Paris was once at the forefront of the music industry and dotted with phonographic shops. The project Disquaires de Paris has created an impressive interactive map with archival material documenting 120 years of sound recording, all locations which are no longer in existence today. The list includes retail shops that sold recordings (what we traditionally would think of as a record store), stores that sold phonographic cylinders and other methods of recording (which appeared in the city starting in the 1890s), as well as luthiers who who were among the first to get on board with sound recording.
The archival materials were procured from flea markets or by collectors, and the active dates of each store were verified with the Archives of Paris utilizing the trade directory and the archives of the Commercial Court of Paris. As Disquaires de Paris writes, they “intend to honor the music stores and sellers phonographic cylinders from the late 19th century, allowed Parisians to discover the sound recording. Disquaires de Paris tries to tell a piece of history by offering for each of the eyewitness: illustrated envelopes, stamps, labels, advertisements, postcards…” [translated from French]
A shop in the 2nd arrondissement that that was the agent for Edison and American phonographs
There is a timeline that can be dragged to see specific periods, and a future update of the map will include a longer period of sound recording history. This map focuses on the “early decades of the phonographic industry, in the era of the cylinder and the 78s.”
A shop in Belleville that was the “only agency exclusive in France for recordings from Armenia, Greece, and Turkey