Last Updated on January 1, 2024 by April Verge
Looking for English bookshops in Paris? You’ll learn about all the charming Parisian bookshops you shouldn’t miss, as well as how to find them and what to anticipate, in this post.
Reading through classic literature written by authors who frequently visited Paris for inspiration, smelling new books as you sip your cinnamon latte, chatting with the sweet couple who have owned the neighborhood bookstore their entire lives, browsing through the art and photography books that so effortlessly describe people and places, and more—browsing Paris bookshops is as interesting as anything else to do in the city!
It almost feels wrong to visit a place where some of the greatest authors in history have found not just inspiration but also called its quaint bookstores home.
But as an English speaker, I am cognizant that you like to explore bookstores that are written in the language that you are proficient in.
This article will show you the most well-known English bookshops in Paris, where to find them, and what they have to offer, whether you want to pick up a classic book to treat as a memento or just want to see how a city that is synonymous with authors organizes its books!
Psst! This blog post contains affiliate links in it which sends me a bit of extra money if you use them… at no extra cost to you. Merci!
If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of English bookshops in Paris:
The History of English Bookshops in Paris
English bookshops have been a part of Parisian culture for over a century. They originally catered to expats and English-speaking tourists who were looking for a taste of home. During World War I, American and British soldiers stationed in Paris would often visit these bookshops to find books in their native language.
After the war, the demand for English books in Paris continued to grow. This led to the creation of some of the city’s most iconic bookshops, including Shakespeare and Company and WHSmith. In the 1920s and 1930s, these bookshops became popular gathering places for writers, artists, and intellectuals who were living in Paris. Today, these bookshops still play an important role in the city’s literary scene.
Famous English Bookstores in Paris
Shakespeare and Company – A Literary Landmark
Address: 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
No discussion of English bookshops in Paris would be complete without mentioning Shakespeare and Company. This iconic bookstore was originally founded by Sylvia Beach in 1919 and became a hub for writers and artists during the 1920s and 1930s. The original store was closed during World War II, but it was reopened in 1951 by George Whitman.
Today, Shakespeare and Company is a must-visit destination for book lovers in Paris. And despite its popularity, it’s still one of my top unusual locations in Paris, due to its uniqueness and quirkiness. The store is filled with English-language books, from classic literature to contemporary bestsellers. They also have a large selection of books in French, as well as a small selection of books in other languages. The bookstore has a cozy, welcoming atmosphere, and visitors are encouraged to take their time browsing the shelves.
The Abbey Bookshop – A Hidden Gem in the Latin Quarter
Address: 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005 Paris, France
Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, the Abbey Bookshop is a hidden gem that is popular with locals and tourists alike. This cozy bookstore is filled with English-language books, from classic literature to obscure titles that are hard to find elsewhere. The owner, Brian Spence, is known for his friendly demeanor and encyclopedic knowledge of books.
The Abbey Bookshop is also home to a number of literary events, including book clubs, author readings, and writing workshops. The store has a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere that makes it a popular spot for writers and book lovers who are looking for a quiet place to read and write.
Smith & Son Paris (Formerly WHSmith Paris)- The Classic British Bookstore in Paris
Address: 248 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
If you’re looking for a taste of home while in Paris, then WHSmith is the place to go. This classic British bookstore has been a fixture in the city since 1903 and is known for its large selection of English-language books, magazines, and newspapers. The store has a wide range of books, from bestsellers to obscure titles that are hard to find elsewhere. They also have a large selection of children’s books, as well as a section dedicated to French literature in translation. In addition to books, WHSmith also sells a variety of British snacks and treats, including Cadbury chocolate and Walkers crisps.
The Red Wheelbarrow – A Cozy Space for Book Lovers
Address: 9 rue de Medicis, 75006, Paris, France
Tucked away in the Marais neighborhood, the Red Wheelbarrow is a cozy bookstore that is popular with locals and tourists alike. This small bookstore is filled with English-language books, from classic literature to contemporary bestsellers.
The Red Wheelbarrow is known for its friendly staff and cozy atmosphere. Visitors are encouraged to take their time browsing the shelves and sipping a cup of coffee or tea. The store also hosts a variety of literary events, including author readings and book clubs.
Address: 224 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
In 1801, Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, best known for his association with the namesake execution device, opened a small bookshop on the rue du Pont Neuf in Paris. He called it Galignani’s Library, and it quickly established itself as one of the city’s premier English-language bookstores.
In the nearly two centuries since, Galignani’s has expanded to a three-story shop on the rue de Rivoli, just a stone’s throw from the Louvre. It remains a destination for English-language books, boasting an impressive selection of titles in a wide range of genres.
Galignani’s is more than just a bookstore, though. It’s also a meeting place for English-speakers in Paris, a place to find out about events and activities, and a cultural landmark in its own right.
The American Library in Paris – A Hub for English-Language Culture
Address: 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
Founded in 1920, the American Library in Paris is a cultural hub for English-language readers and writers in Paris. The library has a large collection of books, magazines, and newspapers in English, as well as a wide range of digital resources.
The American Library in Paris is also home to a number of literary events, including author readings, writing workshops, and book clubs. The library has a welcoming atmosphere and is a popular spot for expats and English-speaking tourists who are looking for a taste of home.
San Francisco Book Company
Address:17 rue Monsieur le Prince, 75006 Paris, France
The San Francisco Book Company is situated near to several of the other bookstores on my list in the Latin Quarter.
The bright red facade of this shop stands out against the typically gloomy Parisian street and is sure to attract anyone’s attention.
The bookshop offers used books, the majority of which are classics, classics in limited editions, or works from a previous era.
Ideally, walk over to this wonderful bookstore if you don’t have a certain book or even genre in mind and would want to be surprised by a book, or 10. You won’t regret it at all!
Other Notable English Bookshops in Paris
In addition to the bookshops mentioned above, there are a number of other English bookshops in Paris that are worth visiting. The Berkeley Books of Paris is known for its large selection of secondhand books. Other notable book shops include Village Voice Bookshop and The Bookshop, both of which are located in the Marais neighborhood.
Tips for Book Lovers Visiting Paris
If you’re a book lover visiting Paris, there are a few tips that can help you make the most of your trip. First, make sure to bring a list of books that you’re looking for, as this will help you navigate the shelves more efficiently. Second, be prepared to spend some time browsing – many of these bookshops have so many titles that it can be overwhelming at first. Finally, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with the staff or fellow book lovers – many of these bookshops have a welcoming, friendly atmosphere that encourages discussion and community.