By land, air and sea, earning a profit along the clandestine transatlantic record route.
Ducking into a crumbling and cramped hideout from the imminent downpour, it took only a minute to confirm that, yes, I had found the world’s greatest record shop and, no, it wasn’t in New York City. My wife Erica and I had encountered Record Station—an unmarked boutique slathered in white paint and framed by tall windows—as we walked along rue des Récollets toward Canal Saint-Martin on an overcast June afternoon in Paris.
The secondhand store, in the city’s tenth arrondissement, faces Jardin Villemin, where a military hospital for French troops stood during their war with Prussia. Today, more than one hundred and forty years later, peace blankets the neighborhood, where Record Station provides some welcome grit wedged between its posh café and consignment shop neighbors.
Behind its heavy glass door, crates of obscure albums, dog-eared 45s, box-set bootlegs, and “Blaxploitation” DVDs piled around a lanky, blue-eyed thirty-year-old named Quentin Devillers. “Bonjour,” …
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