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6 min.

Paris bookshops aren’t an official tourist attraction, but to me, they are like many small shelters scattered around the city. Timeless places that tell of a different Paris, that of neighborhoods and of people who live there.

I spent whole Saturday mornings entering and leaving these doors and even now, whenever I come back “chez moi“, this itinerary through Paris bookstores is like a ritual.

I’ll tell you about my favorite Parisian bookshops in no particular order. Still, at the end of the post, you’ll also find a dedicated map to create your itinerary based on the neighborhoods you’ve already planned to visit.

Le più belle librerie di Parigi

The oldest bookstores in Paris

Delamain

The oldest bookshop in Paris, founded in 1700 and now owned by Gallimard. To me, the Delamain is a real historical monument, facing the entrance to the Comedie Française, a stone’s throw from Garnier and the Palais Royal. It is the paradise of old editions that make you dream.
History, literature, theater, poetry … like an Alibaba cave of French culture.

155, Rue Saint Honore – metro Palais Royal

Jousseaume

One of my favorites, perhaps because the first one I fell in love with right after moving to Paris when I crossed the Galerie Vivienne between that cubbyhole that I used to call home and the site of the Master in avenue de l’Opera. It was founded in 1826, and it still features dark – and rather dusty – shelves and windows – old bound books and editions that cannot be found elsewhere.

Galerie Vivienne (rue Vivienne – rue des Petits Champs) – metro Bourse or Palais Royal or Richelieu Drouot

Leymarie

Founded in 1858 by Allan Kardec, father and theorist of spiritualism and a descendant of the latter still runs Pierre-Gaëtan Leymarie, this somewhat esoteric library.
In addition to the texts by Kardec, you can find any book that deals with secret societies, magic, clairvoyance, and esotericism at all levels. I got some historical texts on witchcraft and tarot cards, a great passion of a dear friend, the great musician of the Paris Opera orchestra with a gift for introspection …

42, rue Saint-Jacques – metro Cluny La Sorbonne

Libre Pensée

A really peculiar place: religious association and seat of the Fédération Nationale de la Libre Pensée, born in 1911. It’s a movement of thought in favor of secularism, among other things. Their slogan is “Ni Dieu ni maître, à la bas la calotte et vive la sociale” and is obviously the favorite library of anarchists, activists, and free thinkers of all kinds. There are texts of history, politics, essays on economic policy, and The Free Idea, the Federation’s magazine.

10, rue des Fosses-Saint-Jacques – metro Luxembourg

Le Divan

Founded in 1921 by Henri Martineau between the rue Bonaparte and the abbey, the bookshop was supplanted by a Dior boutique in the early 1990s, but it didn’t close its doors; it just moved a little further, creating a movement of indignation among the intellectuals of the neighborhood, who have done nothing but increase its popularity … A neighborhood bookshop, which ranges from essays to literature to texts for children to philosophical and artistic postcards that I can’t help but love. A quiet place I can’t resist.

203, rue de la Convention – metro Convention

Joseph Gibert

The most famous and showy, but I don’t particularly like it because it’s very noisy and always crowded. Founded on Quai Saint-Michel by Joseph Gibert, a professor of letters who wanted to create a place dedicated to school texts of all types and levels. I think it’s probably the best-stocked bookshop in Paris, thanks to the perpetual exchange of used books, but there are also board games, maps, tourist maps, travel guides, and comics. Today you can found it in various locations around the city.

26, boulevard Saint-Michel – metro Saint-Michel

The most fashionable bookstores in Paris

Librairie des Abbesses

One of my favorites! Managed with love and competence by Marie Rose Guarnieri, a great connoisseur of literature who devours books and knows how to recommend them. Excellent selection of art books!

30, Yvonne-le-Tac Street – metro Abbesses

La Librairie Gourmande

Founded in 1985, this bookshop is entirely dedicated to the world of gastronomy: from diet books to great recipes and from the latest culinary trends to sommelier guides.

96, rue Montmartre – metro Sentier

Librairie Michèle Ignazi

Letters, philosophy, psychology, essays on psychoanalysis, history, structuralism, literary studies, and everything representing human thought and soul are represented in this small independent library in the Saint-Paul district, frequented by intellectuals of various kinds and levels.

17, rue de Jouy – metro Saint-Paul

Librairie OFR

A super trendy library in the Marais is a true reference for fashion, design, photography, and architecture books. There are fantastic international-themed magazines, and downstairs you can enjoy exhibitions and private sales of famous and trendy artists.

20, rue Dupetit-Thouars – metro Temple

La Belle Hortense

Still in the heart of the Marais, a library that is actually also a wine cellar with a trendy wine bar. A refuge from the chaos of the neighborhood, where you can browse through a book while sipping good Burgundy … perhaps exchanging literary advice with other customers. I love this place!

31, Rue Vieille du Temple – metro Saint-Paul o Hôtel de Ville

Le Merle Moqueur

A beautiful bookshop on the slopes of Ménilmontant, inspired by “Les Temps des cerises” also sung by Yves Montand.
They sell everything: maps, travel guides, books for children and teens, literature, essays, art books, and texts that tell the neighborhood’s story. Their reading clubs are an experience to try if by chance you can stay in Paris for a few weeks …

51, rue de Bagnolet – metro Alexandre Dumas. Since 2013 they also run a second bookstore: Le Gai Rossignol, in rue Saint Martin.

Un regard Moderne

Managed by Jacques Noël since the early 1990s, chaos reigns in this library, but they have everything, and Jacques knows everything … my Peanuts collection and Giardino comics came out of this fascinating bookish confusion!

10, rue Gît-le-Cœur – metro Saint-Paul

Les Mots à la bouche

An LGBT bookshop in the heart of the Marais, open until late in the evening, a true reference point for the neighborhood and an inexhaustible source of themed texts and poetry, and art.

6, rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie – metro Saint-Paul

L’amour du Noir

A true paradise for yellow books, but also science fiction and cinema lovers!

11, rue du Cardinal Lemoine – metro Cardinal Lemoine

Artazart

The bookshop I frequent almost daily, also because it’s right in front of my home, on the Canal Saint-Martin. Open every day since 2000 (we moved there in the meantime!). It offers a fantastic selection of photography and art books, with cool and irresistible fancy accessories!

83, Quai de Valmy – metro République

L’Ecume des Pages

It’s the bookshop of the night owls or, as in my case, of those who choose the birthday present immediately before getting to the birthday party or opt for a good book instead of/ with a good wine bottle to take at friends’ places for dinner … Open every day until midnight, it’s next to world-famous Café Flore.

174, boulevard Saint-Germain – metro Saint-Germain-des-Prés

The most tourist bookstores in Paris

Galignani

The first English Bookshop founded on the continent and probably one of the largest and most elegant, with real antiques and accessories worthy of the best art collections. You can find everything on its bookshelves and meet anyone, from university students to French stars to international ones living in Paris. I used to go there every week when I lived in Paris, and I keep going back whenever I’m in town! The night of the last Harry Potter release, I was in line in front of the Tuileries …

224, rue de Rivoli – metro Concorde

Shakespeare & Company

The most iconic bookshop in Paris is also the one specialized in English literature. You’ll have seen it in several movies precisely because it is very scenic … perhaps the most famous is Midnight in Paris. Books literally go from floor to ceiling, everywhere, and it’s magic (less magical when you need to do the cleaning, and I know because that was my first Parisian job!).

37 Rue de la Bucherie – metro Cluny la Sorbonne or Saint-Michel

Obviously in Paris there is a bookstore every few hundred meters, so if books are your passion, don’t stop “at my list” 😉

Bon voyage et bonne lecture !

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.