Bookstores in France
22 Jun 2012
Cities include (alphabetically within country; if anyone has a better
ordering, let me know):
other geographic areas
[Note 1: I collected these comments from a variety of people. I personally
have no knowledge of many of these places and take no responsibility if you
buy a book you don't enjoy. :-) Phone numbers and precise addresses can be
gotten by calling directory assistance for the appropriate city. Call ahead
for precise hours, as even when I list them they are subject to change.]
[Note 2: If you can add information for any of these, in particular
addresses when they are missing, please send it to me.]
[Note 3: Someone sent this for a particular store, but it applies
everywhere: "Don't complain about high prices; the people in the shop don't
make them, we only try to get a wide range of books and help customers as
well as we can. Books might look a bit than dearer in your home country but
the costs, the costs! We are not, I repeat not, a tourist office--it can be
very annoying to try to do your job and being interupted a hundred times a
day for the way to the Rijks-, Van Gogh or any other museum. (We are
willing to sell you a map of Amsterdam and then point you in the right
[Note 4: The telephone numbers may not be expressed entirely correctly.]
English Bookstore (Pl. Jaques Audiberti in the Old Town of Antibes, very
near the old harbour). Very large selection of both paperbacks and
hardcover books, also a fairly large selection of second-hand books.
It's said to be the largest English bookstore in France (outside of
Paris) and the prices are supposed to be the lowest in any store of
its kind in France!
Klaatu (Librairie Francis Valery 42, rue des Ayres, 33000 Bordeaux). SF
Cannes English Bookshop (11, Rue Bivouac-Napoleon - 06400, 93-99-40-08).
Rather famous (and very good). It's been around for some years.
Arthaud (Grand Rue). The big general bookstore, which has everything.
Glenat (avenue Alsace-Lorraine). For "bandes dessinees" (comix
Get "Le Dahu" (the local alternative/student guidebook, updated annually)
for reviews of other bookshops.
Decitre Bookstore (Place Bellecour). "On one side of the square you
have the English and educational books in one shop. On the
other side of the square you have another shop with French
Eton (just off the Western side of Place Bellecour). This is an
English-language book shop. The shop is quite small but manages to
have a decent selection of everything from SF to Shakespere.
FNAC (in the Centre Commercial de la Part Dieu [a shopping mall just across
from the main station in Lyon] and the other just off Place
Bellecour). Both quite large with a small selection of
English-language books as well (quite an odd mix, though, with an
emphasis on books for those learning English). FNAC is not just a
bookshop, but covers CDs, photographic equipment, computers, etc.,
Flammerion (just off the North side of Place Bellecour). "I can't remember
seeing much in the way of material in English here, but not bad if
you're looking for French literature."
[This part contributed by Gavin Brebner.]
FNAC (in the shopping center "Centre Bourse," near the Canebiere). Another
very big general bookstore, has also nearly everything.
La Passerelle (Rue des Trois Mages, just off the Cours Julien district).
"Cafe/bookshop with one of the best selections of French indy comics
and graphiste publications. An exhibition area upstairs, grafitti
by visiting French comic artists in the toilet."
Virgin Megastore (rue Saint-Ferreol). The biggest general bookstore, which
has nearly everything (also comics, SF, music, ...).
Nice cafe inside at one story of the bookstore. Very few non-French
l'Atalante (15 rue des Vieilles Douves, 44 000 Nantes).
[Surely the home of Jules Verne must have more than this!]
Abbey Bookshop (rue de la Parcheminerie). Canadian bookstore,
specializing in Canadian books, but also carrying a large
supply of British and US books.
Brentano's (37, avenue de l'Opera, 400m from the Opera, 75002 Paris,
Tel 01-42-61-52-50). American bookstore, with specialized
sections, French books and a newsstand that carries American
mags. Very large array of fantasy and SF paperbacks just to
the right of the main entrance. The Horror section is
separate. Very few hardbacks, located near the cashier No
comics to speak of. Will take orders.
Cosmos 2000 (17 rue de l'Arc de Triomphe, 75017 Paris). SF specialty
FNAC Montparnasse (136 rue de Rennes) and FNAC Forum (1 rue Pierre
Lescot). The big store for French books. "I recommend the
one at the Forum des Halles, the huge mall where Les Halles
fruit and vegetable market used to be. They do carry books in
English as well." Has other shops in Paris as well as
elswehere in France. [12/94]
Galignani (224 rue de Rivoli, Paris I). Was the bookstore of the
expatriates of the lost generation, and countless others. Has
managed (for how long?) to preserve the same decor, and same
atmosphere. Good selection of current fiction, paperbacks.
