This summer, I spent more than a month travelling through six different countries across the continent of Europe. Despite my quick tour, I was able to soak up the rich history and culture each place had to offer. I visited the Palace of Versailles, trekked the ruins of Pompeii, saw the women through the glass panes of Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District and so much more. The historian and traveller in me was more than satisfied with what I had experienced. Yet I wondered, was there a place in Europe for travelling gamer geeks?
To answer that question, Yes there is such a place and I found it in Paris.
Paris was the last leg of my Eurotrip and by that time I exhausted all my energy on historic and cultural education. I wanted to visit a place that indulged my hobbies and interests with an added European twist. I kept asking friends around and even my followers on Twitter if Europe had a video game museum or something similar but to no avail. While walking back to my hotel from the Notre Dame, I was about to resign from my search until I managed to come across a street that piqued my attention. That street was called Rue Dante and it was an entire strip of stores that catered to video game, anime, art, comic book, television and movie enthusiasts out there. To briefly sum up how awesome this place is: Hold on to your Euros boys and girls, because Rue Dante will seduce you like an ice cold cola basking in the height of summer.
I won’t go through every store because that would ruin the surprise when you first go there. It’s part of the experience, to actually not expect it and be pleasantly surprised but some people aren’t lucky so that’s why I blog about it to the rest of the world. To give you a preview, here’s some stores in Rue Dante where I thoroughly maximized my time and Euros in.
Album is the largest comic book chain for the whole of France. They don’t just sell comic books though, if you look above… they have a wide array of merchandise to satisfy any geek out there. I know it made me happy because I bought my Mass Effect N7 wallet there plus the Han Solo in Carbonite Ice Tray that I bought for a friend.
In Paris, there are only three branches and they are all closely linked to one another. Each Album branch in Rue Dante offers different merchandise. The branch in the picture above caters to tourists since all the merchandise found here are in English. The branch adjacent to it caters to locals since everything there is French. The third one is just like the first one I mentioned, everything is English but they have a whole new set of merchandise so it’s more of an extension than a duplicate.
Lastly, their staff is really friendly! I talked to them about the Mass Effect ending.
2. Boutique Descartes
Boutique Descartes is not really along Rue Dante but it’s one block north of Album. This is a unique store because instead of selling comic books and other fan merchandise. They sell unique collectible parlor and board games, some I have never even heard of. I walked away a winner from Boutique Descartes because I managed to purchase collectible Star Wars and World of WarCraft Bicycle playing cards for half the price other retailers are selling it for.
Pulp is similar to Album but they offer more action figure merchandise than wallets, t-shirts and other similar stuff a traveller would love to take home as a memento from Europe. I didn’t buy anything from Pulp, but there were a lot of things I wanted to use my Euros on like some rare Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica figurines. However, there’s another branch of Pulp along Rue Dante that I enjoyed browsing through so much more than these other two.
Pulp Illustrations appealed to me the most because I was an avid enthusiast of art in movies, video games and comic books. Well, this store seemed like the answer to all my artsy fantasies. If you look close enough, you could see a Mass Effect art book displayed in the picture. It featured art from all three games! I wanted it so bad but it was big and it would never fit in my backpack. Aside from that, they had art from people who worked on Batman… you know that sort of stuff. If you’re into the whole geek shebang and love art, then this place is the spot for you.