Sunny Sundays and a Good Book…

Over the weekend I found myself almost exclusively in vintage shops and Book stores, I will write about the vintage stores next time as they are quite a culture unto themselves… today though, I thought I would right about some of the book stores I have found and the areas surrounding them.

It seems a bit of an odd topic to be writing about given the limitless museums and other cultural phenomenon available as a topic, However, the concept of a lazy afternoon of flipping through books is synonymous with the ‘take your time and drink some wine’ attitude of Paris.   I consider myself quite the book hoard and enjoy nothing more than a cosy spot with a coffee and something to get my literary teeth round, so this felt like something worth writing about.

The street where you will find Shakespeare and Co.

Rue de la Bûcherie, where you will find Shakespeare and Co.

Shakespeare & Co.

Shakespeare & Co.

 

The Shakespeare Book Company is a little book shop nestled away beside the Notre Dame, the bookshop itself is quite famous, but you could easily walk past it and not even know.It is made up of two stores, one second hand, where you can find fantastic leather bound and first edition treasures-although impressive, it is a little expensive for a uni student. The other is full to bursting point with books both old and new, the shelves pile right to the ceiling and books are stacked precariously on tables. Its the kind of place  you really have to go when its quiet, as there isn’t much room to move, and you have the time to flip through the multitude of  titles ranging from fashion to poetry and fiction. Ladders lean against walls for those short of stature and the whole place echos the kind of charm of yester-year.

Shakespeare and co.

Inside Shakespeare and Co.

One of the few Bookshops in Paris catering to an English audience you can find pretty much anything you need from best sellers to the more obscure bespoke titles. Up a curling flight of stairs there is a children’s section even I envy, a large selection of second hand books and a room where they have poetry readings every Sunday, open to the public. The staff are refreshingly humorous and warm, and every treasure you take home is stamped on the inside cover so you remember the special place you bought it. It is a MUST see if you are ever in Paris, just left of centre of the tourist trap, there really is no excuse not to go.

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One of the many Alternative titles you will find here.

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Chanel is a Parisian Must

As you walk away from the Notre Dame, towards Metro Stations ‘Saint Michele’ and ‘ Cluny – La Sorbonne ‘ you find a charming area where the cobbled streets are flanked by streetside vendors selling crepes, (a Nutella Crepe being a cultural must), falafel, bars and cheap Brasseries offering three course french menus for any budget.  Further down you will come across the church of
Paroisse de Saint-Séverin, even if you are not especially religious, like the Notre Dame its appeal lies in its beauty, where faith is not required to appreciate it. What sets it apart from the other hundreds of churches in Paris is the stained glass windows, although many classical pieces are a part of the building, there are also several windows that are more more modern and alive with colour an pattern, the opposite side of the church has a dozen modern art pieces also on display.

Librairie Galignani is the First English bookstore to be established on the European continent, it was founded in 1520. I was referred here by one of my lecturers, a New Yorker who specialises in luxury branding and has been living in Paris for the last 15  years. He is the sort of guy who has sussed out some of the best local spots to visit and what to avoid.  I was originally looking for a text book for class.(as a side note, in terms of academic material for business, Marketing and Management, this place is THE place to go) Galignani is much more your traditional book shop, although less of a personal experiance than Shakespeare and Co. the size of the shop itself, its central location and the quality of books it has on offer makes it the go to place for anything academic  or travel related.

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The entrance and plaque-stone of Galignani

Just a block up the road is W.H.Smith, this is the most obviously ‘enlish’ of the book shops. Taking up two stories of the building, at first it is like walking into an Angus and Robinson or any other run of the mill chain store, however walk in a little further and you will find  a HUGE amount of English paraphernalia, magazines from all corners of the globe (including the Australian Women’s weekly cooking series) and an entire food section with food stuffs from england and Australia. To my delight they also had Vegemite!! W.H.Smith also has a huge academic section worth looking at, especially their arts and fashion section which is fantastic.

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W.H.Smith

The essentials for surviving Paris...

The essentials for surviving Paris…

Both these stores are on the Rue de Rivoli, one side of which is made up of the Tuileries Gardens, despite it being winter, these gardens are exquisite and overlook the Eiffel Tower. If somewhat cliche, there are plenty of chairs and benches to break the spine of a new book with a coffee, take in the world and feel ever-so french….

The Gardens

The Gardens

Taking in the view....

Taking in the view….

One Response to Sunny Sundays and a Good Book…

  1. Thanks for finally writing about >Sunny Sundays
    and a Good Book | CSU Global Blog | Charles Sturt University <Liked it!

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