Skip to main content

L’Eau et Les Rêves

Paris bookstore on a boat, Eau et les Rêves
Photo by Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey.
Red and black Paris shopping icon

Books on a boat

  • 9 Quai de l’Oise ,
  • 75019 Paris

This review may contain sponsored or affiliate links.

Having a bit of a book problem combined with a regular hankering for caffeine, I have always dreamed of owning my own bookstore-cum-café. Alas, so far, it hasn’t happened, so I live vicariously through others who have managed to run a little enterprise that combines the two. L’Eau et les rêves, Water and Dreams, does one better: this small bookshop and café is located on a large houseboat moored in a canal in Paris. Perfection in my mind.

Moored just by the bridge of Rue de l’Ourcq, which is decorated with colorful street art, the giant old canal boat is an imposing sight. A little plank from the quayside leads up to its high deck, where you’ll find plenty of tables and chairs, often taken over by private functions and people enjoying a drink in a watery setting. But take the small spiral staircase down below deck and you’ll find the books.

The space in the belly of the ship is astonishingly spacious, accommodating not only books and their readers, but also a space for author meetings, regular art exhibitions, conferences, and indoor seating for the café, just in case the weather doesn’t play ball.

Books and coffee shop inside ship
Inside the cozy boat-cum-bookshop L’Eau et Les Rêves. Photo by Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey.

The books are mostly travel and environment themed, with some pretty coffee table books as well, and an aisle reserved for children’s books.

In recent years, since I first discovered the péniche, the number of books on display has reduced dramatically. Not long ago every corner was filled with books, now, sadly, most of the money seems to come from the café and private functions. 

I would like for you to go and have a look, have a coffee, but also maybe buy a book? Yes, they are in French, but especially the children’s ones are so cute, that it really doesn’t matter if your French – or that of your offspring – isn’t perfect. Let’s hope that supporting a local, lovely bookseller makes a difference, and that there will soon be more books on the shelves again.

Whether you’re looking for a photography tome for yourself or a lovingly illustrated book about sea monsters and pirates for your kids, a weekend stop at this little gem is a must. I’m sure you’ll find something to inspire you!


Already finished reading the books you bought on the boat? Here are a few other great Paris bookshops I recommend.

recommended by

La Villette
Métro Ⓜ
  • 9 Quai de l’Oise ,
  • 75019 Paris
  • 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
    Origins of Paris Historical Tour
    Enjoy a small-group historical walking tour in the streets of the Montagne Sainte Genevieve down to the river.
  • Bookshop, Travel
    Book Lover’s Guide to Paris
    This 1-page PDF guide tells you exactly what to see and do in Paris if you love literature! Our resident bookworms turned their local insight into the ultimate checklist so you can follow in the footsteps of famous writers, visit the settings of your favorite stories, or find the perfect spot …
  • 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
    Love Stories at the Louvre
    Love is a universal feeling, but the ways of living it and representing it have changed over time and across civilizations. During this guided tour of the Louvre, professional local guides Emmanuelle, Marie, and Marie-Amandine of Ma-tisse invite you to discover some of the museum’s masterpieces d…
  • Experiences, Guided Tours
    Street Art Tour of the Butte aux Cailles
    Search out some of the best street art in Paris while discovering an area often ignored by visitors but adored by locals. Set off on a guided street art scavenger hunt with the whole family through the winding rues of the Butte-aux-Cailles neighborhood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *