Lured by the beauty and splendor of the city, writers like Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde, and Gertrude Stein have found both inspiration and a home in Paris. Because of their presence, it seems like there are two distinct parts to Paris: the dazzling nightlife and chic boutiques, and the quieter side, primed for creative inspiration.
You can’t have one without the other and for anyone who wants to fully understand the allure of Paris, a stop at one of the many bookstores is a must. Ranging from small hole-in-the-walls to large, modern designs, Parisians love their bookstores almost as much as they love a good baguette. Here are some of the very best Paris has to offer.
A must for the tourist
Nowhere in Paris is the love of literature more evident than the Left Bank’s Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Small, but bursting with personality, Shakespeare and Company has been open on and off since 1919 and offers primarily English-language books in a wide range of genres, making it a prime spot for tourists. Closed during World War II, the original shop, owned by Sylvia Beach, was mentioned in Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Reopened in 1951 by George Whitman, the now famous shop still maintains it's original quaint and dusty char.
Conveniently located by the Eiffel Tower, The American Library was created toward the end of World War I as a way to deliver books to the troops. Over 100 years later, it is still the largest English-language library in Europe. If you need to escape the rain, dodge the cold or just want to pass the time browsing one of the most historic libraries in the world, The American Library is the place for you.
To support the starving artist
Somewhere in Paris there is an author waiting for his or her big break and independent publishing is the way to make a name for yourself. Help them became the next Oscar Wilde by stopping in Pippa, one of the most popular independent publishers in Paris. Most of the titles will be in French, but the little, red bookstore will make you feel like a true Parisian.