Book Shopping in Paris

Destination: France BOOKSTORES

Booksellers along the Seine
Booksellers along the Seine

A tip of the hat to Trazzler, who inspired this post. Trazzler lists short posts about beautiful bookstores around the world, including Paris. (UPDATE: Actually the page is gone, but you can do a search on Trazzler for beautiful bookstores and find them individually.)

Do take a look because the collection had me going WOW! or OMG! as I visited fantastic bookstores around the world.

When we were in Paris, we skipped Shakespeare and Company, perhaps the single best-known bookstore in the world because of its association with people like Ernest Hemingway and D. H. Lawrence. It is covered in the Trazzler list above and I LOVE their quirky web site. Plus here’s a little love letter to Shakespeare and Company from The Story Girl, a book reviewer.

As for our own explorations, when we travelled to Paris, we stayed in the St. Germaine district, which used to be the center of the French publishing industry, and still has an interesting assortment of librairies (bookstores). Besides general bookstores, there were some that specialized in a very narrow specialty. We saw one devoted to books about cars! (In a bus so couldn’t get a picture) Here are my pictures of a couple we visited. Of course the writer of A Traveler’s Library would have to stop at a bookstore that sold nothing but antique travel books!! Even though they were not in English.

Travel Bookstore in St. Germaine
Antique Travel Bookstore in St. Germaine, Paris
Antique Travel books Window Display
Antique Travel books in Window Display

I was also fascinated by this antiquarian bookstore near the Odeon that specialized in antique children’s books.

He carried other antique objects that were originally made to entertain children, like this clockwork picture. One of those “If you have to ask you can’t afford it” items.

Bookstore owner and clockwork picture
Bookstore owner and priceless antique clockwork picture

I was captivated by the marionette lounging on a shelf.

Marionette and antique books in children's bookstore
Marionette and antique books in children’s bookstore

Doesn’t this guy look kind of like one of the three musketeers?  Well the musketeers hung out in this section of Paris, according to one book I read. Amazing the footsteps we’re following. And how about this newspaper with a report of the REAL Around the World in 80 Days?

Around the World in Forty Days
Around the World in Eighty Days

Yes, there were plenty of BOOKS in this bookstore, too.

Antique books for Children
Antique books for Children

Want to write your own book? We found this shop with all kinds of journals, pens, writing desks, notecards, everything a writer needs–behind the historic Procope Cafe where Benjamin Franklin used to hang out.

A shop for writers
A shop for writers

Of course, in Paris, a book to read or a piece of old sheet music, or a poster, is as near as your closest outdoor book stall, like these along the Seine. Notice the Edgar Alan Poe.

Books on sale at outdoor shops
Books on sale at outdoor shops

Want more bookstores in Paris? Gridskipper gives you a helpful map showing some of the best in Paris.

As I was poking around the Internet, I found a site to help find booksellers world wide for antiquarian, first edition, signed, etc. [Update: the site has been labeled unsafe, so I have removed the link]. But I’d rather go to Paris, and wander around St. Germaine and the Latin Quarter!

Are bookstores on your shopping list when you travel? Do you ONLY go to English language bookstores?

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

14 thoughts on “Book Shopping in Paris

      1. Hetzel was the publisher of the book written by Jules Verne ‘Around the world in 80 days’. I am doing some research, this is how I came to read your comment. Happy traveling Vera….;)

  1. I was surpirsed by the number of ENglish books in Paris bookshops. And Shakespeare’s is wortha visit however well-known and busy. A real treasure trove.

  2. This post sent me looking for my passport, got me daydreaming and wandering the many wonderful bookstores on Trazzlers site. Thank you!

  3. One of our favorite finds in Granada, Spain, was the ‘street of books’ as I fondly named it. There were bookstores similar to the type in your first photo — each specializing in a certain type of book — and to make it better, each had a speaker on the roof so that Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong songs provided a backdrop of music as you strolled the many blocks of shops.

  4. Good article, always agreeable to hear about shopping in Paris.
    One thought. do American’s ever consider how irritating you
    can be with our language. A bookshop is where you buy books,
    a bookstore is where a bookshop stores its books. Long may the
    two be different.

    1. Oh bother! Obviously, I’m hopelessly American. I could say bookshop consistently for books and shoes, but I am not sure I could say grocery shop.
      But then, look at how I spell Traveler!!
      Seriously, “our” language? Isn’t it a shared language? After all when America chose English over German or Dutch or Spanish a couple hundred years ago, English sounded rather different.

  5. thanks for taking us along on your bookstore visit — and glad you like Trazzler, as I write for them on occasion (now I know where to send editors if they are looking for examples of how I can write quirky. thanks, as I’ve never been exactly sure about that…)

    to answer your question, I’ll always look in bookstores and in libraries, too, sometimes as a destination, sometimes if I come across them. if it is a language I speak, so much the better, but if not that does not deter me, I’ll still learn something.

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