Paris will never be short of bookshops, and for the travellers convenience, many are open late at night. For those who spend considerable time in Paris as I do, and I confess I am still not that fluent in French, there are lots of bookshops catering for those in need of English language books.
Here are some bookshops to get you interested – in no particular order of preference. If they do not have a website I have added the address. Otherwise the websites will give you all the addresses and opening times.
Without my help most find the famous English bookshop Shakespeare and Co on the Left Bank. Famous as its founder was very supportive of writers living in Paris in the early 20th century. Though it is not in its original location you may make the mistake of thinking it is, for the tiny premises are overstuffed to the gills and on occasions someone belts out a tune on an old upright piano squeezed in between the bookshelves in the back of the shop. The cashier will stamp your purchases with the Shakespeare ink stamp on request.
The Village Voice is another favourite of mine and like many bookshops situated on the Left Bank. See its website for its readers series and events. Or if you are in Paris for a long stay, don’t waste time, call in straight away to ask for the leaflet that has the author events listed. There is no charge to attend unlike most book signings and authors talks in Australia.
San Francisco Book Co – with a name like that you wonder how it survives in Paris sounds but its commercial success lies in its dealership of second-hand English books.
Abbey Bookshop is yet another idiosyncratic overcrowded shop where you are likely to overhear an intense ‘literary’ conversation between the bookseller and the customer as you squeeze through the barely viable access to the books. Another Latin Quarter location, actually it is quite close to the Shakespeare & Co. Abbey Bookshop don’t appear to have a website yet they maintain a page on Facebook to encourage loyalty. 29, rue de la Parcheminerie 75005 Paris, France +33 1 46 33 75 00
Museums and art galleries of Paris – don’t forget to save some money for the well stocked bookshops attached to every museum in Paris. Here you will also find childrens’ needs catered for with books that relate to the collections.
Librairie La Bail-Weissert has atlases, rare maps and engraving from the 15th to 19th century. They also have topographical maps of European and world cities and regions. I am told there is also a superb collection of architectural engravings. Here is the address because the last time I checked the website did not load. 5, rue Lagrange 75005.
Another antiquarian bookshop with a similiar name is Librairie le Bail at 13, rue Frederic Sauton, 75005.
I am devoted to this store and always call in on my visits to Paris – Deyrolle are both publishers and taxidermists. Downstairs are luxury items for gardeners. Upstairs you will find their own publications of books, posters and all manner of scientific and zoological topics. On my last visit an intriguing exhibition by Anne Delporte who used the anatomical illustrations to create works of ‘subtraction’. The catalogue I bought included an English translation.
Galignani is a large store that is in its original location, books in both French and English.
Tea and Tattered Pages is known as an English language paperback bookshop. You can take tea at little tables toward the back. Here is the website but I warn you it is simplistic and old fashioned like its logo.
And finally right up my alley is a small cookbook shop in the 11th arrondisement. La Cocotte has a few titles in English but it is interesting to see many books I already own translated into French and that includes many Australian authors.