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The Wire Shop

When you hire painters to repaint your apartment while you’re out of town, don’t expect to return to it in an improved condition. Indeed, your walls will gleam brighter than before, but everything else will be in shambles. Suddenly all of your books and dvds are stacked up in dusty piles against walls where they once perched so carefully on shelves. Now there aren’t any shelves at all, not even pockmarks in the wall to indicate their former painstakingly selected position.

In times as these, it’s helpful to know where to find a good hardware store. Of course there is the bottom floor of BHV which comprises an entire block chock-full of nails, tools, materials, and basically every single building block of any project imaginable. It can be overwhelming in there though, even distracting. You walk in looking for a certain kind of bolt or nut and come out with a sheet of blue suede leather and a garden hose, terribly useful stuff mind you but not what you were looking for.

Copper Wires at Weber Paris

Copper wires

Graciously, there happens to be a very efficient and friendly hardware shop on rue de Poitou in Paris’ 3rd. Despite its four floors and exhaustive stock of merchandise, there is something very familiar and down-home about Weber Métaux et Plastiques. It reminds me of a hardware shop my dad used to take me to in Front Royal, VA where tough old men would sit around on beat up school bus seats and gossip about livestock prices. The place smelled faintly of oil and old leather. Weber has the same feel, though the french gossip is probably something along the lines of “metro, boulot, dodo”. There were even a few leather chairs bursting at the seams to reveal their fluffy white innards.

Marine cables at Weber, Paris

Marine cables

It’s not just the look that warrants a nod to a superior shopping experience, it’s the professionalism. You walk in and an employee with well worked hands asks you what you’re looking for. At BHV you have to stand in a long line before you even get noticed. Since the Swede and I are trying to reassemble our shelves, we inquired as to their selection of screws. We were directed to the second floor, but not before the owner got a whiff of our foreign accents and eagerly started spouting off in accented English, “But first, you must come downstairs and see the wires!”

Rainbow colored wires at Weber Paris

Rainbow colored wires

He unhooked the chain separating the customers from the back of the store and led us downstairs to the basement. I was tentative; wouldn’t that have been the perfect horror film? Tagline: Psychotic mechanic tortures tourists with electrically charged wires. When I looked around though I saw not some ghastly torture chamber, but rather a glimmering array of gold, silver, bronze, copper, and aluminum wires, neatly coiled and arranged by size and material. Some coils were braided into Rapunzelian plaits while others were so fine they would hardly be visible if not for their shimmer. There was even a special case for pure spun gold.

Braided copper wires at Weber Paris

Braided copper wires

Our host was not new to tourists. He had posted several handwritten warning signs stating “you bend it, you buy it” in eleven languages. Nor was he new to the camera. We asked if we could take a few photos of his wire collection, to which he replied with an emphatic “bien sur!”, cautioning though that “if you blog about us, you must add a link to us!” Gotta love a man who works with his hands AND works his own PR.

Warning sign at Weber Paris

"You bend it you buy it"

Practical Info:

Weber Metaux et Plastiques

Wires in aluminum, silver, gold, bronze, nickel, copper. Piano chords, cables, etc. for household and industrial use.

9 Rue de Poitou in the 3rd

Monday to Friday 8h30 t0 17h30

01 46 72 34 00

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