Return to Paris

Who has been to Paris and not made a pilgrimage to the classic pipe and tobacco landmarks of the city? But returning to Paris after a few years' absence, one discovers that there too, many things have changed: shops such as G. Guyot's
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have disappeared and tobaccos such as "gris" have become very hard to find. Nonetheless, a meticulous visitor can still find a good deal of fascinating items ranging from Cogolin's modern pipes to Delalande's antiques.

During a brief sojourn in Paris, I could not resist dedicating some of my time to some of the typical pipe lovers' haunts. I am sure that our readers will be interested in the addresses mentioned in this article. Walking down Rue Saint-Honoré, one can't miss the grand sign of "Les Pipes de Cogolin" at number 129: the Parisian shop of Ch. Courrieu's famous pipes. The Courrieus have made pipes with the oldest briar from the Massif des Maures since 1802, carefully selecting and preparing it according to a two-hundred-year-old tradition. Their motto is particularly significant: "De la Forêt aux Fumeurs"- from the forest to the smoker. These pipes were supposedly the first to be made of briar, as we have already discussed in past issues. (Adp 4/84 and 4/93, Italian Edition). Upon entering the shop one is cordially greeted by Oliviero, who is always ready to provide information on their pipes. The shop is arranged perfectly and immediately captures the attention of pipe lovers. Its wide shelves and glass cases contain hundreds of pipes: a vast choice of models made of quality briar and a wide range of prices for all pockets. If you are interested, all you have to do is write to the above address and they will mail you their catalog.

Their factory is in Cogolin (58, Avenue Clemenceau) and they also have another shop in Saint-Tropez (25, quai G. Péri). Not very far away at number 157 of Rue Saint-Honoré, "A la Civette," France's oldest tobacco shop,
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does not require any introduction.
If you visit the Palais - Royal, remember that at number 19 of the Galerie de Chartres, there is G. Goltsche's "A l'Oriental," a shop which was opened in 1862 and sells only
the best pipe brands.

It was, however, an immense disappointment to see that M. Gilbert Guyot's shop at number 7 Avenue de Clichy was closed. Has he moved? The nearby shop keepers were unable to provide useful information. Here are two good addresses for antique pipe lovers: Denise Courbier (3, Rue de l'Odéon) is an expert on all items that have anything to do with tobacco. In her shop you will be able to find objects of real beauty: pipes, mouthpieces, tobacco pots, snuff boxes... as well as advice and information on the different historical periods and practical suggestions for recognizing fakes. Dominique Delalande (the organizer of the exhibition dedicated to "La Fleur du Mal- Cinq Siecles d'Objets d'Art autour du Tabac," which was held in Paris at the Trainon de Bagatelle last year) can be found with his beautiful pipes at "Le Louvre des Antiquaires," the largest antique shop in downtown Paris (2, Place du Palais Royal). If you do not have a copy of the impressive catalog published for the above mentioned exhibition, you can pick a copy up here. Finally, we can not miss out a visit to the Musée-Galerie de la Seita (corner of Rue Surcouf 12 and Rue de l'Université 148). The museum is in the Invalides neighborhood, on the same site where the ancient Gros Caillou tobaccos used to be manufactured. The Museum was opened in 1979, after dedicating over twenty years to acquiring objects and artwork related to the history of tobacco, its uses and its traditions. The collection began in 1937... the universal exhibition offered the perfect opportunity for the initial purchases. As a matter of fact, Seita, which at that time was known as the "Service d'Exploitation Industrielle des Tabacs et des Allumettes," had employed the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens to design an exhibition pavilion for its products, that would show the cultural influences of the use of tobacco. These were then exhibited in the lobby of the Hotêl des Tabacs which became the Quai d'Orsay at the end of the 1930's and was returned to Seita after the war. In 1979, Seita was finally able to exhibit its collection in a setting worthy of its prestige. In 1992, the collection, about 3000 pieces, was re-arranged. The objects which are exhibited in Paris represent the jewels of the collection. Other items from the "Musée de l'Homme" date back to the origins of tobacco in pre-Columbian America. Adjacent to the museum is a boutique/bookstore which sells posters, smoke related gadgets, postcards of the museum's pipes, and a wide choice of books on pipes and tobacco. The catalog ("Catalogue du Musée de la Seita," Musée-Galerie de la Seita Editions, 1992, 80 Francs, 164 pgs, 16,5 cm by 24 cm) is fantastic and full of color pictures of the museum's objects. Published to celebrate the museum's new location, the catalog contains both photographs and the descriptive captions of most of the exhibited articles.