Les Rêveries de Paris

"We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate." ~Henry Miller

Today I'm experiencing a big-time case of geographic ennui (yes, I know, quelle horreur). As usual, my travel daydreams have taken me to Paris. My mind has wandered to one specific spot: Les Bouquinistes.

Les Bouquinistes are the 250 used book sellers that dot the bank of the Seine, near the Ile de la Cité. Each coveted green metal box (the wait list for a new spot is 8 years) is filled with ragged novels or ancient maps or yellowing magazines, as they have been since about 1500. As a flea market junkie (punk intended), the surprise of discovering an out of print edition of a favorite book or an old copy of Vogue proves well-worth my time.

While most visitors to Paris seek out the superlative monuments of the city, I so prefer the quotidian: the café, the flower stall, the produce market. Standing at the top of Montmartre is no doubt a breathtaking experience, but I confess that I find equal joy in a simple, uncharted afternoon of thumbing through smelly old books.

What's your favorite "ordinary" spot in Paris?

NdParis,ParisTraveler,ParisEstUneFête,Rfi,50mmParis,& Man'sTouch.


  1. Gorgeous photo of les bouquinists in the snow. So lovely! Yes, I agree, I love the ordinary too. I love to walk by the bakery and smell the smells of fresh bread and croissants baking. I love to shop at my market on rue des Abbesses and chat with the commercants about nothing in particular. And I love to smell the smell of my neighbor cooking up her Sunday dinner.

  2. I love looking at les bouquinists stalls as I walk down the Seine, they have such interesting stuff!


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