I recently needed to rent a cello to play with the Brooklyn-based band, Laura Stevenson and the Cans on their European tour. I recorded on their last album but have been cello-less since moving to Paris. Finding one turned out to be more difficult than expected, with most stores only willing to rent out for three-month timeframes. Furthermore, availability was low and some stores close during summer, so could not allow you to rent for a shorter period of time.
Music stores tend to cluster together in cities. In New York where the city grows upwards, the building at 244 West 54th Street houses all things classical music: instrument dealers, bowmakers, music schools, studios and more. Everytime I get my bow rehaired at Salchow, I run into tons of musicians from my Juilliard past. Of course, with height restriction in Paris, stores of a certain type will concentrate along one street. Rue de Rome in the 9th arrondisement is home to most of the luthiers and dealers in Paris, ranging from string, piano to brass instruments. A Googlemap search of “luthier” in Paris shows just how many there are, completely overlapping on the map. Conveniently located near Gare Saint Lazare, the street is similarly dotted with musicians lugging instruments.
Most of the stores are small and only buy, sell and fix instruments. For those that do rent, it is better to go at the beginning of the school term (fall term begins in September, Winter in February, Spring in April, Summer in July). The luthiers Pierre Jaffré and Jean Bejuy had instruments for rent (though out of cellos), spoke English, were nice and helpful. I was most pleased with Alienor Lutherie, on 4 Rue de Madrid just off of Rue de Rome because they had availability, the instrument was decent and were willing to rent for a shorter time period at the same rate of 45 euro/month. If you are only looking for a true short-term rental and are fine with a beginner-level quality instrument, Musique Location at 14, Boulevard de Port Royal has no minimum rental period but is slightly more expensive at 60 euros/month and requires a 500 euro cash deposit which is probably more than the instrument is worth.
How to Get There:
Alienor Lutherie 4, Rue de Madrid
Pierre Jaffré 65, Rue de Rome
Jean Bejuy 69, Rue de Rome
Metro: 2 to Rome, 3 to Europe, 13 to Leiege or 3/12/13/14 to Saint-Lazare
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.