3 wonderful French book stores in Paris that you will love

Written by on September 20, 2017 in Arty, Paris

Happily, one-of-a-kind bookshops are alive, well and thriving in Paris, and everyone seems to have their favorites. More than just stop-offs to find a good read, these three are slightly off-the-radar and provide just enough zip and zing to keep me coming back.


It is no accident that Librairie Alain Brieux is located almost around the corner from the College of Medicine Paris Descartes on rue Jacob. More than a bookshop, the librairie is a portal to the past that feels like you’ve walked onto a Harry Potter film set. Besides its formidable selection of antique medical books, it is the cabinets of curiosities and objets packing their shelves that will grab your attention: stuffed animals, skeletons and skulls, cringe-worthy scientific, medical and dental instruments, other-era globes, fossilized eggs, antique maritime brass telescopes, engravings, parlor games… In short, a place guaranteed to ignite your inner adventurier. More good news is, everything you see – save for the enormous crocodile hanging from the ceiling in the front room – is for sale. Browsing is encouraged and one does not have to be in the medical profession to appreciate this easy-to-walk-past gem.

48 rue Jacob 75006 Paris; www.alainbrieux.com; Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Line 4), Mabillon (Line 10)


Coffee, art, and seriously funky art books co-mingle in this “concept space” that used to be an enormous covered market. An unexpected oasis known to induce gasps in first time visitors, Halle Saint-Pierre is a world away from the nearby tourist hordes at the foot of Sacre Coeur. On the left as you enter is an inviting café with a health-conscious array of baked goods, light salads and quiches on the countertop at lunchtime. If you get lucky as I did one morning you’ll be kept company by macabre papier-mâché sculptures while nursing a grand crème. Wander behind the black curtain into the Musée d’Art Naïf where works by heavy hitters such as New York enfant terrible Warhol protégé Jean-Michel Basquiat might be on exhibit. The can’t-miss light-flooded bookstore with its fringe art-related titles – many in English – makes this destination truly exceptional (top photo).

2 Rue Ronsard 75018 Paris; www.hallesaintpierre.org; Metro: Anvers (Line 2)


Artazart first caught my eye as I walked out of Marcel’s on the Canal Saint-Martin about a year ago. Its friendly graffiti-feel red façade across the water promised an artsy experience – and I am all about the experience – and it was. Seventeen years ago the bookshop started out selling art books only, but later design, photography, architecture, and a très originale children’s section were added to its repertoire. Their appreciation for the avant-garde began to attract alternative publishers, which translates into a trove of some of the most creative content you’ll ever leaf through. While their kids’ books are primarily in French, many feature pop-up cut-outs, which make them coveted by parents and grand-parents from all language backgrounds. Artazart’s location on the canal, smack in the middle of many fabuleux places to eat, drink, and hang, will turn a visit to this intimate librairie into an outing.

85 quai de Valmay 75010 Paris; www.artazart.com; Metro: Jacques Bonsergent (Line 5)

3 Brilliant English language book nooks in Paris that you will totally fall in love with

4 more fabulous book shops in Paris including one that’s open until 2.am and serves wine!

Read an in-depth article about the brilliant book shops of Paris in the totally free to read The Good Life France Magazine

Barbara Pasquet James is a U.S. lifestyle editor, speaker, and urban explorer who writes about food fashion and culture, from Paris. She is known for helping launch, write and edit USA Today’s City Guide To Paris and can be contacted via her photo blog FocusOnParis.com

Related Articles

Iconic Morris Columns of Paris

Iconic Morris Columns of Paris

Written by on August 24, 2020 in Paris

If you visit Paris, you can’t help but notice tall cylindrical dark green columns with advertisement posters plastered round their middle. Colonne Morris (Morris Columns) as they are known, are an iconic feature of the city’s landscape as much as the red post boxes of London and the fire hydrants of New York. And yet, […]

Continue Reading

Castles you can visit on a day trip from Paris

Castles you can visit easily in a day trip from Paris include Chenonceau, the gorgeous Castle of Flowers, enchanting Chantilly and fabulous Fontainebleau. If you’re in Paris, we know you’ll have plenty to do and see, but the chateaux of France are super special and when it’s this easy to  visit, it really adds something […]

Continue Reading

10 Cities to visit on a day trip from Paris

Of course Paris has plenty to keep visitors happy for weeks on end. But. Sometimes it’s great to get out of the city. To see what else France has to offer. It’s really easy to get around and about by train from Paris. We’ve chosen 10 captivating cities you can easily visit on a day […]

Continue Reading

Guide to the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur Paris

You might think, when you visit Montmartre and gaze at the beautiful church of Sacré-Coeur, perched on a hill in the highest part of Paris, that is has been there for centuries. There is something timeless about the iconic luminous domes, pure white walls and elegant lines. But this is a relatively modern church. The […]

Continue Reading

The story of Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris, the grand Gothic cathedral on the Île de la Cité is a symbol to millions. Not just to Parisians but to many around the world. When in April 2019, a fire broke out at the Cathedral, the world watched as the tragedy unfolded and an outpouring of love for the building showed […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.