Let’s take a little tour around some lesser known, possibly overlooked English book stores. In a city where over 120,000 anglophones resides, and millions of tourists visit, famous places like Shakespeare & Co. and WH Smith seem to get all the attention. But there are those of us who would prefer to avoid the crowds and find our own more discrete, faithful land of books to explore. There is such a diverse choice in Paris, it’s just not always so obvious where to find things.
A good starting place is Galignani, near the Jardin des Tuileries. This gem is known for being the first English bookstore to be established on the continent and also the oldest. A long narrow store with English books all the way down one side and French on the opposite side, they have a huge selection of art, history, politics, travel and cookbooks plus a large section of poetry, classics, bestsellers and crime/thriller/sci/fi paperbacks in a cute little section at the back of the store. Simply charming!
San Francisco Books is a second-hand English bookstore on the left bank of Paris, offering refreshingly affordable prices and taking pride in their high quantity and quality fiction section. You will stumble upon some rare finds among the diverse collection. They even have a free box if you’re in a real bind!
For a stop in the Marais, The Red Wheelbarrow is a must, as it has topped the charts of English bookstores. Although nowhere near as old as some of our beloved favorites, this slight newcomer has proved itself with its selection of books on current affairs, British and American history, as well as biographies, literary criticism and essays, poetry, drama and thrillers. The Red Wheelbarrow also has a comprehensive French-interest selection of history, gastronomy, literature and guidebooks. Shopping for a little one? They also stock children’s books and even takes special orders for their customers.
For you language buffs, teachers, etc., Attica is the place for you. They have resources for learning and teaching over 200 languages. Situated in the 11e, Attica also offers a wide range of DVD for children and adults including many titles in their original version (VO) and language.
Apart from these specifically English bookstores, there are also loads of French bookstores with English sections, for example Les Buveurs d’Encre, in the the 19e. It’s always worth popping in to ask what they have! This is how you discover secrets and hidden gems of your own…in this case hidden between two covers in the form of a book.
Please, if you know of some addresses that we don’t, feel free to share. We’d love it!
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
― Jorge Luis Borges
224, rue de Rivoli
San Francisco Book Co.
17, rue M. le Prince
The Red Wheelbarrow
22, rue St. Paul
106 bd Richard Lenoir
Les Buveurs D’Encre
59, rue de Meaux