The Latin Quarter in the 5th and 6th arrondissement is an area known for great cafes and great bookshops. The most famous is Shakespeare & Co. located just across the Seine from the Notre Dame, but if you wander a bit deeper into the small streets of the 5th you’ll happen upon my favorite bookshop, Abbey Bookshop.
I found Abbey Bookshop because it’s where all the NYU students in Paris bought their books for classes, and I immediately fell in love when I saw the sign outside that said “Used books for 1 Euro.” (The best part about those books is that they are always the types of books that I constantly consume, like Meg Cabot and Dean Koontz novels.)
The bookshop is owned by a nice Canadian man, and can be seen from far away thanks to the large Canadian flag hanging outside. Everyone who works in the shop is incredibly friendly and they will take the time to search among the stacks of books to find just the one you are looking for.
There are many reasons that I have fallen in love with this bookshop, like the chaotic stacks of books that crowd the small walkways, the incredibly old classics, how the owner will order a book for you if they don’t currently have the correct volume you’re looking for, and the coffee that’s made for you to sip as you search the packed shelves. I always feel like I’m on a sort of treasure hunt when I’m in the small shop, like there’s a gem of a book hidden somewhere just waiting to be read by me. Most of all I like the small community of English speakers that come in, asking where you’re from and what brings you to Paris.
I visited Abbey Bookshop today, browsed for a while and then afterwards I sat at a cafe, read and enjoyed the view of the Notre Dame towering in the distance. Occasionally here in Paris I feel extraordinarily homesick, but this was not one of those moments. It was more of a “I can’t believe I’m here, how did my life become so fabulously wonderful” sort of moment.
Today’s book find actually came from Shakespeare & Co. not Abbey Books. I found my favorite book “Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination,” by Helen Fielding sitting casually on the Used Books shelf outside of the shop for only 6 Euros and I couldn’t resist.
(Umm when did I become such a book nerd?)
(Not that it’s a bad thing.)