Are these names familiar? George Sand. Colette. Simone de Beauvoir. Madame de la Fayette. Gertrude Stein. No? How about Moliere, Voltaire, Balzac, Victor Hugo and Zola and Proust. Yeah? Yeah, now I know what kind of reader you are. 😉 So yes, these are some of the most popular writers who lived in Paris at one point in their life. There is something about Paris that attracts both the Emilys and the Gertrudes. Paris is a city of culture, art, and literature after all, and there’s no better way to experience these facets of the city than through its bookstores. While there are many excellent bookshops in Paris, those looking for English books may struggle to navigate the city’s literary scene. Fortunately, several fantastic English bookstores in Paris still cater to English-speaking visitors and locals alike.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the best 12 English bookstores in Paris. And psstttt, I’m inserting some not-so English bookstores in Paris. They are some of the most gorgeous bibliothèque in the world, and if you’re a book lover, there is no way you gonna leave Paris without checking them out as well. You ready?
The Abbey Bookshop is a must-visit for book lovers in Paris. This cozy bookstore is tucked away in the Latin Quarter and offers a wide selection of English-language books. The bookstore’s owner, Brian Spence, is known for his warm welcome and encyclopedic literature knowledge. The store also hosts regular events like book signings and poetry readings.
This place is an absolute dream for book lovers! From the moment you step inside, you’ll be surrounded by stacks upon stacks of books, all the way up to the ceiling. It’s a little slice of heaven if you ask me. I could have easily spent hours just browsing if I had the time.
If you’re a bookworm like me, you’ve got to check this place out. And the best part? The staff is super friendly and fluent in English, so you don’t have to worry if your French isn’t great. They’re more than happy to help you find the perfect book or answer any questions.
Now, I will say that the books are expensive, but they have some really great editions that are worth checking out. All in all, I highly recommend paying this place a visit. It’s truly magical!
Address: 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-7pm; Sun: 2pm-7pm
Finally, a bookstore in Paris that’s completely dedicated to English books – no French books in sight! 🙌 If you’re an English speaker in Paris, you’ve got to check out WH Smith.
They’ve got a fantastic selection of books and magazines covering all genres. And let me tell you, the quality and maintenance are even better than Shakespeare & Co. 👏 Plus, the prices are totally reasonable – you won’t break the bank shopping here.
To top it all off, the staff is incredibly polite and helpful. They’re more than happy to answer any questions and help you find what you’re looking for.
All in all, I give Smith & Son two thumbs up. If you’re craving some English-language literature in Paris, this is the place to go. Especially if you don’t want to rub shoulders with the tourists at Shakespeare and Co.
Address: 248 Rue de Rivoli
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am–730pm; Sun: 123opm-730pm
I have to say, Librairie Jousseaume, according to Nana Lui, a local guide in Paris, is hands down the most stunning bookstore she has ever visited. As soon as she walked in, the old, familiar smell of books took her back to her boarding school library many years ago.
It’s amazing that the shop has been open since 1826 and passed down through generations of the same family. The current owner is incredibly knowledgeable about every single book in the store, and his memory is like a computer!
When she asked him if he had any books on chess, he immediately pulled out a gorgeous vintage volume that was truly one of a kind. And it wasn’t just books – she also found a beautiful vintage map and some other precious items that she couldn’t resist.
She could spend days in this place, browsing and soaking up the atmosphere. I’ll definitely be back every time I’m in Paris – Librairie Jousseaume has stolen her heart and mine!
Address: 45-46-47 Gal Vivienne
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-7pm
If you’re a fan of second-hand bookstores, you’ve got to check out this gem. It’s packed with books in English on all sorts of topics – you’ll definitely find something that piques your interest.
The prices are a bit higher than average, but they’re clearly marked on the first page of each book. And honestly, I think the variety and quality of the books more than make up for it. I mean, it’s even possible to stumble across a first edition of an old poetry book in hardcover for just €15 – how cool is that?
Overall, the condition of the books is pretty good, although a few are a little more worn than others. But in my opinion, that just adds to the charm of the place.
If you’re looking for a cozy, inviting bookstore with a great selection of second-hand books in English, I totally recommend checking this place out. It’s a real treasure!
Address: 17 Rue Monsieur le Prince
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 10am-8pm
From the moment you step inside, you will be struck by the cozy interior, crammed to the brim with an incredible selection of carefully curated books for readers of all ages. I could have spent hours just browsing!
But what really made the experience was the two wonderful women who work there. They were so cheerful and friendly and had fantastic recommendations for books that I would enjoy. I felt so welcomed and comfortable in the shop—it was a truly warming experience.
I even had a blast climbing the ladder to check out the young adult section. And in the end, we left with a huge stack of books and a promise to return again soon.
If you’re looking for a bookstore with a warm atmosphere, friendly staff, and an amazing selection of books, you’ve got to check out this gem in the Latin Quarter. Trust me, it won’t disappoint!
Address: 9 rue de Medicis; 11 Rue de Médicis No. 9 (it got two entrances)
Operating Hours: Mon-Thur: 10am-6pm; Fri:10am-7pm; Sat: 10 am–7:30 pm; Sun: 2pm-6pm
Let me tell you about one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever visited – Galignani in Paris, says Tiara Akiki. This place is a true gem, with a classic old-style decor that dates back to its opening in the 80s. I was completely taken aback by the stunning architecture and elegant furnishings.