Also magazines (art, fashion and decoration; French, British
and American), and current French titles. Many books on the
arts in general.
Gibert Jeune (179 Bd. St-Michel and other locations). Stores a very
comprehensive range of textbooks (French and international) on
all subjects, paperbacks, art books, guides, literature,
comics, records, video and recently videogames. The main
store has a 5th floor full of foreign literature (many
languages) and self-teaching language methods. A good source
of used paperback SF. Used books are generally mingled with
new ones. For technical and scientific books, also look at
the store on Place St-Michel. Also in other big towns.
L'Harmattan (rue des Ecoles). Specializes in both Africa and other
parts of the developing world with books in many languages
Henri Vignes (57 rue St-Jacques, 18.104.22.168). Used books.
Jean Charles le Carreres (21 rue Mayet, Metro Duroc, 45.66.04.69).
Used books on transportation-related subjects. Open Thu-Sat
16h-19h. "Tea and Tattered Pages" is across the street.
Junkudo (18, rue des Pyramides 75001; 01-42-60-89-12,
FAX 01-49-27-04-84, http://www.junku.fr/)
"Japanese books, magazines and French books on Japan. Also
CDs, videos, origami paper, etc. Chain based in Osaka."
Librairie Breizh (near the Gare Montparnasse). Books and music
about Britanny and the Celtic world in general.
Librairie du Pacifique (near the Sorbonne). A good range of books on
Librairie Le Moniteur Odeon (7, place de l'Odéon, 75006,
01-44-41-15-75, FAX 01-40-51-85-98). "From very technical manuals
on concrete to art books on architecture, the best for architecture
in Paris." Open Mon-Sat 10h-19h. [07/03]
Librairie Gourmande (4, rue Dante, Paris 5). For those who are
interested in books about food and cooking. Some books in
English, but a large and good selection in French.
La Memoire du Sport (103 rue de Paris, 94220, CHARENTON LE PONT,
01-48-93-10-10, metro Charenton-Ecoles (close to Paris)).
"A bookshop entirely devoted to sports, used and recently
printed, with a big part coming from foreign countries.
Leading for football, athletics, boxing, but also good for
others." Does mail order. Open Mon-Fri.
Presence Africaine (rue des Ecoles). Specializes in African books
(mainly in French).
The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore (22 rue St Paul 75004, 01-48-04-75-08,
email@example.com). Books in English. Open
Mon-Sat 10h-19h, Sun 12H-17H. [08/04]
The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore (13 rue Charles V, 75004,
01-42-77-42-17). Children's books. Open Wed-Sat 10h-18h30,
Sun afternoons. [08/04]
Un Regard Moderne (12, rue Git-Le-Coeur, Metro St. Michel). "It's a
very short street with only one bookstore on it, so it's easy
to find. Specialises in surrealism, comics, detective and SF,
some erotica (at the back on the right) and art books. Prices
very competetive; many remainders, and some antiquarian items.
There is no apparent order to the place; it's small and
cluttered, with books piled up everywhere. Great place."
San Francisco Books (rue Monsieur le Prince, Metro Odeon). Books in
Shakespeare and Co. (27 rue de la Bucherie near St. Michel across the
Seine from Notre Dame). Probably the best known English
bookstore in Paris, even more than WH Smith or Brentanos. The
bookstore has an excellent collection of non-fiction with some
rare prints in stock. There is a small but decent collection
of paperback mysteries and SF paperbacks. A lot of good
European travel guides are available. "Shakespeare's deals
mainly in used books though they have a few new titles on
display. The bookstore itself is rather musty and
old-worldish. A steep flight of stairs leads you to a reading
room on the first (American second) floor where there are some
rare, out-of-print books not for sale."
Le Sportsman (7 rue Henri Duchene, 750015, 01-45-79-38-93, Metro
Emile Zola). "The leading bookshop on sport antiquariat and
sport used books/magazines. Very known for cycling, Olympics,
boxing, motor racing, football, physical education and all
other sports even the less known." Open Monday and Friday
Tea and Tattered Pages (24, Rue Mayet, about ten minutes' walk from
Gare De Montparnasse though the nearest metro is Duroc, 75006
Paris, 01-40-55-94-35). This is a used bookstore dealing
almost exclusively in fiction. The selection is pretty good.
