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Bouquinistes of Paris, open-air bookstores along the Seine!

The Bouquinistes of Paris are famous all over the world. They are booksellers that sell ancient books, journals, prints, posters, postcards, stamps, pictures, engravings, and trading cards. Just think that if you go there, you have the chance to buy first editions of writings by Zola, Hugo, Baudelaire, Scaron.

Anyway, it’s not this possibility that makes bouquinistes of Paris an attraction of the city. What so special about them? They sell these precious books in open-air bookstores along the Seine!

Being a bouquiniste in Paris is a tradition started in the 16th century. Almost 400 years! The bouquinistes of Paris are mainly in the neighborhoods of the Ile de la Cité that, with Ile Saint-Louis, is one of my favorite areas in Paris!

Bouquinistes are also part of Unesco World Heritage!

Bouquinistes, a tradition

As I mentioned, take a walk between the open-air bookstores of Paris, the bouquinistes of Paris, is a great idea to know Parisian culture in a very pleasant way.

That is because being a bouquiniste in Paris is a tradition

since 1607. During Pont Neuf construction, Henry the IV wanted book merchants establishing there. They were the first journals and writings sellers! They couldn’t afford an entire bookstore and so they became bouquinistes. Then, in 1859, they had a regular position in society and in the market.

bouquinistes of Paris

Nowadays, you can walk along the Seine and see the 240 open-air bouquinistes that sell ancient books and antiques. There you can find some of the most original souvenirs to buy if you and your parents or friends love this stuff too. At these peculiar shops, you will find a fair relation between what you are buying and the money you are spending.

Also, another thing that results comfortable is that when you walk along the bouquinistes stands, you are a few steps away from Notre Dame Cathedral! Even if you don’t want to spend too much time in bookstores, you can always take a walk when you decide to visit Arrondissement 4 or Le Marais.

If you do not have any ideas about how to plan your time in Paris, take a look at Paris Travel Planning!

The Seine is known also as the river that runs between
two bookshelves!

Where to find bouiquinistes in Paris

For those who are into reading or into antiques, this is an unmissable thing to do. If you want to explore these bouquinistes in Paris, open-air bookstores,  here is the way to follow.

  • From the left bank of the Seine, you can find them from Quai Voltaire to the Quai de la Tournelle;
  • If you are on the right side of the Seine, go from the Pont Marie to the Quai du Louvre. There you will see 900 green boxes that now are part of the Parisian landscape. Each stand is made of a green box that is about 2 meters long.

To go to these areas of the city, you can walk or take one of the following transports:

  • Take the metro and get off at Saint Michel station.
  • If you prefer to take the RER and get off at Saint-Michel – Notre Dame.
  • Take one of the following buses: 21, 24, 27, 38, 39, 47, 58, 63, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 75, 76, 85, 89, 95 or 96.

If you would like to know precise opening hours… Bouquinistes don’t really follow them. They have no schedule and you can find an open bouquiniste any time. No matter if it’s Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer!

Category: Explore Paris
  • My Tips

     Take always small change with you! If you will need a public bathroom, you will probably pay 0.50 € to enter. 


    Remember that floor numbers aren't the same of U.S. ones. In Europe we have ground floor / floor 0. It is the corresponding of the 1st floor in U.S.!


     French people are nationalists: try to speak few French words. You will make them very happy!


     Check the weather forecast in advance so you will know what to put in your luggage!


     Even if they say it will be sunny all the time, take your umbrella with you anyway.


     Read my article about transports pass to know which one is the best for you!


     If you want to buy something very luxurious, go to Lafayette Galleries.


     Don't be worried about the need for a car in Paris. Taxis and Uber are a lot!


     For your safety, provide you a travel insurance


     Study everything about transports in Paris reading the transports page of this site