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#3218073 05/21/22 07:53 AM
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Hello. I am fortunate to be visiting Paris for a week starting tomorrow. I will be with a tour group but there will be free time. I would like to visit some Paris piano stores to try some piano brands that are not available in my area. I don’t know how to approach it. One look at a yokel like me and they will know that I am a tourist who will not be buying one of their pianos.
For example, if I go to the C.Bechstein store in Paris, I wonder what their policy is about tourists wandering in and playing their pianos? I don’t mean to make too much of this, I realize that they will not call Les Flics (the cops) on me, but I would like to I get some advance knowledge before I try. Thanks.



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Say you would like, "to try some piano brands that are not available in my area"?


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WOW!!! This is so exciting, please take pics!! I'm dying to go to Paris, my daughter went 3 years ago and loved it. I'm sure no one will care if you play their pianos. Have an absolutely splendid time, Damien! smile


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They are still advertising the brand 😁

The store would probably think:

What if this guy really likes a C Bechstein and buys one later on because how much they like it!

Originally Posted by Withindale
Say you would like, "to try some piano brands that are not available in my area"?
Probably the best response!

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Don't read the Piano Shop on the Left Bank first...

wink

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 05/21/22 12:14 PM.

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I don't think they will know that you are a tourist. There are so many people in Europe who don't speak the language of the country they live in very good because they just moved here, so it is very common to speak English. And maybe you live in Amsterdam or Berlin, they don't know that. I want to buy my next piano in Germany and I'm from the Netherlands. Just dress a bit nice maybe, not shorts with a Hawaii floral print shirt, so not like a tourist smile

Have fun in Paris, it's a beautiful city!

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I did read the Piano Shop on the Left Bank! Great book!
That is good advice about the stores also advertising a brand.
Yes, I will try to dress nice. Some of these Parisian Piano stores look really fancy!
Yes, I will think I will lead with “I would like to try some brands not available in my area.”
Thank you all for your advice.



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Originally Posted by Damien PG
Hello. I am fortunate to be visiting Paris for a week starting tomorrow. I will be with a tour group but there will be free time. I would like to visit some Paris piano stores to try some piano brands that are not available in my area. I don’t know how to approach it. One look at a yokel like me and they will know that I am a tourist who will not be buying one of their pianos.
For example, if I go to the C.Bechstein store in Paris, I wonder what their policy is about tourists wandering in and playing their pianos? I don’t mean to make too much of this, I realize that they will not call Les Flics (the cops) on me, but I would like to I get some advance knowledge before I try. Thanks.


I work in Paris frequently and I know the store very well (and I speak French) if you are talking about the one Rue de Rome. Yes they will know you are a tourist. They have one studio room equipped with a Bechstein and an Hoffman which you can rent by the hour (15 euros I believe). Call them to book the room, its pretty busy.

At Ground level they do have a number of C. Bechstein and Hoffman. If you ask them, you can play them. The staff is very nice. That shouldnt be a problem as long as you dont try to play Rach2 .... I would recommend not too casual clothes though (ie no shorts).


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I was wondering about being able to rent a practice room. Great! I will look into that as soon as I can. My spoken french is elementary.



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Originally Posted by Damien PG
I was wondering about being able to rent a practice room. Great! I will look into that as soon as I can. My spoken french is elementary.

They have several rooms but only one with a Bechstein. Ask specifically for that one.

You can also use that one, just next to the Opera. They have only one room with a Steinway.

https://www.lestudio-club.com/studios


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At the Bechstein center, just ask whether Louis-Marie is around and if he is, you can just tell him that you've been referred to him by this Autrian guy, who knows his father well. If he's not around, do the same. You'll be treated well.

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I wish US stores used the same approach of having pianos of one's interest in a room for thorough, personal evaluation, instead of a verbose salesperson hawking over you the entire time.

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I think some European piano dealers are rather fussy who plays thier pianos than others.It is best to speak to the sales person.Some are very kind and may let you try the piano, others not.Sometimes the more "casual looking" are more strict than the more glamorous stores who may let you spend more time at the piano.I agree dress neatly, but that is all.(no shorts I think)

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Your post gave me a very nice memory. In 1985 we were in Europe for the first time and had visited both Harrods and the London Boesendorfer dealer. Prices of Boesendorfers were incredibly low at the time due to the strength of the US Dollar. The London dealer gave us a reference to Daniel Magne, who was the Boesendorfer dealer in Paris, with a store near the Trocadero. He also had a small concert hall and recording studio in the facility. We ended up buying our 225 from Magne, who arranged for us to have a tour of the Boesendorfer factory outside Vienna and to choose our piano at their finishing facility in central Vienna on Boesendorferstrasse. The conclusion of the European trip was a return to Magne's store to complete the transaction. Two months later our 225 arrived in our home in the SF Bay Area, after being trucked from Vienna to Paris and then flown to the US on Air France from Paris. A most memorable and delightful trip.

