Booksellers - Bouquinistes, Paris
I can’t count how many times I’ve had the intention of spending fifteen minutes at the bouquinistes and finding myself four or five years later still standing there. OK, maybe not four or five years, but at least four or five hours. Vintage magazines, incredible prints, French books—every kind of paper ephemera you can imagine. The only way I ever manage to prevent myself from spending there, is to go at the beginning of the day, knowing that if I buy something I’ll have to carry it around with me all day. Sometimes even that doesn’t work. When I first went over there, I had a landlord who owed me my deposit money and didn’t have it ready by the time I had to come back to the states, so I had a friend collect it after I left, and, rather than losing money changing the francs back into dollars, I had her go to the bouquinistes, completely blow it, and then send me what she bought. To this day I have the stack of Elle magazines from the 50s she sent me.
Bouquinistes stalls along the quai
The bouquinistes in Paris is where to find a bargain on posters, post cards, old advertisements, rare books, old magazines ~ a veritable treasure trove.
It was at the bouquinistes along the Quai de la Mégisserie (Right Bank) that I found a cool 1920s-era yellow Josephine-Baker-in-her-banana-outfit poster for a friend. I was thrilled! And my friend loves the poster.
Photo: March 2001
Plus ça change .. plus c'est la meme chose:) Very little has changed as far as the bookstalls along the Seine. The bookstalls were originally on Pont Neuf -- but were "chased off" that bridge in the 18th century and have been along the river ever since!
Check out the website for a discussion of bookstores in Paris -- there are mANY!
The booksellers along the embankment of the Seine are endlessly fascinating on a sunny day. This picture is of my father and myself in the early 1970s.
You can find old books, of course -- postcards, reproduction prints and posters of old movies and old Paris. Nothing is cheap!
Along the Seine's quais and lined up with their signature green stalls are "les bouquinistes" or the booksellers. Nowadays they sell not only old books but also souvenirs and old prints among their wares. If you have time do browse the stalls. You may find something that says "Paris" to you as a memento.
- Along the Quai de Montebello, just opposite Notre Dame, are the Bookseller's Stalls. Here you can find all sorts of things: old prints and engravings, old issues of Paris Match, maps, books, comic books, and ''odds and ends.''
The stalls themselves are essentially boxes bolted to the stone wall of the quai. At night, the boxes are locked shut. Although some of their fair is strictly for tourists, the bookseller's stalls should be taken seriously. For the connoisseur, many collector's gems can be found here.