Some places in Paris are very special to me, they feel like home. There is a certain something about them that makes me feel “yes, that’s it, I belong here”. The Abbey Bookshop is one of such places.
I found it by accident while wandering the tiny streets of the Latin Quartier. It could have easily been a scene from Harry Potter: twilight, narrow empty street, dim lights, and then, suddenly, a glass door with carved wooden pieces, surrounded by stalls with old books & a huge steaming coffee jug. When I realized I was standing in front of an English-language bookshop, my heart skipped a beat. It all seemed so magical!
When I entered, I saw endless shelves of books, from floor to ceiling, from one wall to another — and the basement, too. It was that enchanting calmness there that feels so welcoming. Then, out of nowhere, appeared the owner, Brian. I still think he is a wizard.
Canadian, he had always wanted to have a bookshop in Paris, and 30 years ago he opened one. Now he has such a vast collection of literature: anything from fiction to philosophy, world history and history of Paris, Russian classics by the side of Michele Obama’s ‘Becoming’ – anything can be found in this wizard’s store.
On my first visit, Brian showed me the smallest book and the oldest book in The Abbey Bookshop. I suggest you go and see them for yourself. Oh, and there is coffee. It is truly a magical place.