Here is the largest private collection of vinyls in France

We had the opportunity to visit the largest private collection of vinyl records in France. Follow us to La Fabrique, in the heart of Provence, one of the sites of the Roque d’Anthéron Piano Festival.

A living room in a large bastide in the Bouches-du-Rhône, a shelf of vinyls… then two, then ten, then fifty! Some 200,000 vinyls lie discreetly at the Fabrique, in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.Formerly an oil mill, the site is now a mythical place for sound engineers: it is in this 3500 m2 building, transformed into studios, that artists like Cat Stevens and Jacques Higelin recorded some of their records.

Christophe Maé has just spent three weeks there to produce his latest album, and on his Facebook page, the star shared with his fans the incredible atmosphere of the Fabrique: a long building with blue shutters, a garden with a beautifully designed lake, and recording studios like no other.

“The technical equipment meets the standards of the major international studios,” says the master of the premises, Hervé Le Guil, 60, a sound engineer for Etienne Daho, Julien Clerc and Michel Petrucciani.

Vinyl is a good sound-diffusing material

And the place has an unexpected bonus, the incredible album collection it houses.” The record shelves create very good acoustics, reveals Hervé Le Guil. The vinyl, heavy and dense, acts as a sound diffuser. There must be some 70 tons of records here! “But the sound engineer didn’t keep the collection for acoustic reasons. I was looking for this studio, my dream. I was told there was a place for it and there’s a publishing thing in it, but we’re gonna get rid of it. It wasn’t books, it was records… and I wanted to keep them! »

This outstanding collection belonged to the music critic Armand Panigel, a reference for lovers of cinema and classical music, who in 1946 founded the programme “La Tribune des critiques de disques” (The Record Critics’ Tribune). His principle? Music critics listen blindly to six discs: the same work played by six different performers. By showing how the same score can be either sublimated or spoiled, Panigel awakened the taste of music lovers.

The concept of this “brilliant precursor”, as Le Guil says, is still a success: “La Tribune des critiques de disques” is still offered on France Musique on Sunday afternoons and can boast of being the oldest programme on the French audiovisual landscape!

The major labels are all here

From 1985 until his death, ten years later, Armand Panigel lived at the Fabrique, immersed in its collection, from the great symphonic pages directed by Herbert von Karajan, to the most original nuggets of the history of jazz and classical music, such as this operetta “Mam’Zelle Nitouche”, with Fernandel and Éliane Thibault. The major labels are all there and a whole section of shelves is devoted to the complete recordings of Maria Callas”. A much better sound than the recently restored modern version,” according to Le Guil. The collection was built over forty years, decades of recording considered “the golden age of classical recording.” The only rival of this private collection is the Radio France discotheque – 450,000 “galettes” – which compiles all the releases, from the origin of the LP to the present day.

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