Here is a history of Magne's family and their generations of stores from the mid 1800's to the present day (now a used piano and restoration shop in Versailles owned by Daniel's son Gregoire.)

https://pianosmagne.fr/pianos-magne/l-histoire


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Quote
a verbose salesperson

Some are worse than others. Most of the salesmen I met while piano shopping were all great, but there was one store where the man there (who may actually have been the owner) was so awful. He would not leave me alone, and it sounded like he was unaware that he was losing his hearing because of the way he was yelling ... Anyway, I was trying to play one of the pianos there, a Seiler and it gave me a great first impression.

But the man would not leave me alone, telling me about the piano, ranting about other piano stores and just being both very unpleasant and very loud. I think I even said "ok, well, I'm interested in this piano so could you let me play it?" And he said "oh yes, of course, take your time!" but then continued going on and on... so I quickly gave up and stood up from the piano, and he was almost knocking me over in my face. My husband and I practically ran from the store.

It was insane. The shop is still in business. Somehow...


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I don't think it's as complicated as some have said. I have never been in a piano store where they were not willing to let me play any piano for as long as I wanted and I have visited around five piano store in NYC more than 50 times(altogether). I live 35 blocks from NYC's PIano Row. I have been to fancy piano stores in shorts when the weather is hot. If the salesperson wants to talk and hang around while you try out pianos, just ask them politely to let you play by yourself! Make up some excuse if they still want to hang around.

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OK, I visited two piano stores this morning in Paris. The first was the C. Bechstein store. I wandered in and at first I just walked around. I wanted to ask permission to play the pianos but no one came out so I just played what I wanted. After I played for a while a young lady walked in from outside, said “bonjour” and walked down some stairs at the back of the store. She was the only person that I saw while I was there. Someone, somewhere must have been watching me on a camera. I can’t believe that they would leave the store completely unattended.
I have read that some consider the C. Bechstein 8 to be the best upright piano. It was nice! I could be very happy with that. I tried a T. Hoffmann 161 grand (I think that was the size), and that was also very nice. The C. Bechstein grands were of course also very nice, but 2 or 3 times the price of the T. Hoffmanns.
I saw that small practice room with a C. Bechstein. I may go back and try to use that if the tour schedule allows.
Across the street was another piano store, Pianos International. It had mainly used pianos. There were three salespeople there. A young man greeted me when we first went in, and initially I was able to fool him with my basic french. He told me to go ahead and play what I wanted. Later he came over and tried to engage me further, and at that point I had to give up and switch to English. I told him that I just wanted to play pianos that were not available in my area and he kindly accepted that, and told me to play what I wanted. I played a used Schimmel grand and a used 1907 C. Bechstein that were nice.



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Thanks for your report. I‘m glad it worked out for you. I would have been quite surprised if the French wouldn‘t have treated you well smile Okay, it‘s still Paris, but I was in Paris two months ago and people were really friendly. Since I will go back to Paris in two weeks, can you say where exactly to find this dealer? I always wanted to play a Bechstein 8 smile
Well, I probably could also play it somewhere in Munich or Nuremberg etc., but well, you never know whether German salesmen are as friendly as their French counterpart smile
What about the used Schimmel grand? Which model was it exactly? Did you like it in comparison to the other ones?

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The C. Bechstein store is at 50 Rue de Rome. I don’t remember the model number of the used Schimmel. I liked the Hoffmann and Bechstein better than the Schimmel, but the Schimmel was nice too. It was at the “Piano International” store, across the street from the C. Bechstein store. It will probably still be there in two weeks.



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Thank you for your quick reply! smile Wow, seems like an extended trip! smile
We will only stay for 4 days or so this time. Two days ago I spontaneously bought tickets for a Mavis Staples concert in Paris, so now me and my wife are forced to go there. wink smile Maybe I hear you playing at one of the stores there wink

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