Travel Stories: The Bouquinistes of Paris
I can still vividly remember the first time I visited Paris. I flew solo as a teen from San Francisco to Charles de Gaulle to meet up with my parents who had already been traveling in Europe for 2 weeks. We took a cab back to the hotel to drop off my bags, and then they whisked me to the Seine for a classic boat tour down the river. They hoped I’d get a good overview of the city but in actuality all I got was a wonderful nap instead. The sticky summer heat, and motion of the boat was the perfect cure for jet lag!
When the boat ride was over, I woke up and was still in a bit of a haze. I opened my eyes, and remember seeing the Eiffel Tower in the distance. A bit surreal. Was I still sleeping? Was I really in Paris? The overwhelming heat was not helping me stay in reality. As we disembarked and headed up to the banks of the Seine, I saw the bouquinistes. The long row of booksellers’ stalls lined up and loaded with eye candy – antique books, posters, postcards, sketches and more. For a budding artist and book lover, I was in heaven!
To this day, whenever I’m in Paris, I must take a stroll along the Seine to see the bouquinistes. Although many of the items being sold in the stalls these days are just trinkets and souvenirs, I’m sure there are still many gems to be found. Regardless of what’s being sold, the stalls will always be sketch-worthy!
Below is my quick snapshot of the bouquinstes from my latest trip. Again, it was humid, summer weather, and reminded me much of my very first trip to Paris!
Below is more information about the Paris bouquinistes:
Rick Steve’s Article: Paris’ Riverside Bouquinistes
Pocket Cultures: The Bouquinistes, Book Sellers Along the River Seine in Paris
French Moments: Bouquinistes of Paris
Paris’ Seine-side Bookselling Bouquinistes Tout Trinkets, but City Hall Cries “Non”