You can find some out of print books here if you look long
enough. The plus point abut this store is the low price tags
on the books. Almost all the books sell for less than 25
francs (about US$4). Towards the back of the shop is a small
tea room where you can get American style munchies like
bagels and cream cheese and read some English newspapers and
magazines while sipping your tea.
Touzot (38 rue Saint Sulpice et 22 rue des Quatre-vents, 75278 Paris,
Transmondia (Rue Douai, Metro Place Clichy or Blanche). Nice
selection of books on railroad topics, both European and
American. Also N Gauge model trains.
Virgin Megastore (Champs Elysees). Music and books, particularly in
the field of art and design.
W. H. Smith (rue de Rivoli near the American Embassy and the Concorde
Place). Large English bookstore, carries about everything from
comics to videotapes. The SF/Fantasy/Horror section is now at
the bottom of the store, near the rear entrance. Hardbacks are
displayed on the top of the shelf, with some of the newest
paperbacks. The fantasy and SF are mixed; the horror books use
a separate third of the back shelf. More expensive in the
average than Brentano's.
? (13 rue Charles V 75004, 01-42-77-42-17). Children's bookstore,
French and English. [07/04]
There are 3 Judaica bookstores in Rue des Rosiers, in the Jewish quarter.
(Metro Saint Paul--ironic, isn't it?).
"Don't know the name of the shop I'm about to recommend, but it is on
a corner of the place Sulpice, where the famous church is. It's a huge,
barn of a shop run by publisher Jean-jacques Pauvert. Very good general
stock, tendency toward avant-garde and surrealism. Used books mixed in
with the new. It's close enough to walk to from Un Regard Moderne."
"You really should walk up (and down) the Boulevard Saint Michel to see
a wide variety of new and used bookstores. ..."
"You really should walk up (and down) the Boulevard Saint Michel to see
a wide variety of new and used bookstores. ["Also the Boulevard Saint
Germain and Rue des Ecoles, which intersect Saint Michel" says another
poster.] Most, of course, sell primarily French books but many carry
some English books. Either side of the Seine round Boulevard St.
Michel and Notre Dame are the bouquinistes, the little stalls selling
not only second hand books (almost all in French) but also prints,
postcards old and new, old newspapers and magazines, etc. There is
also a book market at Parc George Brassens, rue Brancion (Metro: Porte
de Vanves or Convention) open Saturday and Sunday from 9.30 to 6. Most
of the books are in French but last time I was there they had quite a
few in Russian and Spanish, though very few in English."
On the third Sunday of every month there is a used book give-away/swap
on a corner of the Rue des Martyrs south of Montmartre. [06/12]
Of Shakespeare & Co., Bill Bryson says in his NEITHER HERE NOR THERE:
"... a wonderfully gloomy English-language bookstore full of cobwebs
and musty smells and old forgotten novels by writers like Warwick
Deeping. Plump chairs and sagging sofas were scattered about the rooms
and on each a young person in intellectual-looking glasses was curled
up reading one of the proprietor's books, evidently from cover to cover
(I saw one owlish young man turn down the corner of a page and replace
the book on its shelf before scowling at me and departing into the
night). The bookstore had an engagingly clubby atmosphere, but how it
stays in business I have no idea. Not only was the guy at the till
conspicuously underemployed--only at the most considerable of intervals
did he have to stir from his own book to transact a small sale--but the
store's location, on the banks of the Seine in the very shadow of
Notre-Dame, must surely push its rent into the stratosphere. Anywhere
else in the world Shakespeare & Co. would be a souvenir emporium,
selling die-cast models of the cathedral, Quasimodo ashtrays, slide
strips, postcards, and Ooh-La-La T-shirts, or else one of those
high-speed cafes where the waiters dash around frantically, leaving you
waiting forty minutes before taking your order, and then make it clear
that you have twenty-five seconds to drink your coffee, eat your baba
rum and clear off, and don't even *think* about asking for a glass of
water if you don't want spit in it. How it has managed to escape this
dismal fate is a miracle, but it left me in the right admiring frame of
mind, as I wandered back to my hotel through the dark streets, to think
that Paris was a very fine place indeed."
Bedecine (7 rue Romiguieres, 31000 Toulouse, +33-61-12-11-85). SF specialty
You can also try http://www.lexlibris.com for French used books.
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