And the book selection? Simply amazing. There are so many English books available, including some really special editions that you won’t find anywhere else. As a book lover, I was in heaven!
Even if you’re not a big reader, I highly recommend paying Galignani a visit, if only for the aesthetics. It’s a must-see spot in Paris that truly captures the essence of classic style and sophistication.
In addition to its selection of books, Librairie Galignani also offers a range of stationery, including luxury pens and leather-bound notebooks. The store is also home to a small café where visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while perusing the shelves.
Address: 224 Rue de Rivoli
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-7pm
No list of English bookstores in Paris would be complete without Shakespeare and Company. This historic bookstore has been a fixture of the Parisian literary scene since it first opened its doors in 1919. The bookstore was originally owned by Sylvia Beach, who famously published James Joyce’s Ulysses when no one else would. Today, Shakespeare and Company is run by George Whitman’s daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, and continues to attract book lovers from around the world. The store boasts an extensive collection of books, as well as a lively program of events and readings. A visit to Shakespeare and Company is a must for any book lover visiting Paris.
FUN FACT: The current Paris’ Shakespeare and Company is not the original. I didn’t know this actually, I only learned about it when I visited Shakespeare and Company in Vienna, and the owner told me the original was long gone. So the story was, back in 1951, George Whitman (whom I thought was related to Walt Whitman, lol) opened a bookstore in Paris called “Le Mistral.” But in 1964, he changed the name to “Shakespeare and Company” to honor Sylvia Beach’s iconic store and the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth.
And the best part? Today, Shakespeare and Company is still going strong! They sell both new and second-hand books, and if you’re into rare books, they’ve got you covered too. Plus, they’re a free reading library that’s open to the public – how cool is that?
PERSONAL TIP: Come here early. There is already a long queue long before the store opens. It’s a favorite destination for many traveling book lovers like you and me. The selections are pretty good. I bought Tracy K Smith’s two poetry books, Carmen Maria Machado, and Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Address: 37 Rue de la Bûcherie
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun, 10am-8pm
Lisa: This enchanting independent bookstore located near Opéra Garnier is a must-visit. The atmosphere is simply delightful, and the staff is incredibly friendly and welcoming. You’ll find a great selection of English books, along with plenty of gift ideas and charming decorations to browse through. It’s the perfect place to while away an afternoon, and I highly recommend a visit.
Karishma: The staff at this place is simply the sweetest! Not only do they offer the option to order books for you, but they also have a great selection of English books – which is a rare find in Paris. As a newcomer in the city of lights, I was delighted to find this place and even asked them to order a new release for me, which they did and had it in my hands within a week. The store itself is also gorgeous and definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the 9th arrondissement. And the best part? They have more than just books, so you can find some really unique items there. Highly recommend!
Address: 37 Av. de l’Opéra
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat, 930am-730pm; Sun: 10am-7pm
Where are my fellow Asians at? So this place is for you.
Kate: This is a fantastic bookstore! They’ve got an incredible selection of books on the Chinese language and even some in English. You’ll find everything from HSK study materials to literary works. They’ve also got books in Korean and Japanese. The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable, and they have a great rewards program that earns you discounts. Highly recommend checking it out if you’re interested in language learning.
Address: 72 Bd de Sébastopol
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat, 10am-7pm
Daniela Telehuz: You know that feeling when you walk into a store and time seems to just fly by? Well, this place is definitely one of those! It’s filled with an amazing collection of art albums and unique perspectives on architecture, photography, travel, film, fashion and more, all presented in high-quality paper. I couldn’t resist getting an amazing album about Paris and its rich history. If you’re searching for the perfect gift for someone passionate about a particular subject, this is definitely the spot to check out!
Address: 2 Rue de Buci
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat, 10am-7pm
John Smilgin: France’s National Library is definitely a must-visit spot. The building and reading rooms are absolutely breathtaking. As a tourist, you can admire and capture photos and videos of the reading rooms from the perimeter just inside the security cordon. However, to actually enter and use the reading rooms for research purposes, you need a library card and a valid reason. Nonetheless, it’s still worth taking a peek at this magnificent place.
Address: 5 Rue Vivienne
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-10pm
Cezar Sas: This library is a real gem. While entry is free for visitors, those who wish to use the space for work or study need to register. A one-time library card is provided free of charge, but if you plan to visit more than once, it’s recommended to opt for a yearly subscription which costs €15. This not only allows you to skip the queue but also gives you access to additional resources and services.
Address: 23 Quai de Conti-Institut de France
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm
I had the pleasure of visiting this library during an architectural school trip and I must say, I was thoroughly impressed with the building’s design. As someone who had never been to a historic library before, it was a wonderful learning experience. I was quite surprised to see some negative reviews complaining about visiting hours and security, as my group had no issues entering the library. It’s possible that those who had a negative experience didn’t properly follow the rules or plan their visit accordingly. In any case, the staff that greeted us were polite and informative, taking the time to explain various aspects of the library. Overall, I highly recommend a visit to Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève for anyone interested in architecture or history.
Address: 10 Pl. du Panthéon
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-10pm
So there you go, the best English bookstores in Paris, plus, some jaw-dropping libraries that every book lover’s wet dreams are made of.
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