Are there good geeky places to visit in Paris?
February 16, 2005 8:26 PM   Subscribe

ParisFilter: My husband and I are going to the City of Lights for our honeymoon. We're definitely going to try some of AskMeFi's previous suggestions! But us, we're big geeks (comics, anime, computers, games). Are there good geeky places to visit in Paris? Where are the best BD (bande dessiner) stores? Or sci fi bookshops? Anything else a good geek shouldn't miss?
posted by debgpi to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Check out the Shakespeare & Co Bookstore close to Notre Dame. It is very unique. You will have to go upstairs.
posted by jimbo1023 at 8:33 PM on February 16, 2005

There's a big comic book/graphic novel store near the Sorbonne. Sorry I don't remember exactly, but it's on the corner of two busy streets, near whatever Metro stop you'd take for the Sorbonne or Pantheon, I think. Around the same area I saw a game shop and a shop with a lot of action figures in the window.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:29 PM on February 16, 2005

Also, if you're going before March 6th and like H.R. Giger, the Musée d'Art Naïf has an exhibition of his work. It's right next to the Basilique du Sacré Coeur, which you'll want to see too.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:53 PM on February 16, 2005

Jeux Descartes, 52, rue des Ecoles (métro St-Michel) is good. In the same area, which is the Sorbonne area, there's several comics bookstores. Not far from there is Oeuf cube, 24 rue Linné 75015 Paris (métro Jussieu), popular with gamers.

You can buy nice gargoil replicas in the many tourist stores near Notre Dame.
posted by Turtle at 11:54 PM on February 16, 2005

For decent BD try Gibert Jeune at place St. Michel, or a good comic place at the bunch of shops when you get off at Cour St-Émilion, metro 14. It's called Canal BD.

For lots of computer stuff, LOTS. Try Surcouf at Daumesnil.
posted by gsb at 12:20 AM on February 17, 2005

One of my favorite places in Paris is the La Villette Park in the 19th arrondissement, where a "City of Science" and a "City of Music" are separated by a canal. If you walk around, you'll see lots of strange and wonderful things, such as: La Grande Halle, Cité des sciences, La Géode (which constantly makes sci-fi/twilight zone music), a submarine, a giant buried bicycle by Claes Oldenburg, a big dragon multi-slide (pic found in this collection of weird-Paris pictures (not all current)), and more.
posted by Turtle at 12:24 AM on February 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

A few geeky Paris museums: Musée des Arts et Métiers (lots of cool old technology (old robots!), and a chapel full of old cars and planes, featured in Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco), Grande Galerie de l'Évolution (stunning parade of stuffed animals in this recently refurbished museum located in the stately Jardin des Plantes park), Palais de la Découverte (a venerable, but more traditional science museum, dry and dusty last time I visited: only hardcore geeks need go).
posted by Turtle at 1:16 AM on February 17, 2005

Also in the Jardin des Plantes park, les Galeries de Paléontologie et d'Anatomie comparée is an incredible experience, and way better than the Galerie of Evolution. It's a little weird and creepy, but still nerdy. It's a VERY old museum that seems to be untouched from the 19th century, and reflects the science and spirit of the times. It is just a giant room filled with different types of slightly dusty bones ranging from dinosaur, to whale, and everything in between. It's actually sorta fascinating to see that many bones sitting in the open air, all right next to each other, so that you can "compare" the anatomies of the different species. In the back are scary jars of formaldehyde with creepy things floating in it (birth abnormalities and other weird stuff people used to display in museums as "science." Certainly not romantic, but for history buffs with a taste for the weird, it's a very worthwhile trip.

If your french is good, i'd also recommend a trip to the Bibliothèque nationale de France. It's near La Bourse, and they have some small but usually really amazing exhibits. And if you have an interest in something, you can often get access to the library by talking/have a short interview with the librarians, who are remarkably helpful, and they'll give you access to some really incredible books/pictures/whatever your geeky heart desires.

Have a great trip!
posted by geryon at 1:49 AM on February 17, 2005

I second goind to Gibert Jeune, they have many specialized stores around the Place St Michel (check the Flash map).
Gibert Joseph is the same thing but different, and not at the same place. Their stores are close to the Sorbonne (go to Métro Cluny-Sorbonne or the RER Luxembourg). They also have a Flash map.
Both Giberts offer new and second hand stuffs (and you can sell them your own). Favored place for students.

Going to the FNAC is not a bad choice either. It's a bit more expensive, but some stores have a really huge selection of comices, tech stuffs, books, music, dvd... I like the Ternes one, and the La Défense one (located in the CNIT), but there are many others.

Virgin also exists in here. FNAC and Virgin are very much alike.

These are the big stores, but there are many many many smaller ones around those.
posted by XiBe at 3:43 AM on February 17, 2005

Actually, I second FNAC. The one at Place Italie (Italie 2, in the 13th) has a big selection of BD, too.
posted by gsb at 5:15 AM on February 17, 2005

There's a small group of stores offset on rue d'Odessa (can't remember the number, sorry) which includes a fairly large comic book/anime store. Metro: Montparnasse, take the rue d'Odessa exit.
posted by jed at 9:10 AM on February 17, 2005

Response by poster: Great suggestions -- thanks!
posted by debgpi at 9:04 PM on February 17, 2005

A friend reminds me that if you know the right person to ask, you can get a tour of the unofficial catacombs.

It really isn't a honeymoon, and you really haven't seen Paris, if you haven't spent a sleepless night wandering for miles in rubber boots through an immense maze of damp tunnels in the empire of the dead, staring at strange wall paintings, running into strange people, drinking and smoking too much, and wondering if you'll ever make it out alive since your guide doesn't seem quite trustworthy anymore and you've ended up in a hole on the map.

The same friend also mentions the Pavillon de l'Arsenal as a good (and far cleaner) place for construction and architecture and urban planning geeks.
posted by Turtle at 1:09 AM on February 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

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