Guide to the best Parisian bookshops

MyFrenchLife™ - Parisian bookshops - Paris bookstore - Musee D'Orsay

One of our very favourite things about Paris has to be its legions of bookshops.

Whether we’re looking for the latest in French fiction or exploring the most important social issues, we’re sure to find exactly what we’re looking for in Paris.

Enriched with its literary heritage (everyone from Charles Dickens to Ernest Hemingway found inspiration in Paris), there is no better place to pick up a book and immerse yourself in some truly historical Parisian culture.

So next time you’re in Paris, make sure you have our list of the best Parisian bookshops at the top of your itinerary.

Shakespeare and Company

Potentially the most famous bookshop in the world, this was once the haunt of Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway. Still today, it hasn’t forgotten its reverential literary roots.

Selling beautiful copies of the classics alongside the latest in contemporary fiction, any lover of literature will find themselves overwhelmed by this shop.

MyFrenchLife™ - Parisian bookshops - Paris bookstore - Shakespeare and Co

Shakespeare and Company
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75 005
Métro: Saint-Michel

Le Monte-en-l’Air

You won’t just find books in this bohemian shop, nestled in the 20ème. Le Monte-en-l’Air also has a gallery, in which photos and paintings are changed every three weeks, and a section reserved for nonconforming novels that you won’t find anywhere else.

Even if this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, the shop’s atmosphere is enough to make you forget all about your Kindle…

Le Monte-en-l’Air
71 Rue de Ménilmontant, 75 020
Métro: Ménilmontant or Gambetta

The Abbey Bookshop

MyFrenchLife™ - Parisian bookshops - Paris bookstore - Abbey Often overshadowed by Shakespeare and Company, the largest of the Anglophone Parisian bookshops, The Abbey Bookshop is well worth a visit. Less crowded with tourists, it has a more personal feel that is supported by the welcoming owner.

Featured on Secrets of Paris, which tells us that there is always a pot of coffee brewing for customers, you can really tell that this is a shop run by people who love books, for people who love books. Don’t overlook it.

The Abbey Bookshop
29 Rue de la Parcheminerie, 75 005
Métro: Odéon

La Belle Hortense

As if you needed another excuse to settle down with a good book, this shop allows you to enjoy excellent French wine while you read.

With an excellent (if slightly pricy) selection of vin, and volumes of independent poetry, new releases, and French classics lining the walls, this is a uniquely charming shop.

La Belle Hortense
31 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004
Métro: Hotel de Ville or Saint-Paul

Gibert Joseph

MyFrenchLife™ - Parisian bookshops - Paris bookstore - Gibert Joseph

If you want to stock up on French literature, this is the place to go. It’s a favourite among French students, young professionals, and curious travellers.

Selling second hand books at just one euro each, Gibert Joseph will let you devour as many books as you can carry.

Gibert Joseph
26 Boulevard Saint-Michel, 75 006
Métro: Saint-Michel

Violette and Co

Specialising in literature that defiantly supports the causes of women and homosexuality, this bookshop is a vital resource for anyone with an interest in LGBTI rights.

The store offers everything from scholarly works on rape, deportation, and discrimination, to poetry, comics, and a lovely section for children. It turned ten recently, and we hope it sticks around for a lot longer.

Violette and Co
102 Rue de Charonne, 75 011
Métro: Charonne


MyFrenchLife™ - Parisian bookshops - Paris bookstore - Galignani

Another shop soaked in history, this was the first English language bookshop to open in continental Europe. It continues to sell a range of literature, including politics, fine art, and children’s books.

Selling both Anglophone and Francophone literature, tips Galignani as perfect for locating the rare English version of a French novel.

224 Rue de Rivoli, 75001
Métro: Tuileries or Concorde

Musée D’Orsay Bookshop

Kill two birds with one stone the next time you’re at the Musée d’Orsay, and visit the museum’s extensive bookshop (or if you want to go independently, you don’t need a ticket to the museum to gain access).

Selling books on every artist you could imagine, this is the perfect place to pick up a beautiful book full of images of the art that adorns the walls of the D’Orsay, the Louvre, and countless other museums and galleries.

Musée D’Orsay Bookshop
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007
Métro: Solférino

Le Pont Traversé

This tiny bookshop was once a butcher’s shop, and many of the original features remain intact. And this is only part of its charm. Selling rare books from midday to midnight, this is one of those niche little shops that makes Paris so quaint…

MyFrenchLife™ - Parisian bookshops - Paris bookstore - Pont Traverse

And it’s not just us who love it – Messy Nessy Chic was lucky enough to get some photos of the stunning interior of the shop: head over to her blog to check them out.

Le Pont Traversé
62 Rue Vaugiraud, 75 006
Métro: Saint-Sulpice

La Hune

You won’t find any English books in La Hune, but, if you have a good grasp of the French language, you’ll find plenty to entertain you.

Specialising in the fine arts and social sciences, this is an excellent place to mingle with some intellectual Parisians on the trendy left bank.

La Hune
170 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75 006
Métro: Saint Germain-des-Prés

What are your favourite Parisian bookshops? Share your opinions in the comment box below!

Read more on where to find other great Parisian bookstores
1. finding Anglophone bookshops
2. off the beaten track

Image credits:
1. Musee D’Orsay, via Wikipedia.
2. Shakespeare and Company, by Alexandre Duret-Lutz, via Flickr.
3. The Abbey Bookshop, by D W Webber, via Flickr.
4. Librairie Gibert Joseph, via Librairie
5. Galignani, by Matthew Allard, via Flickr.
Le Pont Traversé, via Google Maps.

About the Contributor

Daisy Naylor

A languages student lucky enough to be living in Paris, I love everything French -literature, film and photography in particular, as well as croissants.

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