“Bien sûr nous avons la Seine” (Of course we have the Seine) sang Barbara in her beautiful ballad, Göttingen... And it’s on the banks of the Seine where you can find a wealth of bookstalls and, nearby, beautiful bookstores... Paris is written about, but Paris also reads and reads a lot. So, here’s a brief guide to the city’s shrines to the written word.
Our district’s bookstores
Closest to the Hotel Albe Saint Michel is the renowned Shakespeare & Co (37, Rue Bûcherie). Not the playwright in person, of course, but a true institution of English literature that has stood opposite the Seine since 1951. Novels in English, rare books, literary meetings, readings and coffee are all offered in this splendid bookstore that is famed throughout the world.
Head to the legendary Boulevard Saint-Germain and discover, just next to the Café Flore, L’Ecume des Pages. Here you’ll find some 40,000 titles carefully selected by passionate booksellers to delight the true lover of books, from novels to comics albums by way of philosophy, political science and poetry. Open until midnight!
Moving (a little) further afield
Cross the Pont des Arts (ideal for staying in the mood!) and then the courtyard of the Carrée du Louvre and you’ll reach the Palais Royal and its wonderful bookstore Delamain (155, Rue Saint-Honore). Over 25,000 titles featuring human sciences, fine arts, tourism and, of course, literature from around the world presented on beautiful wooden shelves polished by time. This is the oldest bookshop in Paris, founded in the 18th century and relocated to its current premises in 1906 following a fire at the Théâtre Français.
And there’s more...
We can’t finish without mentioning Chantelivre (13, Rue de Sèvres), a bookshop specialising in children's books. You might also want to visit the Librairie de Paris, a superb establishment in the Place de Clichy where talks and readings by authors regularly take place. Happy reading to all!
Hotel Albe Saint Michel, a 3-star hotel in the heart of Saint-Michel district