I think it is now time to conclude my “European Bookshops” trilogy. Previously, I posted a list of My 3 Favourite Bookshops in Brussels and a list of My 3 Favourite Bookshops in London, and I am concluding with this list of My 3 Favourite Bookshops in Paris. Unlike Brussels and London, I have not lived in Paris for an extensive period of time, but have had a number of interesting visits to the city to compile this list of my favourite (maybe obvious, but still) bookstores that I like to go to if I want to read or browse books in English.
This may be a very obvious first choice and a very touristy place, but I still love this charming store whose windows look out on the Notre-Dame Cathedral that is situated opposite. The shop has a great selection of English-language books, and is labyrinthic and cosy. It also has a nice café next door that sells delicious coffee, pastries and store souvenirs. Shakespeare and Co. itself is considered a literary landmark of Paris, founded by George Whitman in 1951. Its twin store, opened in 1919, once hosted such literary giants as Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The great thing about Whitman’s store is that it is open until late hours; hosts many literary events that showcase Anglophone writers; and, if you purchase a book there, it will be stamped with a unique Shakespeare and Company Kilometre Zero stamp. The Kilometre Zero of France, or the location from which historically all distances are measured, is located on the square that faces the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
This beautiful store, which is located on the Rue de Rivoli (next to the Jardin des Tuileries), has a great selection of English-language books (nearly all genres are represented), which it apparently sells since 1801 since the store was founded by a Venetian Giovanni Galignani in the same year. High ceilings, ladders and some vegetation give this place an unusual atmosphere. Although the store has a lovely atmosphere and history to boast about, visitors should be aware that most of the books do carry, if not maximum, than very hefty price tags.
This store was founded by American expats in 1997, and it is the place to go in Paris for bargain books. Though there is little organisation of books inside, it is virtually guaranteed that one will find an interesting book there and its price will be more than affordable. They offer second-hand books in all kinds of genres and subjects, and also provide some new books. Its staff is friendly and helpful.
There is also a Taschen Store in Paris located at 2 Rue de Buci. Taschen is an art book publisher founded in Germany in 1980 ,and I have a weakness for colourful Taschen books (so far I have Alchemy and Mysticism by Alexander Roob and a book on Bosch, and would love to add to my collection a Taschen book on Hiroshige and The Book of Symbols). Thus, for those who are looking for some great-looking coffee-table or art books to gift, the store may be an ideal place to go. Other French-books-selling stores I want to visit in future include a beautiful and antique Le Pont Traverse and Librairie Delamain.