Antique books in a shop window along a street in Paris
Books & Guides & Writing

Buying Books For, About and In Paris

Antique books in a shop window along a street in Paris
Antique books in a shop window along a street in Paris

Buying your books in Paris
If you want a free guidebook when you arrive in Paris, visit the  Paris Tourist Office for guidebooks or download and read them before you arrive. If you decide to buy a guidebook when you arrive, Paris has English language bookstores and guidebooks available at some kiosks, English and French book stores and second-hand stores.  “Relay” is a kiosk found in the train stations, airports and in the metros. FNAC is a French bookstores where you might find English language guidebooks. W.H.Smith and Galignani are the largest English language Paris bookstores.

Some smaller Paris bookstores off the beaten track are still around. They offer the opportunity to rummage, buy online, slide the shelves, search through double-stacked shelves. At The Abbey Bookshop and San Francisco Book Co., you can ask for a database search. The Abbey has some shelves hidden behind sliding shelves. At San Francisco you move and remove hard cover books to see behind the double-stacked shelves. At Berkeley Books of Paris some excess books are in letter-labeled bags. The bookstores are in scenic locations on back streets, which often have narrow walkways. You become integrated with the books. The air of these bookstores permeates with personality.

Rows and stacks of books - the interior of The Abbey Bookshop in Paris new and second-hand books in English
The Abbey Bookshop

The Abbey Bookshop – Canadian bookstore in Paris since 1989, Brian, owner
New and second-hand books–you may find the unusual not found in other bookstores
29, rue de la Parcheminerie 75005
Metro: Saint-Michel, Odéon, Cluny-La Sorbonne
Open Monday to Saturday: 10 am to 7 pm
Phone: 01 46 33 75 00 or 01 46 33 16 24

Berkeley Books of Paris, Phil Wood, Owne
American & English second-hand books
8 rue Casimir Delavigne 75006
Metro: Odéon, Cluny-La Sorbonne
Open: Monday to Saturday 11 am to 8 pm and Sunday 2 pm to 7 pm
Good books for literature, history, philosophy, social sciences
Telephone 01 46 34 85 73

San Francisco Book Co. , Jim Carroll, owner
American & English Secondhand Bookshop since 1997 (general pocket to rare)
17, rue Monsieur le Prince 75006
Metro: Odéon
Open: Monday to Saturday 11 am to 9 pm Sunday 2 pm to 7:30 pm
Telephone: 01 43 29 15 70Shakespeare Co books

Shakespeare and Company , a Paris icon and attraction
37 rue de la Bûcherie 75005
Open Daily 10 am to 11 pm Sunday 11 am to 11 pm
Across the Seine from Notre-Dame
Telephone: 01 43 25 40 93

W.H. Smith
248, rue de Rivoli Paris 1st
Metro: Concorde
01 44 77 88 99
Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday and holidays 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Open 362 days a year; Closed January 1, May 1 and December 25

“The first English book store established on the continent”
Librairie Galignani is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 7pm.
224, rue de Rivoli Paris 1st
01 42 60 76 07

FNAC stores in Paris
Paris – Forum des Halles
Paris – Montparnasse
Paris – Gare de Lyon
Paris – Gare de l’Est
Paris – Saint-Lazare
Paris – Italie 2
Paris – Gare Montparnasse
Paris – Champs-Elysées
Paris – Bercy Village

A Guide to Paris for Lovers of Literature

Books about Paris

Hour from Paris Annabel Simms book An Hour from Parisby Annabel Simms

Within the first five pages I was swept into the desire to read the entire book. The personal update acknowledgements invite me to meet Annabel personally knowing that each word I will read in the book will be from her heart.

I noticed immediately its compact size and weight. The immediate clarity of the first map of journey times plants the travel seed. With the Pass Navigo valid for all zones on the weekends or buying a ticket on the RER,  I am invited to begin an inexpensive one-hour journey from Paris to a destination.

The fourth photo within the pages is of the Abbaye de Royaumont reminded me of a spring visit a few years ago. I instantly recalled the mother swan and her babies paddling quietly in the water and the music CD we bought in their shop.

For another of your proposed destinations, Moiret-sur-Loing, we rented bikes in Paris and ported them on the RER. We rode around a peaceful countryside not far from Fontainebleau and during a festival in the village, stopped at the famous La maison des sucres d’orge. I am looking forward to taking all of the journeys. Read the full review of An Hour from Paris
Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light David Downie
Follow the journey of footsteps in the vignettes of David Downie’Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light. They are perfect bedtime stories or café reading. In this updated edition of David’s travel book, his stories reveal his personal wit and tongue in cheek humor. This adds charm and brings out a smile as you read about his own Paris history and reflections in each vignette. Continue reading my review Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light.

Book cover of Intoxicating Paris, Uncorking the Parisian WithinPJ Adams‘ recent book, “Intoxicating Paris, Uncorking the Parisian Within“, is a combination of helpful hints all rolled into one. It is a personal insight, lightweight travel guide with suggestions, partial psychological and psychotherapeutic guide to American and French cultural differences…. Read the full review of Intoxicating Paris, Uncorking the Parisian Within

Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne
This is a great book on the history of Paris — reads like a novel — hits the highlights from the beginning to about 1969. Although there are details, it flows like the Seine.
The Seven Ages of Paris is an abridged cultural, architectural and personality history, which makes it quite interesting. It is a pleasure to pick up and read and put down, but you cannot wait to get back to it again.

Paris was not always a city of light. On the contrary, it was quite sludgy, muddy, foul-smelling, and a real den of thieves. So where did the light come from? Individual lanterns gave way to groups of candles in a lantern (6,500 lamps had to be lit every night) to oil and then to gas under Louis Napoleon and Haussmann.
Most of the kings and emperors put their mark on its architecture, either with new designs or modifying what someone had done before: Henry IV’s red brick at Place Dauphine and Place des Vosges to the variety of ecclesiastical styles and ornate opera under Louis Napoléon (who also carried out many of his uncle’s building plans).

Accessibility in Paris
Access in Paris: A Guide for Those Who Have Problems Getting Around (Access Guides)

“This well established guidebook was originally published in 1974, and was the first guidebook ever to use the title ‘Access’ referring to access by disabled people. Later editions were published in 1985, 1993 and 2008.

The website includes updated information and is available as a book or can be downloaded in PDF format from the website from June 2008.” Contact Gordon Couch

According to the Access in Paris Website: “They are working with the Association des Paralysés de France ( and with a group called Mobile en Ville ( who, among other things, have mapped the pavements in the whole of Paris for their surface and the height of any ramped kerbs. The maps and other useful information is held on their Website.”

Colleen’s Paris Back in Time

Paris apartments