Paris booksellers 'optimistic' over battle to stay during Olympics

AFP - [email protected]
Paris booksellers 'optimistic' over battle to stay during Olympics
The Bouquinistes of Paris with the distinctive 'green boxes' along the banks of the River Seine. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

The famous booksellers that line the Seine in Paris say they are standing their ground over plans to shut them down during the opening ceremony of next year's Olympic Games.


Paris authorities told the "bouquinistes" earlier this summer that some 570 of their 900 stalls would have to move ahead of the opening ceremony on July 26th, 2024 due to "a risk of acts of terrorism".

Already struggling to bounce back from shutdowns during the pandemic and a longer-run loss of interest from locals, the booksellers are refusing to miss out on the 16 million tourists expected for the Games.

"I have neighbours who, if they don't sell one day, simply don't eat," said Alexia Delrieu, 50, who has run her stall by the Tournelle Bridge for more than a decade.


"The good times were 20 years ago or more, before the internet. Now, you have to really work to make minimum wage," added Guido Cuccolo, 71, based on the Quai de Conti.

A self-proclaimed "born protester", Cuccolo says he is "optimistic" about winning the battle to stay.

The booksellers have become an unlikely cause celebre across France, attracting attention of newspapers on both left and right.

For the local authorities, it is a delicate situation.

The stall keepers do not pay rent, and are not entirely reliable with rules about their appearance and opening hours. But they are a beloved symbol of the capital.

The vice-president of the Cultural Association of Booksellers of Paris, Pascal Corseaux, said dismantling the boxes would be a "logistical nightmare".

"Many of them will not survive," he told AFP.

"There is a much simpler solution, which is to bring in bomb squads, seal the boxes and then reopen quickly afterwards," he said.



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also