Paris is a city steeped in literary history, and English bookstores have long been an essential part of its cultural fabric. From Shakespeare & Co, a beloved institution that has been a haven for Anglophone literature enthusiasts since the 1950s, to WH Smith, a landmark store that has been supplying English books to Parisians since 1903, the city is home to a vibrant community of bookshops that cater to English-speaking readers.
These stores offer a diverse range of literature, from classic novels to contemporary bestsellers, and are the perfect place to discover your next favorite read.
Shakespeare & Co
Cultural icon Shakespeare & Company has been a beloved destination for book lovers of all languages since the 1950s. Boasting a vast collection of thousands of English books, this warm and inviting haven is a must-visit for anyone seeking their next literary adventure. Don’t miss this gem but heads up: it’s going to be crowded and packed with folks — not all of whom are there to read. 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris. www.shakespeareandcompany.com
Smith & Son
Smith & Son, formerly known as WH Smith has been a literary landmark for English bookstores in Paris since 1870. Located on Rue de Rivoli under the arcades, this store offers over 70,000 books and stationery, providing a unique experience for literature enthusiasts. Stepping inside feels like crossing the channel and entering a large London bookstore. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone in search of their next great read. 248 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris. www.smithandson.com
The Galignani family has been in the book business since 1520, with the first Parisian bookstore opening in 1801. A staple of the Parisian literary scene, the majority of their extensive collection is written in English, making it a go-to destination for book lovers. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the shelf, Galignani can order it for you. The store has even counted legends like Ernest Hemingway amongst its clientele. 224 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris. www.galignani.fr
The Abbey Bookshop
Nestled in the heart of the 5th arrondissement, gem The Abbey Bookshop may be small, but its collection of English and general literature is extensive. Its shelves heave with some 40,000 new and old books and the owners are more than happy to order a title for you should the book you’re looking for be unavailable. The vibe here is cosy and expect soothing jazz music to surround you as you peruse its shelves. 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005 Paris. www.abbeybookshop.org
San Francisco Book Company
The San Francisco Book Company exudes American charm as a local neighborhood bookstore. The shelves are stacked from floor to ceiling with books, providing hours of exploration for avid readers. This spot is a treasure trove for finding second-hand books, including rare editions that are no longer in print. 17 Rue Monsieur le Prince, 75006 Paris. www.sfparis.com
Top image credit: Shakespeare & Co