:15 AM–1 PM and 2:15–7 PM.
California Music carries Music Man, Orange, Paul Reed Smith, and Vigier labels. For the last two, they are the most notable stockists in France. As well as new electric guitars and basses, the store also stocks amps, accessories, secondhand instruments, and some rarities, many of which can sell for five-figure sums. New deliveries are updated on their website every fortnight, with the most recent arrival being a Suhr Standard Lexus in Pearl Metallic, which could be yours for 2,600€.
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10:15 AM–1 PM and 2–7 PM.
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Julien and Alexis, the pair behind Woodstore, are proud lovers of guitars, amps, and effects. Their store has everything you could want to make the most of these three things. Their range includes electric guitars by Fender Japan, Divers, Rickenbacker, and Gretsch, amps by Vox and Marshall, and Ibanez pedals. Drop in on the team to check out the latest vintage deliveries or keep up with them on their Facebook page.
Custom Shop, as its name so economically suggests, is all about customization. As well as a range of guitars and basses, including those made to measure by James Trussart, they sell everything you could possibly need to make your instrument work for you. Bestsellers include Sprague condensers, Fender loudspeakers, and Dunlop Tortex mediators. You can shop online or visit the store to access the full range and a wealth of helpful advice.
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM–1 PM and 2:15–7 PM.
The last recommended stop on the Rue de Douai (though, by all means, explore every nook and cranny of the street until your heart’s content) is Le Guitarium. Like the other guitar stores on this list, it offers a wide range of new and vintage models as well as the necessary (and less necessary but nonetheless desirable) accessories. The store’s website is regularly updated, and orders can be made online.