The Canadian Option
It took me way too long to blog about The Abbey Bookshop. Being Canadian myself and considering my very poor French language skills, this bookshop fits the bill for me. A Canadian founded this bookshop. Brian Spence, a Toronto, Canada native, opened it in 1989. More importantly for my language skills, it deals in English books. While Canadian content is available, the inventory ranges across all international origins in new and used English books.
The Abbey Bookshop Location
The Abbey Bookshop is at 29, rue de la Parcheminerie. This Left Bank location is a quintessential Paris location especially for the book trade. The most known name in old Paris bookstores, Shakespeare and Company, is not far. Shakespeare and Company enjoys a wonderful location looking towards Notre Dame. The Abbey Bookshop enjoys a low key, quiet old Paris street. The shop is quietly nestled between the quaint Rue de la Harpe and Rue des Prêtres Saint-Séverin. Rue des Prêtres Saint-Séverin offers another Paris church landmark on a smaller scale than most, The Church of Saint-Séverin.
The Left Bank Bookshops
Rue de la Parcheminerie was originally named as rue des Escrivains so the area was a central location for the Paris book trade. The Sorbonne University is in close proximity. During our Left Bank walks, we are often following University students. Our usual walk to The Abbey Bookshop takes us through Luxembourg Gardens. Large green space for reading, university life, so little wonder the bookshop trade flourishes on the Left Bank.
Gibert Joseph, one of Paris’ largest mainstream bookstores, has a location on the main thoroughfare, Boulevard Saint-Michel. To keep with some other English bookshops, I have found a few in close proximity, near the Luxembourg Gardens. Berkeley Books of Paris is at 8 Rue Casimir Delavigne, a stones throw from Luxembourg Gardens. The San Francisco Book Company is not much further. You would need a bit better arm for this throw. It is at 17 Rue Monsieur le Prince. I’m thinking that California is trying to impact the Paris book market. For reading, apart from green space, you may find the odd cafe around as well. Starbucks is also starting to take over.
As I mentioned, unfortunately I don’t know French well enough to read French. I think the best solution is for me to spend more time in Paris specifically or France in general. Therefore, I would improve my French. Then I could branch out to add the French bookshops to my repertoire. In time, I will be blogging on French bookstores.