Retrogaming in Paris: a short tour of the shops

If you like retrogaming, you can only let yourself be tempted by a little tour of the specialized shops in Paris, to smell the atmosphere of the place, find a console or a game, start or continue a collection, at worst leave with giveaways, etc. Geographical observation: this is happening in the East, a little on the left bank, towards Jussieu, and especially on the right bank, towards République, around Boulevard Voltaire, the historic video game district in the capital. Theoretically, you can visit all these shops in one retrogaming afternoon: there are 9, a little more if you count the shops exclusively dedicated to figurines.

Content table

  1. Two historic video game districts: Jussieu and République
  2. What do retrogaming shops offer?
  3. The retrogaming shops of Paris

In the retrogaming shops of Paris, we are of course moving away from the Next-Gen, but also a little from the Internet, the mass distribution and the arcade machine generic. As much to say right away, the latter is not necessarily to the taste of purists: a question of screen formats, price, nostalgia for the console-cartridge combo or “real” arcade terminals… We can talk about 'a common passion, retrogaming, which is expressed in two different ways: the search for physical media (old consoles and games) on the one hand, a beautiful design object and recourse to emulation on the other. One does not prevent the other, that said, someone with an arcade terminal at home can perfectly take a passion for retro physics and research everything related to the Neo-Geo, the SNES, the 987 versions of Zelda, etc

1. Two historic video game districts in Paris: Jussieu and République

Until the mid-1990s, the largest Parisian gaming district was in the V. district, around the university of Jussieu. Then the district changes with the removal of asbestos from the faculty and the shops close. This reinforces the pre-eminence of the other important gaming district of the capital: République, more precisely around Boulevard Voltaire (XI. arrondissement).

At the time, we weren't talking about retrogaming, of course, just about video games, and the Playstation was driving the market. The years 1995-2010 are now seen as the golden age in the district, there were about ten video game shops there, there are now 7 (6 are largely retro oriented). Either they have closed or have reoriented themselves towards the sale of figurines. The names of some stores have also changed, but the locations have remained the same. Businesses have simply reoriented themselves towards the past of video games. Some continue to offer the most recent games, but this is no longer the heart of the activity, competition from the Internet and supermarkets being of course too great. 

2. What do retrogaming shops offer?

All offer more or less the same services: import, sale and trade-in of video games and retro consoles NTSC (most often Japan) and PAL (Europe), as well as of course various accessories and some gadgets and figurines.

They offer a bit of everything, and even Next-Gen, but they mainly target two types of (demanding) customers: the collector who likes collecting, even speculation, and will not necessarily open the game box (that exist) ; the so-called “hardcore” gamer who searches, snoops, tracks, hunts down, tracks down, compares, resells to buy… The second seeks authenticity, the original conditions of the product, the game in its original form, the bet bets on the product itself and the rating that goes with it. There remains the occasional nostalgic looking for the console(s) of his childhood, the one looking for a Christmas present...

There are therefore two markets for video games: that of NTSC (Japanese and American imported products) and that of PAL (Europe). The shops sell both, but with varying degrees of specialization depending on their clientele (purists willingly turn to Japan). 

All these stores are of course likely to buy back your games, consoles and accessories.

3. Retrogaming shops in Paris

The stores of course have online sites (or failing that, a Facebook account) that we link to. 

Right bank, boulevard Voltaire and surroundings

The figurine shops, apart

Of course, you will find in the retrogaming shops accessories and figurines, but this is not the heart of the store, rather dedicated to the windows with the materials and games conscientiously packed inside. As a result, some video game shops have turned into stores exclusively selling figurines, goodies, posters, gadgets...

If you are looking for these accessories, there are three shops at the entrance to Boulevard Voltaire: 

All-Geeks, figurine shop in Paris

All Geeks (6 Boulevard Voltaire)                                       

Geek Story, figurine shop in Paris

Geek Story (7 Boulevard Voltaire)

Bandai Hobby Store (5 Boulevard Voltaire)

A little further, between the big retrogaming shops (from 11 to 19 boulevard Votaire, we find hobby one (which also sells recent video games and does some retrogaming), as well as two major sellers of manga and derivative products, Tsume Store and Manga Story.

retrogaming stores

There are 5 video game shops on the top of Boulevard Voltaire (starting from Place de la République), 4 of which offer a wide choice in terms of retrogaming. The 5. also offers video games and accessories but less retrogaming (HobbyOne, already cited). These are important stores, in volume and surface area. The atmosphere is with shelving well classified by brand, with windows, with air conditioning. The choice is necessarily very wide and that's the whole point.

