Four of the best bookstores in Paris

April 12, 2019

Four of the best bookstores in Paris

The elegant streets and iconic landmarks of Paris are practically synonymous with romance when it comes to European getaways, while also being home to some of the oldest and enduring bookstores in Europe.



Arguably the oldest English language bookstore on the European continent, Galignani has operated as a publisher since 1520 while the accompanying bookstore has been going for over two centuries. Their range of both English and French books adorns the hardwood bookshelves which date back to the 1930s, although the store doesn’t seem particularly dated, and contains a comprehensive selection across many different genres. Losing yourselves among the shelves as you peruse the different volumes is easy to do, so you’ll be sure to find something that piques your interest.


Shakespeare and Company

The history of the Shakespeare and Company bookstores is entwined with Paris’ modern history. The original store opened by Sylvia Beach was shut down during the German occupation of France and the current store was created as an homage to its predecessor. Over the time of both bookstores, a number of iconic literary figures have found their way through the doors, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to the Beat Generation’s Allen Ginsberg and playwright Bertolt Brecht. Here you can find new, second-hand and antique books among the shelves stuffed full of every sort of book imaginable, and you’re free to while away the hours within its walls reading to your heart’s content.


Abbey Bookshop

Few bookstores in Paris can rival the pure literary dedication that the Abbey Bookshop has, with second-hand books stacked almost floor to ceiling after running out of room on the shelves. There isn’t an inch of space wasted where there could be more books, creating a chaotic yet endearing ambiance within the store nestled away within the Latin Quarter. The bookstore carries an eclectic mix of English-based books, ranging from academic to action packed fantasy, so it’s worth investigating any tomes that catch your eye to find out what lurks under the cover.


San Francisco Book Company

Over on the Left Bank of Paris lies another second-hand bookstore that’s packed full with as many books as the space allows. The bright crimson facade out front is bound to catch your eye and draw you into the jumble of books that line the walls. This is yet another bookstore you can find yourself wandering through for a whole afternoon, looking through the various quirky pocket books and classic novellas that make second-hand bookstores so appealing. If you’re looking for a unique and personal souvenir or gift to take away with you, look no further than here.


Each of these bookstores is perfect for a little side venture on a visit to Paris, giving you the chance to delve into a bit of book hunting and leaf through  some French history. If you’re a die-hard book fan, take a look at our ferries to Paris so you can pick up as many books as you can fit in your bags without worrying about how you’ll get them all home.


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