29, rue de la Parcheminerie, in the 5th Arrondissement. 01 46 33 16 24.
Mon–Sat, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Canadian-run shop with Anglo-American and Canadian books, and a large secondhand section.
Artazart Design Bookstore
83, quai de Valmy, in the 10th. 01 40 40 24 00.
As the name suggests, Artazart is a design bookstore hawking hardbacks (and paperbacks) in subjects ranging from photography to fine art to architecture. Many of the books are just as stimulating visually as they are literarily, and they’re great for any design student or interior-decorating aficionado.
Along the Seine. Tues–Fri, 2–6; Sat–Sun, 11–6. Summer: about 9:30–7.
These booksellers have been selling their wares along the Seine for nearly 500 years. You can peruse their used or antique books and posters from quai du Louvre to quai des Célestins, in the 2nd and 4th Arrondissements, and from quai Voltaire to quai de la Tournelle, in the 5th and 6th. One can always find something interesting for sale here.
224, rue de Rivoli, in the 1st. 01 42 60 76 07.
Mon–Sat, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
This is a grand institution, claiming to be the first store in Europe to offer English-language books. Today more than half of its 50,000 books are in English. With dark wood walls, it retains a quiet Grand Tour ambience that Henry James would recognize. Impressive range, too: history books, guidebooks, beautiful books on the arts and art catalogues. English selections have their own section, but you’ll find translations scattered throughout. It also has a thriving collection of French-language books. A trip to Galignani is worth it, if not purely to absorb a bit of history—the shop has withstood empires, revolutions and wars. A great haven on rainy days.
I Love My Blender
36, rue du Temple, in the 3rd. 01 42 77 50 32.
Tues–Sat, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Small, idiosyncratic shop whose owner, Christophe Persouyre, used to work in advertising. Not only books—all originally written in English, with many French translations—also Persouyre’s own choice of small and amusing gifts.
Librairie des Femmes
33–35, rue Jacob, in the 6th. 01 42 60 93 76.
Mon–Sat, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
At Librairie des Femmes, visitors will find books written by women, about women and for women. The bookstore is part of a larger women’s collective, organized by Antoinette Fouque, a prominent women’s liberation leader in France. In addition to the bookstore, the collective presents a gallery and several publications under the Editions des Femmes umbrella, and hosts various rendezvous throughout the year.
The Red Wheelbarrow
22, rue St.-Paul, in the 4th. 01 48 04 75 08.
Mon, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Tues–Sat, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sun, 2 p.m.–6 p.m.
In the Marais, this bookstore is small and crowded but the staff is very friendly. It also has a children’s section.
San Francisco Book Company
17, rue Monsieur le Prince, in the 6th. 01 43 29 15 70.
Hours vary, so call ahead.
This bookstore has entirely secondhand stock of English-language reads in hardcover and paperback. It’s dusty and a bit haphazard, so if you’re looking for something specific, be prepared to search. It has some collectibles, plenty of mysteries, airplane fodder and more. You can also sell books here.
Shakespeare & Company
37, rue de la Bûcherie, in the 5th. 01 43 25 40 93.
Mon–Fri, 10 a.m.–11 p.m.; Sat–Sun, 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
Opinions are divided about this “legendary” bookstore, once an expat destination on a par with Jim Morrison’s grave. Not so many new books, much secondhand dust. Every book sold is specially stamped. Carries a few bilingual books, such as volumes of Prévert poems in English and French. In the last few years, the store has rebranded itself with events such as its own literary festival.
W. H. Smith
248, rue de Rivoli, in the 1st. 01 44 77 88 99.
Mon–Sat, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sun, 12:30 p.m.–7 p.m.
The Paris branch of the ubiquitous UK chain offers a huge selection of current Anglophone magazines and British best sellers. The children’s department hosts monthly kid’s club readings. Very popular with both Brits and Americans, W. H. Smith stages its own author readings and discussions.