Tucked down a narrow side street in one of the most illustrious districts of the city, the San Francisco Book Company is a must-visit for those who are looking to purchase second-hand English language books (including books about Paris and France in general) for a reasonable price. Here’s a history, how to visit, and things to know before you go.
If there’s one area of the city that’s a true Bibliophile’s dream, it’s that of the Latin Quarter. So-called because, during the Middle Ages students of the nearby Sorbonne University would converse withe one another solely in Latin, the Parisian district remains marked by fine dining institutions, world-class universities, and plenty of independent shops.
The area of the city, in conjunction with the nearby Île de la Cité (i.e. the largest natural island in the River Seine and where you’ll find Notre Dame Cathedral) also happens to be where the Romans settled Paris.
In those days, the city would have been known as Lutetia (Lutèce in French) and vestiges of the historical past can still be spied in the Latin Quarter to this day. Nearby to the San Francisco book company you can discover gems such as the former Roman baths (Musée de Cluny) and the Arènes de Lutèce, the former Roman amphitheatre.
Address / 17 Rue Monsieur le Prince, 75006 Paris
Unlike the nearby The Abbey Bookshop which is set over two levels, the San Francisco Book Company is accessed over just one level, but has plenty of books to peruse nonetheless. Outside, there are plenty of thrillers and other fiction books at bargain prices, while the interior boasts a more catered and exclusive selection of tomes.
The shop was founded in 1997 on the left-bank of the city and specialises in pretty much everything from cooking to biology to children’s literature to theatre and cinema. The store is open from Midday until 6 PM every day of the week. Though most books are used, there is a small selection of new books and volumes can always be requested to be ordered in.
Visit today and you’ll find a huge selection of biographies, art history tomes, non-fiction guides, and of course, plenty of travel guides and memoirs on France. The best selection of books about Paris are to be found at the very front of the store, with many being quite literally stacked and displayed in the store windows. You can pay in the store by card.