Last Updated on 5th January 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
Steps away from the River Seine and streets away from the iconic Hôtel de Sens, a medieval mansion turned public library, there’s one little bookshop you won’t want to miss out on during your next Parisian adventure. Librairie Le Piéton de Paris is a tiny store specialising only in books about the French capital city and is one truly hidden gem of a bookstore…
Address | 58 Rue de l’Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris
Overlooking the water, the store space is small and absolutely filled to the brim with stacks of books. Helpfully situated in Le Marais district of the city, an area so-called due to its previous existence as a marshy swampland, the Parisian bookshop is located to many of the city’s most sought after attractions and monuments.
Keen bibliophiles may also notice that the name of the shop “Le piéton de Paris” is actually derived from the name of a book by Léon-Paul Fargue, a great lover of the City of Love. Fargue lived in the city towards the end of the 19th-century and his book is one of anecdotal memories of a city that only now exists in imaginations. Nevertheless, it’s the perfect name for a shop which sells books solely dedicated to the city!
If you’ve not already heard of Librairie Le Piéton de Paris, it’s likely because the store has only been open since March 2018. Created by Frédérique Augier, who’s resided in the city for six decades, step inside at any given moment and you’re sure to be greeted by polite staff members in the tiny space. From delightful coffee table books to small volumes offering a guide on where to ‘pipi’ in Paris, there’s every kind of book imaginable.
What’s more is that the store is helpfully arranged by category, meaning that there’s a section on ‘fiction about Paris’ as well as ‘architecture of Paris’, the ‘history of Paris,’ and even a well-curated selections of childrens’ books about the French capital, featuring adorably illustrated tomes.
You should note before going that, while a few books are indeed in English or are coffee table volumes, the vast majority are in French. I even noticed that the shop stocks some ‘unusual books about Paris’ in that some are out of print or simply hard to get hold of, even online.
Like many of Paris’ most prominent bookshops, there’s also a selection of books on offer and I particularly enjoyed picking up a guide to secret Paris that I’ve never seen before, as well as a beautifully photographed book about Montmartre (yet again, one which I’ve never come across before).
Nearby attractions and things to do
Go in search of Gossip Girl filming locations
Keen fans of the hit noughties show will soon notice that Librairie Le Piéton de Paris is close by to Chez Julien, a beautiful Le Marais café that featured in the Parisian episodes of Gossip Girl. If you particularly love photography, then be sure to stroll down rue des Barres, a pedestrianised cobblestone street that’s easily one of the prettiest the city has to offer.
Visit the Hôtel de Sens
If you make it your mission to discover just one Hôtel Particulier in the city, make it Hôtel de Sens. Despite what the name might suggest, the ‘Hôtel’ is not one where you can book a room to stay in, but instead a historic mansion house where the wealthy would have resided just after the middle ages.
Hôtel de Sens was once the residence for the Archbishopric of Sens, but has since been transformed into a public library specialising in the decorative arts. Nowadays, the readers’ rooms are delightfully reminiscent of times gone by and feature particularly ornate carvings dating all the way back to the Middle Ages. Of particular note on the exterior of the building is a cannonball quite literally lodged into the side of the building that dates all the way back to the French Revolution!