updated September 2, 2023 While it’s true that Kindles and other electronic readers are becoming increasingly popular, there’s nothing quite like cozying up with an old-fashioned paper book. Walking over to an English bookstore in Paris and perusing their shelves is a delight in and of itself. Here are a few of our favorite English bookstores in Paris.
1. Shakespeare and Company
A Parisian literary institution since 1919, although found at its current location since 1951, this legendary shop is a must for book lovers. Get lost wandering its maze of rooms (be sure to have a look upstairs!), track down a copy of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, and poke around stacks of other good reads—all of which you can get stamped with the shop’s seal at checkout. You can immediately dig into your finds by heading next door to their more recently added hip coffee shop.
2. The Abbey Bookshop
A short walk from Shakespeare’s and hidden in the heart of the Latin Quarter, this favorite English language bookstore in Paris, has played a vital role in the city’s English book world since its opening in the 1990s. Run by Canadian Brian Spence, you can find a wide variety of new and used books on the shop’s overflowing shelves. Visitors can also enjoy a free cup of “Canadian” coffee, made with a healthy dose of maple syrup.
3. The Red Wheelbarrow
Now located across from the Luxembourg Gardens, Penelope Fletcher’s first shop was found over on the Right Bank from 2001-2012. She reopened at this picturesque location in 2018, where she sells a carefully chosen selection of books ranging from children’s stories to latest releases, which you can take to read in the park across the street or a few doors down to the great contemporary café Treize au Jardin. Her little store is now one of our favorite English bookshops in Paris!
4. Librairie Galignani
One of the oldest existing bookstores in all of Paris, this elegant shop on rue de Rivoli was originally opened in 1801 a few streets away on rue Vivienne. It has large windows, soaring ceilings, and neatly arranged shelves of fiction and nonfiction books in English and French, including an excellent collection of art books.
5. Smith and Son
A few blocks down on rue de Rivoli is the former Paris branch of the popular British bookstore WH Smith which recently became Smith and Son. In addition to a vast array of books in English, they also have a large selection of international newspapers and magazines, British gift and food items, and a charming tea room on the second floor.
6. San Francisco Book Company
Second hand shopping is one of our favorite past times, and this extends to books. San Francisco Books, founded in 1997, carries only used inventory though they do have recent books in stock. If you are looking for something out of print or rare, they can special order for you and they also post books throughout the world. You can also donate your books too. While away an afternoon browsing here and do your part for the planet.
7. The American Library in Paris
Ok – not a bookstore but a borrowing library established in 1920 where many of the books and periodicals were donated by libraries across the US for the armed forces stationed there in World War 1. It is now the largest English lending library in Europe. There are host of activities including free history tours on Fridays, story hour, events for younger kids and teens, as well as authors and other thinkers in conversation.
8. Librairie Gourmande
This is the place for foodies. Founded in 1985, this bookstore has a large range of books on food and wine. There is a good selection of books in foreign languages including those in English. You’ll find selections on French chefs, pastry, general cookbooks in English. There are also books in a host of other languages.
Shakespeare & Company – 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris
The Abbey Bookshop – 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005 Paris
The Red Wheelbarrow – 9 Rue de Médicis, 75006 Paris
Librairie Galignani – 224 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Smith and Son – 248 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
San Francisco Book Company – 17 rue Monsieur le Prince
The American Library in Paris – 10, rue du Général Camou, 75007 Paris
Librairie Gourmande – 92-96 rue Montmartre, 75002 Paris
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- Check out a list of (free!) online courses from Paris, including cooking and art courses
Written by Lily Heise for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long or short term, or buy in France? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.