Stunning new tome tours Paris’s most magical bookstores
“This book introduces you to the places that are anchored the reputation of Paris as a literary capital.’
So writes author Sandrine Voillet in the introduction to her new book, Literary Landscapes Paris, published by Pavilion, which puts the spotlight on the French capital’s most valuable bookshops, as well as looking at famous literary restaurants and the city’s “history streets”. .
Among the bookshops featured in the tome are the oldest bookshop in Paris – a favorite of writers such as Foucault and Alexandre Dumas – and the Librairie Auguste Blaizot, considered France’s most famous antiquarian bookshop.
Reflecting on the importance of the book trade in Paris, Voillet writes in the foreword: “The role of bookshops seems so essential that books were seen as a basic need during the pandemic lockdowns, allowing bookshops in France to remain open alongside grocers and pharmacies. Food for thought.’
She adds: “I am sure that after reading this book you will be drawn to Paris. As the philosopher Walter Benjamin said, “Paris is the great reading room of a library through which the Seine flows.”
Scroll down for a literary tour of the fabled French city…
SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY, 37 RUE DE LA BUCHERIE: An “eccentric” American ex-soldier named George Whitman opened this bookstore after World War II, Voillet reveals. It was named after another Parisian bookstore called Shakespeare and Co that closed during the war. Before its closure, it was famous as a meeting place for the likes of Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce, according to the book notes
LIBRAIRIE JOUSSEAUME, 45 TO 47 GALERIE VIVIENNE: The author says of this bookshop: “This antiquarian bookshop, founded in 1826 in a magnificent covered passage – one of the most beautiful in Paris – is known as Galerie Vivienne and specializes in books from the 19th and 20th centuries history, poetry, theater and music, as well as beautiful illustrated books, engravings, postcards and greeting cards”
LIBRAIRIE DU PASSAGE, PASSAGE JOUFFROY: This bookstore stocks “no fewer than 30,000 titles dedicated to the visual arts, with an enormous selection of books on decorative arts, sculpture and design,” reveals the author. She continues, “These are expensive books, and the staff aren’t too happy when design students come in and photograph pages or take notes.”
HALLE SAINT-PIERRE, 2 RUE RONSARD (LEFT): Located in a building designed by a student of the famous French architect Victor Baltard and built in 1868, this bookstore was once used as a food market and then as a school, the book is revealed . SAN FRANCISCO BOOKS CO, 17 RUE MONSIEUR LE PRINCE (RIGHT): Voillet says of this store: “The San Francisco Book Co. in Paris was founded in 1997 and specializes in used books. There is usually a shopper in the bookstore every day when you have something to sell, but preferably a full shelf.
ABBEY BOOKSHOP, 29 RUE DE LA PARCHEMINERIE: This English-language bookshop – housed in a former hotel – was first established in 1989 by Canadian bibliophile Brian Spence, who is known for “treating his customers with a free cup of coffee.”
LIBRAIRIE AUGUSTE BLAIZOT, 164 FAUBOURG SAINT-HONORE: This “really upmarket” shop is “arguably the most famous antiquarian bookshop in France,” notes Voillet. In addition to selling rare and vintage books, the book says the family behind the store has “published classic novels and collections of poetry, including unpublished works by Victor Hugo.”
LIBRAIRIE FRANCOIS CHANUT, 41 RUE MAZARINE: In this antiquarian bookshop that sells books from the 19th century, you can enjoy the “intoxicating smell of old leather and aged bindings”, as the book reveals
LES MOTS A LA BOUCHE, 37 RUE SAINT-AMBROISE: Founded in 1980, this “pioneering LGBT bookstore” has 12,000 titles, as the book reveals. Previously located in the Marais district, it was sadly evicted from its premises due to rising rents and is now near the Pere Lachaise cemetery, Voillet notes
LIBRAIRIE DELAMAIN, 155 RUE SAINT-HONORE: “The oldest bookshop in Paris, Librairie Delamain first opened in the early 18th century,” reveals Voillet. She adds that “Delamain has been a haunt of many famous French writers over the years, including Alexandre Dumas, Guy de Maupassant, Jean Cocteau, Colette and Michel Foucault”.
Pictured author Sandrine Voillet writes: ‘My passion for books started early. First they were a way of embarking on imaginary journeys as a child, then they became my refuge as a teenager, before finally becoming a compulsive reader and buyer as an adult.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-11907379/Stunning-new-tome-tours-Pariss-magical-bookstores.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Stunning new tome tours Paris’s most magical bookstores