Bookstores in Paris, Plus Frills

BHV, from Five Hundred Buildings of Paris, photos by Jorg Brockmann and James Driscoll, text by Kathy Borrus

Blogathon June 24, 2015

Unlike yesterday’s blog (, which featured bookstores primarily selling English titles, the ones below either specialize in a particular subject such as architecture (Le Moniteur) or offer a different ambience with titles, new and used, in either French or English or a combination of both, as well as gifts.

2nd Arrondissement
37 Avenue de l’Opéra
Phone: 01 42 61 52 50

An independent American Bookstore dating back to 1853 in NYC, it opened a branch in Paris on rue de l’Opéra in 1895 where it operated until 2009 when its parent company, Borders, filed for bankruptcy and closed the store. But a year later, in 2010, Iranian businessman Farock Sharifi gave it new life (and financial backing). Under his guidance the store now sells gifts and stationery products as well as books. It’s bigger than it appears on first entry as it winds around to a more spacious interior. Although I once did a book signing here, I haven’t been back to see its expanded selection of gifts. Next trip!

An interesting historical side note: During WWII and German Occupation, Brentano’s began publishing French literature by French writers-in-exile, under the imprint Éditions Brentano’s.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30AM-8:30 PM. (The website listing does not seem to work, so call to be sure it’s open.)


4th Arrondissement

52-64 rue de Rivoli
Phone: 09–77–40–14–00

Formally known as Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville, BHV informally dates back to 1856 when Xavier Ruel peddled a cart with tchotchkes at the same location. In 1904, it opened its doors as a department store and has always been a popular store with great prices where you can find anything. So, technically it’s not a bookstore at all, but it has quite a large selection of titles, DVDs, and it’s simply a fun store to visit (though the prices are not as Wal-Marty as they used to be), and a great place to find gifts and shop as the locals do. It sells just about everything: fashion, household goods (door knobs, paints, dishwasher, anyone?) to office and art supplies, linens, lingerie…you get the picture. It’s still a bazaar—BHV in the Marais.

Monday – Saturday: 9:30 AM – 8:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:30 AM – 9:00 PM

6th Arrondissement

Berkeley Books of Paris
8 Rue Casimir Delavigne
Phone: 01 46 34 85 73

This one was inadvertently left off my English only list. Former employees of the San Francisco Book Company opened this store in 2006. The shelves are stacked with secondhand American and British books. And they’ve got a deal for you: You can buy, sell, or exchange books here. Whatever you decide, you are sure to come upon a serendipitous discovery.

Browse and buy: Monday – Saturday 11AM-8 PM; Sunday 2 PM-7 PM.
Sell or Exchange: Monday 4 PM- 8PM; Tuesday – Saturday 11AM-4PM.

Le Moniteur Bookstore (Librairie Le Moniteur)
7 Place de l’Odéon
Phone: 01 44 41 15 75

A haven for architects, store designers, landscapers, urban planners and anyone who loves buildings and design. Located near Luxembourg Gardens and the Théâtre du Odeon, Le Moniteur stocks specialized books on architecture and related subjects with at least 30% English titles, including Five Hundred Buildings of Paris, which is now out in French as 500 Monuments de Paris.

Hours: Most days 11AM-7PM. Thursdays until 8PM. Closed Tuesdays.

2 rue de Buci
Phone: 01 40 51 79 22

The art of the upscale book. The Taschen Store in Paris is a retail branch of the Publisher by the same name. They produce quality books on art and popular culture including those on photography, artists, architecture, sex, fashion, as well as limited editions. Their books make great gifts.


Monday – Thursday 11 AM – 8 PM
Friday and Saturday 11 AM – Midnight
Sunday Noon – 7 PM

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