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The best places to buy English-language books in France

The Local France
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The best places to buy English-language books in France
France has one of the highest number of independent bookstores in the world. Here is a selection of some of our favourite to sell English-language titles. (Photo by Damien MEYER / AFP)

New rules mean that retailers in France will have to charge a higher minimum delivery fee for book deliveries. So now might be the time to get down to your local bookshop.


France is estimated to have more than 3,500 independent bookstores - more than the UK and the US combined. 

A new law, designed to protect the sector from competition from American giants like Amazon and Ebay, means that online retailers must now charge at least €3 for book deliveries valued at less than €35. 

This rule, which came into effect on Saturday, is designed to encourage readers to visit bookstores in person. 

Here is our selection of some of the best places to buy books in France:


  • Shakespeare & Co

Shakespeare & Co is undoubtedly the most famous of all of France's English-language book shops. This historic site on Rue de la Bûcherie was once frequented by literary giants like Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. The quaint store is spread over multiple floors and has a wide selection of new books and some second-hand books available. It also hosts regular readings and other events. There is also an adjacent café.

In large part thanks to the beautiful setting, Shakespeare & Co is popular with tourists and can be a little expensive. You can visit their website here

  • The Abbey Bookshop

Nestled in the heart of the Latin Quarter, The Abbey Bookshop offers a wide range of English-language fiction and non-fiction, with more than 40,000 titles. While a good portion of these are available for browsing in store, some of the books listed on their website are held in storage, so it is worth calling ahead if you are looking for a particular title. The Abbey Bookshop also has a special section dedicated to Canadian literature. 

  • San Francisco Books 

San Francisco Books, located close to the Odéon Metro station, offers a wide range of second-hand books at reasonable prices. Set up by a group of Americans in 1997, this charming little shop also offers a delivery service. You can visit their website here

  • Galignani

Galignani is a huge bookstore located on the Rue de Rivoli and, although it stocks a huge French selection too, is widely considered one of the oldest English-language book shops in mainland Europe.

Founded in 1801, it stocks a wide array of British and American publications across all genres, as well as a staggeringly niche history section. Although it has a better variety than most, if not all, of the other English-language bookstores in France, it is a little pricey. You can visit their website here.

  • The Red Wheelbarrow

The Red Wheelbarrow is located at No. 9 and 11 rue de Médicis, near the Jardin de Luxembourg, and it is one of a couple of English language bookstores on the left bank of the Seine. 

The store is open everyday from 10am to 7pm. You can visit their website here.


Elsewhere in France

While Paris has the biggest share of English-language bookshops in France, there are some gems scattered around the rest of the country too. Here are some of our favourites.  

  • Damn Fine Bookstore (Lyon)

The Damn Fine Bookstore not only has a fine selection of English-language titles, but also hosts regular book club meetings and a delightful little cafe. Helpful staff are always willing to give recommendations based on your tastes. You can visit their website here.

  • Emma's Bookshop (Clermont-Ferrand)

Situated by the cathedral in the centre of Clermont-Ferrand, Emma's sells German, Italian, Portuguese, French and English books. It also has a community aspect, with a café in-store and regular events, plus an English-language book club that is open to all (native speakers and locals trying to improve their English alike).

  • Book in Bar (Aix-en-Provence)

This small bookstore in Aix-en-Provence sells more than 25,000 books in multiple languages and has a sizeable English section. There are regular events, including Q&As, book signings, poetry readings and regular book club meetings. As if it couldn't get any better, they also sell tea and scones at the cafe. You can visit their website here.


  • Le Bookshop (Montpellier) 

Le Bookshop, is the go-to for anglophone bookworms in Montpellier and is located on the picturesque Rue du Bras-de-Fer. If you visit during the summer months, it has a shaded terrace where you can read your new purchase while taking in the charming ambiance of everyday street life. It is host to various book clubs, including for young adults and the queer community. You can visit their website here.

  • Bradley's Bookshop (Bordeaux) 

Bradley's Bookshop claims to be the only specialised seller of English-language literature in all of Aquitaine. It mostly stocks fiction and has a particularly wide offering for children and young adults. You can visit their website here

  • Antibes Books (Antibes)

The resort town of Antibes is nestled between the southern cities of Cannes and Nice. As well as a selection of fiction and non-fiction literature, it also sells puzzles and board games. You can visit their website here

  • The Bookshop (Toulouse) 

The Bookshop sells a wide range of international literature - some 27,000 titles - much of it in English. Located in the historic heart of central Toulouse and staffed by a friendly and informed team, it is well worth a visit. Their website is difficult to navigate but the venue itself is a pleasure to peruse

  • La Nouvelle Librairie Internationale V.O. (Lille)

La Nouvelle Librairie International in Lille is probably the best English-language bookstore in northern France and stocks a range of classics, graphic novels, non-fiction and much more. It often hosts workshops, debates, readings and author Q&As. You can visit their website here



While there are a great number of charming English-language bookshops in France, including many that haven't made it onto our list, you may still want to buy online.

Besides the obvious giants like Amazon and Ebay, there are a number of French sites where you should be able to find English-language titles to your taste. 

FNAC offers a decent range of English-language literature at an affordable cost. You can also visit their stores, which are dotted around France. 

Kiwibook is a website where you can buy and sell second-hand books, often at very low prices. Although its selection is mostly French-language. La Bourse aux Livres is similar, but the selling function is even more intuitive, with an option to estimate the value of a book by simply scanning its barcode. 

Momox also offers a huge selection of cheap second-hand books, most of them French, alongside other items such as vinyl and video games. 

Do you know of other English-language bookshops that should feature on this list? Let us know on [email protected] 



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Anita Cornwel 2023/10/08 07:42
I've also found a number of English language books in Emmaus, though obviously it's a bit hit and miss as to when they have any in.

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