The Great Winter Read

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If you are planning to stay in Paris for more than a couple of weeks, its a great idea to register at your local library. Firstly, you can rent books to help you learn French ( I often used to rent children’s books as well, to practice my reading skills). They also have newspapers in English and other European languages and most of the good, large ones in the centre also have a wide selection of books in English. It’s a great way to save money. However, if you are not planning to stay around that long, it may not be worth your while. So instead, here is a list of some of the best English language book shops in the city.

 

The Abbey Bookshop – 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie

 

In the age of internet and the ebook, having a bookshop is no easy task. It is made considerably more difficult if you are not selling in the native language of the customers. This place, however has managed to avoid the same fate as many of its business partners and has been in business for over 20 years. It’s an iconic old bookstore run by a Canadian with a dedicated Canadian section. A great place to go if you are right in the centre of Paris.

 

Berkeley Books –  8 rue Casimir-Delavigne

 

This place has a modern feel to it and what it lacks in charm, it makes up in structure. It’s easy to find what your looking for and they also offer an exchange service. So, if you’re a bit of a book worm, you can just keep returning with a book and get a discount on the next one. A great place to go if you looking for a new release.

 

Galignani – 224 rue de Rivoli

 

An institution in Paris, this place has been around for a while. Apparently, it’s the oldest foreign bookshop in Paris, which is quite a claim but interesting. The interior of the building is remarkable and there is a small, cute little reading corner where you can chill and look out the window at the world going by. It’s not the cheapest of the bookshops in Paris but it’s well stocked.  A great place to come, if you want a lot of variety when choosing something to read.

 

These three places are the top picks but they are not the only English language bookshops in Paris – there are quite a few, although as stated above, there are not quite as many as there used to be and they really do need your support. Also, some of the largest French language bookshops often have an international section.

In search of Hip

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For the last couple of years now, journalists from across the world have trying to define what the word hipster means. In fact, since the origins of the word around 2009, it has slowly come to have quite a negative association with it. I’m not sure why. I’ve always thought of it as being cool and alternative… But maybe I’m alone in that idea. I’m not sure where the word came from or what it means but I know I like the style. Hippy meets vintage. Urban chic meets Granny’s wool sweater – I really like the clothes. Paris didn’t strike me as a cool place to get these things.

 

Ok, OK, I know, it’s the fashion capital of the world. But it’s a particular type of fashion that Paris is famous for. Like Milan, it’s all the high end designer chains that people like me, just can’t afford. I know they say the a good Chanel piece never goes out of style. I think that’s true, but that’s doesn’t mean that every age group can wear one. So where can we go? Well, until last week, I didn’t there were much options available but now I realize I was wrong. I thought that it was more of a London or Berlin thing, but it turns out that Paris has quite a cool underground, vintage clothes section as well. You just, maybe, have to look that bit harder to find it. As year goes by, more and more designers are bringing their designs here. Originally a flea market for furniture and house hold stuff – the market is evolving as the demographic of shoppers changes. It is still very much about bric-a-brak stuff but fashion is growing.

 

For me the best place is a market called St-Ouen. It’s not the only market of it’s kind but for me, it’s the best. It has a great energy to it and has so many different things on offer. It’s on every weekend and it claims to be the biggest flea market in the world (although that’s a claim, I’ve heard a lot of markets make) but that’s the reason it’s great. There are new, and second hand clothes on offer. You will need to spend the day or at least several hours rummaging through the place to get some really deals but they are there. The stalls selling clothes are always the busiest because they attract the tourist. Massive piece of advice – take your money out before you get there. As a marketplace, no one will take card and you can expect to have quite long lines at the cash machine. If you have some who speaks French, that will be all the better…. nothing says tourist like not being able to speak the language.