Times change, but Paris still has great model railroading stores, including for N scale!
Any model railroading fan over 30 probably remembers a time when going to a store was the only way to shop. But even now, it’s always great to visit a good old model train store. Not only one can find exclusive models (new or second-hand), but it’s also a great way to get help and tips.
Recently in Paris, I noticed some changes. 2 model train stores had closed. One was next to the great Library (13th district), not a big loss IMHO. The other one was a great store close to the rue Montorgueil, and has apaprently given way to clothing stores…
But there is still an area in Paris with no less than 5 model trains stores (3 for N scalers), located between the place de Clichy and the Saint Lazare train station (9th, district, north of Paris). Being close to competition seems to work well, also for model train stores!
The best way to start is to go to Place de Clichy. From there, the first store is 1 minute away: “Les cheminots” (51 rue de Douai, 75009, http://www.lescheminots-paris.com/) is a small store with a few interesting models. Personally I’m not really a fan of this store, but it’s definitely worth checking it out on the way to the better stores!
The best store without a doubt for N scale afficionados is “Transmondia” less than 200 feet away (48-50 rue de Douai, 75009, http://www.transmondia-transeurop.eu/). Actually, there are 3 stores next to another, and Transmondia is the N scale paradise. It’s a small store, but it’s where N scale in France happens. You can find the usual: new models, second-hand models, German models, Japanese and American N scale. But they also sell custom models that you can’t find elsewhere, including many French models. Serge, the owner, will be happy to help in all cases; including when it comes to choosing a digital system or for technical questions.
Transmondia is really the model train store as it should be: it’s not very orderly, but it reminds us that the internet does not replace everything. If you’re in Paris, go in, and don’t hesitate to ask!
Here are some pictures of the inside:
And finally, another store about 5 minutes away is Au Pullman. It’s different from Transmondia in that they have adopted a different strategy. They have a bigger store now (surprising for the model train business!), very modern inside. In fact, they also place ads in international magazines, and as you can see in the picture they even have a slogan in English on their storefront (anyone who knows France knows this is very rare). It’s definitely worth stopping there; though personally I prefer the – more cosy – experience at Transmondia.
If you want to know more about those stores, head on to Jerry’s great Quinntopia blog. He had been in Paris and also reviewed this area: (Quinntopia: Paris Hobby Shops and Quinntopia: Paris Hobby Shops 2)
These are not the only stores in Paris, but they are great to visit because they are all so close. Let’s remember some cities are not as lucky: London for example doesn’t have anything much left for model train fans.
If you visit Paris, take a 5 minutes detour away from the Moulin Rouge and definitely check out Transmondia and the other stores!
I hope you all had a great Christmas, and wish you all a great year 2016!
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