English Books in Paris

Found in a mid 1930s American detective thriller, tipped in at the front (for exchange purposes) this flier for  the Gibert Joseph (or Joseph Gibert) bookshop at 26 Boulevard St. Michel in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. It is still there at the same address with many books in languages other than French. The English language section is adequate but there are few rarities as there were in the past.

The curious thing in this ephemera is the notice 'Free Entrance' -- I can think of only one bookshop in the world that charges entry ($5) and that is run by a much arrested, deranged and violent bookseller in New Hampshire U.S.A. Possibly this is a mistranslation. The phone number has been changed by hand which might enable someone in the know to date it quite accurately. It looks like the 1950s. Until the advent of Shakespeare and Co.,  Gibert was the main source of used English books in Paris. Interestingly it also caters for the four other most wanted languages there, mostly because these are the nearest countries, although there has long been a large Russian community in Paris.

3 thoughts on “English Books in Paris

  1. Anonymous

    'Entrée libre' sign in a shop window means you are welcome to come in and browse without any pressure to buy something.I think that is what they meant to say when they wrote 'Free Entrance.'

  2. Anonymous

    Well, since it's been brought up……

    How did the book lending operate at Shakespeare and Co.? Was there a nominal charge to borrow a book? Did other private "libraries" operate similarly?

  3. admin Post author

    Shakespeare and Co of course are still there but will ask someone I know who used to work there. I think it was free and it might still go on although George Whitman died 3 years ago. Gibert's was a part exchange system, books that had the above tipped in could be cashed in for further purchases…


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