A book lover’s guide to Paris

There are so many great things about Paris, from the Louvre, architecture, nightlife and the Seine. But one of my favourites has to be its bookshops. After all, Paris is known to be a paradise for book lovers.

Towards the end of last year, I was lucky enough to visit the City of Love and explore a handful of the libraries it has to offer.

Shakespeare and Company

The first bookshop I visited was the famous Shakespeare and Company. It is right opposite the Seine and within a short walking distance to Norte Dame. It has a selection of books in an outdoor case, with second hand books available to purchase. One of the things I love about this place is the fact that it stays open until 10pm.

A brief history of the place is written on a blackboard in chalk next to the front door. The American owner, George Whitman, had previously written, “I created this bookstore like a man would write a novel, building each room like a chapter.” He bought the shop in the 1950s from a lady he later named his daughter after – Sylvia Beach. His family continue to run the shop to this day.

Inside there are small wooden archways to each section of books. They have a wide range too – from history, young adult, science to modern fiction and more. All of the books are written in English so there was plenty for me to buy!

This is probably the most popular independent bookshop in the world so it’s a must-see attraction. Writers also can stay the night in the beds they have in the shop among the books. The likes of Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald and Jack Kerouac have stayed the night. It’s a very friendly, cosy and homely space.

The shop also has a cafe next door and visitors can play chess outdoors on the beautiful Parisian streets.


Situated near the Louvre, this shop has many books in English and French, including a range of genres – art, children’s, classics, modern fiction and more.

It’s a small shop but it has stairs that lead to bookshelves which are displayed on a metal landing. They have definitely made use of all the space without making it feel cramped. There are leather chairs for customers to sit down while having a relaxing search for their next read.

Two brothers, John and William Galignani, set up the bookshop because of their passion for the written words. William even published novels too.

Next door is a popular cafe and the street itself is a huge tourist attraction, with visitors being able to grab a baguette, buy some souvenirs or indulge in some fancy macaroons.

The children’s book corner is on the ground floor. I was drawn to it because it stood out from the rest of the room and is very inviting. It was decorated colourfully which is different from the elegant, dark shelves around the rest of the shop. The members of staff we spoke to were very helpful and friendly as well.

Gilbert Joseph

This reminded me so much of a shop we used to have in the UK called Boarders. The shop, based on Boulevard Saint-Michael, is huge and very spacious. Every book seemed to be written in French but they have almost every book you could want, including cookery books. It does also have all the latest releases like the other two shops I visited.

All the shelves are very modern, in a light shade of wood. However, even though there are sections that have large amounts of space, there are some some shelves that are too close to one another so you have to squeeze past.

Gilbert Joseph is also a place to buy gifts that aren’t book related. On sale are board games, celebration cards and lots of stationary. There are also cooking utensils available to buy.

Right across the road, there is a shop by the same name, which is also very large but it just sells the celebration cards.

Do you like visiting bookshops on your travels? Let us know some of the best ones you have visited by commenting below or Tweet @bookwormgirl_24