Culture

English Bookshops in Paris

The Abbey Bookshop
29 Rue de la Parcheminerie, 5th
M° St-Michel or Cluny-La Sorbonne
Tel 01 46 33 16 24
www.abbeybookshop.org

Canadian expat Brian Spence runs this independent bookshop specializing in new and used books from Canada (in French and English), the UK and the US . He’ll be happy to help you navigate the densely stacked shelves (on two floors) to find what you’re looking for, and can special order books if he doesn’t have them in stock. It’s a great Latin Quarter alternative to that “other” book store around the corner. You may even see me among the stacks of books sipping coffee in winter (Brian always has a pot on for visitors) or procrastinating on a stool outside in the summer. Many author readings and social events are organized throughout the year in partnership with the Canadian Club (the schedule is usually posted on the shop door). Open Mon-Sat 10am-7pm.

Shakespeare & Company
37 Rue de la Bucherie, 5th
M° St-Michel
Tel 01 43 26 96 50

http://shakespeareandcompany.com/

Open since 1951, this independent, new and second-hand book shop is the successor of Sylvia Beach’s original Shakespeare & Co. in St-Germain-des-Prés, which closed during the Nazi occupation. The founder, American expat owner George Whitman, passed away in 2011, passing the store on to his daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman. They still provide free bunk space in the shop’s library for visiting artists and writers. New and used books, as well as a read-only library upstairs. Note that due to the popularity with tourists, there’s often a line to get in. Check their website for special events and book signings.

The Red Wheelbarrow
9 & 11 rue de Médicis, 6th
M° Luxembourg or Odéon
https://theredwheelbarrowbookstore.com

The Red Wheelbarrow is an independent literary bookstore on the Left Bank of Paris opposite the Luxembourg garden with a range of classic and contemporary literature, gastronomy, children’s books in French and English (at #6), and theory, small press, poetry, history and politics (at #11). Open 11am to 6pm Tuesday through Sunday. Check their website for the latest readings and events.

Smith & Son
248 rue de Rivoli, 1st
M° Tuileries or Concorde
Tel 01 44 77 88 99

www.smithandson.com

This is one of the largest English book stores in Paris (originally WH Smith Paris, branch of the British bookstore chain), with an impressive magazine selection, some British snack foods, and a tearoom upstairs. Open Mon-Sat 9:30am-7:30pm and Sun 12:30pm-7pm.

San Francisco Book Company
17 rue Monsieur le Prince, 6th
M° Odéon
Tel 01 43 29 15 70
https://www.sfparis.com

A huge used book store on the Left Bank, with the followng categories: “Pocket-book mysteries, fiction, and science fiction, Trade paperback and hardcover fiction, Poetry, plays, theatre , film, music and art, Science, history and philosophy, psychology and sociology, Business and economics, Cooking, sports, children’s and travel, First editions, rare, collectible ephemera and more.” Open daily 10am-6pm (from noon on Sunday).

Brentanos
37 Avenue de l’Opéra, 2nd

M° Opéra
https://brentanos-paris.com/

This historic bookshop closed in 2009, then reopened with a new owner in February 2010. Only 40% of the shop is devoted to English language books, and the rest of the store is for Paris souvenirs, postcards, etc. Oddly, the website, which still calls it a “librairie américaine” is only in French and has the wrong street address (it’s #37). Try their FB for more updated info.

Galignani’s
Rue de Rivoli, 1st

I’m only putting them in here so you don’t think I “missed” a spot. Speaking from decades of personal experience, I would say that every other English bookstore (or any Parisian store at all) has friendlier customer service.

Berkeley Books of Paris
Closed in 2020

Tea & Tattered Pages
Closed in 2012

Village Voice
Closed in 2012

Outside Paris

Bill and Rosa’s Book Room
Downstairs at FUSAC, 42 rue du Chemin Vert , 92100 Boulogne

TEL 01 46 09 99 92
https://www.fusac.fr/bill-rosas-book-room/

If you’re in the western suburbs of Paris, consider stopping by this little book room created by Lisa and John at FUSAC. You can buy or sell used books, or become a member to borrow the books. Mostly in English, but also some French books as well, a section of books specifically on the American West, and kids’ books. Hours are limited to Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, check they’re open before visiting.

Discount French Books

Paris has hundreds of independent bookshops, including many used book stores, but the names you’ll want to search for when looking for discount coffee table books include Boulinier, Book Off, and Mona Lisait, all with locations scattered around Paris.