A sixth, smaller one is located just behind Boulevard Voltaire, rue de Malte, and another a little further (ten minutes on foot), near the Voltaire metro station. Finally, two others mainly offer repairs (tronix, Sat.Elite).

Trader Games (4 bd Voltaire)
Tradergames, retrogaming store in Paris

It is the first shop when arriving on the boulevard. The Next-Gen section is on the ground floor and the (superb) retrogaming space on the first floor. You can get everything there from the time of the Atari 2600. A nice little curiosity: a small display of vinyl records with soundtracks from video games and cartoons.

Game Off (22 Boulevard Voltaire)
Game off, retrogaming store in Paris

A little further on the same sidewalk, Game Off offers the sale and purchase of products ranging from the Neo-Geo to the Playstation 4. The shelves are less present but that's intended: terminals allow you to consult the catalog. (We are linking the Facebook page, but the site should be online soon.)

retrogameplay (11 Boulevard Voltaire)
Retro Game Play, retrogaming store in Paris

We cross and go up the boulevard a little to find the biggest shop in the spot, with Full 7 (at 19). Large departments classified as it should be and, inevitably, many, many choices in all genres. 

Full 7 (19 Boulevard Voltaire)
Full 7, retrogaming store in Paris

Lots of choices too and a basement entirely dedicated to Sega imports.

Game Them All (38 rue de Malta)
Game-them-all, retrogaming store in Paris

If you move away thirty seconds (at most) from Boulevard Voltaire, you take Rue de Malte to find this more modest and slightly more specialized shop, in this case in games and consoles imported from Japan. The reception is very friendly and instructive, especially on the details of the manufacture of games and the speculative market. posters of Metal Slug, it's nice, and it can give the opportunity to discuss prices around the Neo-Geo (basically, it's often expensive or even very expensive).

Retrogame Shop (41 rue Basfroi)
Retrogame Shop, retrogaming shop in Paris

To get to the last address in the district, you have to walk about ten minutes (or get off at the Voltaire metro station).

Go down boulevard Voltaire to the metro of the same name, turn right onto rue de la Roquette (a large Darth Vader painted on a wall can serve as a guide), then left onto rue Basfroi.

The very special atmosphere of the shop (it must be the wooden shelves) gives more than in any other shop the impression of being in a cave of treasures, especially if one is interested in Japan. A bookstore atmosphere, in short. Nice aspect in our eyes, moreover: there are many books and magazines.

Left bank: Jussieu and a little beyond

Of the half-dozen shops that occupied the sidewalks of rue des Ecoles, only two remain. The atmosphere is inevitably more subdued than at République. A third shop is a ten-minute walk from rue des Ecoles, near Saint-Michel.

replay (6 School Street)
Replay Jussieu, retrogaming store in Paris

A pleasant flea market atmosphere. The space is overflowing with retro gear from all eras with no particular obsession with classification. There is a bit of everything (everywhere) from the first consoles to the PS2, and a bit of Next-Gen. Replay is a partner of the association WDA, which works to preserve digital heritage, and this permeates the spirit of the place. The shop also offers repair services.

Stock Games (15 School Street)
Stock Games, retrogaming store in Paris

Historical shop, pillar of the district in terms of recent and retro video games, but more oriented towards recent consoles than its neighbor. As with the latter, the shelves overflow a little and that is part of the charm of the place. Small size, of course, but you can easily find what you're looking for.

GameCorner (15 rue Saint-Jacques)
Game Corner, retrogaming shop in Paris

A little apart from the others, a very busy shop despite its small size, and above all very well ordered. A wide variety of choices (video games, figurines, DVDs, books, etc.) and good advice.

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At FLEX we love video games, it is this passion that rocked our childhood (and perhaps yours!?) that drives us on this adventure, to design and manufacture superb machines to replay the best titles of the young history of video games. We produce a “ready to play” range but also make special orders for unique and characterful arcade terminals using for example the base of a 300L wine barrel or a French army ammunition box ! We are at your disposal for your projects, share your wildest dreams, we love to make them come true.

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