The Best Bookstores in Paris

April 18, 2019

Filed in: Field Guide

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When I packed my suitcases to move to la belle France, I brought some books. Pretty sure they contributed to the fact that all my suitcases were overweight (in my defence, I only packed two for an entire year abroad), but that didn’t deter me from buying another two books a couple months after arriving, found in some of my favorite bookstores in Paris.

To say that I am a bibliophile…well…you wouldn’t be wrong.

Bookstores (called librairies in French — the library is la bibliothèque) are some of my happy places. There is peace and calm among the spines. Not many things smell better than the fresh pages of a new book, in my opinion.

facade of shakespeare and co, one of my favorite bookstores in paris

So, here’s a running list (that will be updated) with some of my favorite bookstores, my favorite place to be when I’m not running around the city. I hope you find your next favorite read!

English Bookstores in Paris

Located just behind the Fontaine des Médicis in the Jardin du Luxembourg, The Red Wheelbarrow is an anglophone bookshop that also offers some French titles. Fiction, nonfiction, specialty books, children’s literature…it’s probably here, and the owner is lovely. She used to own a bookstore in Le Marais before opening this current location.

After you’re done browsing (and buying), hop over to 13 au Jardin for tea and coffee, plus pastries from the dessert bar. One of my favorite pastimes? Reading and eating. It’s the perfect setup, especially when it’s warm and you can sit on the terrace.

9 Rue de Médicis 75006

Métro RER B

A classic, and I couldn’t leave it out even if I wanted too. It’s a little too crowded with tourists for my taste, but the facade is fun, especially in the springtime with the cherry blossoms. Inside is dimly lit, and the walls are crammed with books from floor to ceiling. It’s worth climbing the winding staircase and squeezing between fellow bookworms for a tour. And after you’ve found the perfect read, crack it open at the café next door.

37 Rue de la Bûcherie 75005

Métro line 4 Saint Michèle

RER B Saint Michèle

My Other Favorites: Food, French, and Art

I think this is hands-down my favorite bookstore. It’s dedicated to food. Cookbooks, food literature, magazines, you name it. If you can think of it, it’s probably here, as long as it’s related to food. I love to peruse when I’m in the neighbourhood, and if I’m not careful…I might come out with a stack of books.

92-96 Rue Montmartre 75002

Métro line 3 Sentier

For art lovers, this is a haven for anything related to the practice — all disciplines. Plus other titles, but mostly art. It’s quite stately, as it should be, and it sits on Rue de Rivoli, opposite the Tuileries. I like to browse for artistic inspiration and find new ideas for my photographs.

This is the art bookstore in Centre Pompidou, which is a library, modern art museum, movie theater, and some other things I can’t remember. But the books are good. Again, all art-related, and there aren’t really spaces to sit, but it’s fun to look around. You can also get a great view of the city for 5€ by climbing into the tunnels.

Place Georges-Pompidou 75004

Métro line 11 Rambuteau; Châtelet 1, 4, 7, 11, 14

Châtelet Les Halls RER A, B, D

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Paris & California strolls; plenty of flowers; stories; and looking for the beauty in the everyday. I hope you'll come along as I take the year to document the entirety of my home state!