Places Not To Be Missed: Bilingual Bookshops in Paris
If we are to judge the inhabitants of a city by the number of bookstores in it, then Parisians certainly love to read. Indeed, there are around 160 bookstores in the fifth arrondissement alone. Whether you are a complete French beginner wanting to introduce yourself to the language slowly, or an adept French reader looking to get your teeth into some of the classics, or even if you are just on the lookout for some English texts, these are the three bilingual bookshops to check out around the city.
Galignani is the oldest English bookshop in Europe and according to many, it also happens to be the most elegant bookstore in Paris. This independent bookshop has been running for six generations and it has been a landmark for all the English-seeking Parisians and visitors since 1801. Librairie Galignani is a place where books are not mere products to be sold, but rather precious objects of wisdom and aesthetic delight.
Galignani, 224 rue de Rivoli, 75001, Paris, M° Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 7pm
Formed in 1929, Gibert Joseph is normally packed full with students, selling new and second-hand books, records, videos and stationary on several floors and in several branches on boulevard Saint-Michel. Late September, when students at the nearby colleges buy their textbooks, this chain of bookstores can be particularly crowded!
Gibert Joseph, 50 boulevard Saint-Michel, 75005, Paris, M° Cluny-La Sorbonne, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm
The Abbey Bookshop
In 1989, Brian Spence, who hails from Toronto, crossed the Atlantic to bring his Abbey Bookshop to an international audience. Paris’ first English/French Canadian bookstore is a tiny, narrow shop stocking old and new works, with a specialised Canadian section and highbrow subjects down its rickety staircase. Several thousand more books are also kept in storage.
Abbey Bookshop, 29 rue Parcheminerie, 75005, Paris, RER Luxembourg, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 7pm