Are you the kind of book lover who seeks out independent bookstores the way other people seek out restaurants? Do you have an adorable reading nook built into a corner of your home? We bet you have a hard time parting with books—filling your walls with shelves of your favorite novels.
We totally get it. We love books too. And you know which city is seriously amazing for book lovers?
While the City of Lights is more famous for its museums and cultural monuments—the Eiffel Tower, for example—the French capital is also a haven for all things literary! Even if you don’t speak French, this city is overflowing with the kinds of bookstores that’ll make you want to drop all your money on the counter and build a whole new bookshelf in your home.
So get ready to start reading! Here are some of Paris’s best bookshops and otherwise literary locations. Your home collection will thank you.
La Belle Hortense
If you love books and wine, then this French bookseller is the one-stop shop for you. This is a bookshop and a wine store, all in one! Located right in the middle of the charming district of Le Marais, La Belle Hortense houses hundreds of books alongside an onsite wine cellar with an extensive selection of classic wines.
The gorgeous décor, colorful setting, and comfy chairs offer the perfect setting to read a book and sip some wine. This is a real book lover’s refuge. Vous en prie!
Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots
These two spots aren’t exactly bookshops, but they do have tons of literary significance! Situated just across the street from one another in the trendy Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, these two cafes are best known for the artsy crowd they used to attract. Writers like Ernest Hemingway, Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir were frequent visitors to both Café de Flores and Les Deux Magots, alongside Surrealist artists like Pablo Picasso.
These days, the clientele isn’t quite so famous, but the literary, artistic spirit lives on. Order a chocolat chaud and imagine yourself discussing A Farewell to Arms with Hemingway!
Shakespeare and Company
If you’re exclusively an English speaker, this is the bookshop for you! Shakespeare and Company has one of the largest selections of English books in Paris, and it’s historical to boot. Its founder, Sylvia Beach, created a stomping ground for famous writers like Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound, and even published James Joyce’s iconic book Ulysses out of the original store. The store exists in a new location now—the original was forced to close during World War II—but its early 20th-century charm is still intact.
The inside of this shop is filled to the brim with books—from floor to ceiling—so the ambiance really doesn’t get any more literary than this. Plus, the store just opened a brand new café, so you can snag a bite to eat while you read.
If you’re a writer, you can even stay overnight in the store, for free! It’s called tumbleweeding, and basically, you’ll get free lodging in exchange for a few hours of work each day and a daily commitment to reading and writing. C’est incroyable!
Artazart Design Bookstore
Artazart is like no other bookstore in Paris. Specializing in photography, design, and art books, Artazart will appeal to your visual senses as much as your literary ones!
A popular hangout for many local art students, Artazart often displays their work inside the shop. Playing host to seasonal contemporary art exhibitions means this store is always packed—but with interesting, artsy people! Plus, this store is right on the waterfront along the River Seine, so you’ll have a lovely place to kick back and enjoy the new books you’ll inevitably leave with.
Are you dying to visit Paris and all its bookstores? We feel the same way! Which of these bookstores are you most excited to visit, and which did we forget to mention? Let us know in the comments!