Skip to main content

The Abbey Bookshop

The Abbey Bookshop in Paris.
Photo by Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey
Red and black Paris shopping icon

Best Bookshop for Second-Hand English Books


  • 29 Rue dela Parcheminerie ,
  • 75005 Paris

This review may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

Paris is full of great bookstores — click here for our top five — , some perfect for artsy coffee table books, others full of the latest literary editions. This one, offers you lots, and I mean lots, of second-hand English books.

Is there anything better than a packed-to-the-rafters bookstore? Maybe if you get a cheery “hello” when you enter, and the offer of a tea or a coffee? Then look no further than Abbey Bookshop, also known as the Canadian Bookstore, probably due to the enormous Canadian flag flying above the shopfront.

Hidden away in a pedestrian passage just steps away from Notre Dame and the bustle of Saint Michel, Canadian expat Brian Spence has filled his little store with so many books that they spill out onto the pavement. And that’s where you usually a thermos of coffee or tea waiting as well. Because inside, well, inside it’s crammed. Let’s just say, I usually don’t visit if I’ve had a big lunch before and still find myself shuffling sideways in between the mile-high bookshelves while holding an already chosen stack of favorites in my hand.

Floor to ceiling books at used English bookstore in Paris.
The Abbey Bookshop in Paris, Photo by Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey

Whether you’re looking for local stories set in Paris or novels written by the literary set of the city, whether you prefer poems or world history, travel writing, classics, or simply want a good whodunnit, you can find it all here. Be patient and peruse or ask Brian for help locating what you’re looking for.

The vast majority of books are second hand, left by travelers needing to shed some weight before check-in, or by local expats preferring to read in English but living in a typically small Parisian apartment. All are in good condition, and I dare you to enter and emerge without buying at least one book.

Brian’s also always happy to take a look at any books you no longer have room for, and will either give you some cash or store credit in return for lightly-used reads. 

And when you’re there, you might also see a woman trying to sidle past, clutching a huge stack of books and mumbling, “Only one more, just one…,” that’ll be me!

See you there.

recommended by

Location
Neighborhood
Latin Quarter
Quartier
Quartier Latin
Métro Ⓜ
Address
  • 29 Rue dela Parcheminerie ,
  • 75005 Paris
Style
Interests
Details
Price
Opening Hours
Contact
  • Bookshop, Travel
    Foodie’s Guide to Paris
    This 1-page PDF guide tells you exactly where to go and what to do in Paris if you want a true taste of the City of Light! Our resident foodies have turned their local insight into the ultimate checklist so you can learn about Parisian culinary culture, dine at the best bistros, and pick up go…
  • Experiences, Gastronomic Experiences, Guided Tours
    Pastry Tour of Le Marais
    Le Marais is arguably the hippest neighborhood in Paris. While some may say that there are too many fashionistas, bobos, and tourists in the area, the charming cobblestone streets and vibrant atmosphere just can’t be beat. But Le Marais isn’t just about appearances. Local guides Nikki and Frederi…
  • Experiences, Guided Tours
    Explore the Bastille Neighborhood
    Follow Frederic and Nikki of TheWaysBeyond down the small streets of the Quinze-Vingts, an often-overlooked part of the Bastille neighborhood that’s as interesting as its oddly arithmetic name — quinze-vingts translates to fifteen twenties, or 15 x 20.
  • Bookshop, Travel
    Fan of Fashion’s Guide to Paris
    This 1-page PDF guide tells you exactly what to see and do in Paris if you have a passion for fashion! Our resident fashionistas have turned their local insight into the ultimate Paris checklist so you can learn about Parisian style, discover designers and, of course, shop till you drop. It…
  • Experiences, Gastronomic Experiences, Guided Tours
    Pastry Tour of Le Marais
    Le Marais is arguably the hippest neighborhood in Paris. While some may say that there are too many fashionistas, bobos, and tourists in the area, the charming cobblestone streets and vibrant atmosphere just can’t be beat. But Le Marais isn’t just about appearances. Local guides Nikki and Frederi…
  • Experiences, Guided Tours
    Stroll Through 19th-Century Paris
    Step back in time and into the Paris of the 19th century. Learn how the architecture, innovations, and politics of the time shaped the city as you walk its charming streets, explore its covered passages, and shop in one of the world’s first department stores — just as Parisians did then! A…
  • Experiences, Guided Tours
    See the Sights Along the Seine
    Spend a leisurely morning like a true Parisian! Your local guide Sophie will meet you for a sightseeing stroll along the Seine, telling you tales of Paris past as you make your way east to explore a historic area before ending at a popular fresh food market just in time for lunch!

Leave a Reply