When it comes to visiting Paris, there are few better places in which to truly indulge oneself and get caught up in the romance of the City of Light. Whether you want to feast on the finest of cheeses, immerse yourself in the plethora of cultural hotspots, or simply while away an afternoon at one of the city’s sidewalk cafes with a Parisian pastry, it’s a city abundant in the finer things in life. Two of life’s greatest pleasures including sampling culinary delights and discovering new literary hideaways; we’ve rounded up the best Paris has to offer for brunch spots and bookshops.
No visit to Paris would be complete without an afternoon spent at the city’s most famous bookstore; Shakespeare & Co. Located opposite the Notre Dame, the bookshop is a literary den with an abundance of book offerings, beloved by both locals and tourists alike. Inside the store you’ll find a labyrinth of endless shelves and reading nooks; perfect for curling up with one of their many books on offer. A Parisian institution, steeped in literary history, it’s undoubtedly one of the city’s finest landmarks.
Founded in 1801, Librairie Galignani is cited as the oldest English-language bookshop on the European continent. With a publishing history that dates back to the sixteenth century, it remains an integral part of the French capital’s literary scene. Located on the rue de Rivoli, Librairie Galignani is a traditional bookstore that caters to well-heeled clients with their enormous selection of stunning coffee table tomes. If you’re passionate about arts and culture, you’ll spend endless happy hours perusing all that Librairie Galignani has to offer.
Nestled in in the 3rd arrondissement on Rue de Bretagne, Comme un Roman – French for Like a Novel – sells a wide selection of books, spanning French literature, science, history, travel, art, culture, and design. With an ambient atmosphere and amiable staff, as well as a variety of specialised magazines and travel books for sale, Comme un Roman is an independent bookstore at its Parisian best.
The Bouquinistes of Paris
While not technically a bookshop, the French capital’s riverside Bouquiniste book stalls are a must-visit for anyone with a penchant for paperbacks. Browsing the green book stalls that line the stunning Seine River near Notre-Dame is a quintessentially Parisian pastime and the perfect spot to discover your next great read. Run by some 240 bouquinistes, the booksellers offer everything from antiquarian books to old magazines, stamps and souvenirs; and offer buyers a literary slice of Parisian tradition.
For the crème de la crème of breakfasts, look not further than Holybelly. With a simple concept – good food, good coffee and good service – in a space that’s both casual and relaxed, it’s one of the French capital’s most popular spots for brunch. Try their black-rice porridge made with coconut milk and garnished with fromage blanc and seasonal fruit, or fried eggs and pancakes with bacon, Bourbon butter and maple syrup.
A restaurant dedicated to the art of breakfast, Claus opened its doors in 2011 and has earned a legion of fans since. Boasting minimalistic décor while still retaining a cozy vibe, it’s a prime spot for a leisurely brunch. Brunch comes with a generous bread basket – that includes toast, rolls, whole wheat buns, and pastries – and can be accompanied by any number of menu items, from omelettes to pancakes to smoked salmon platters. A chic boutique-cum-café, Claus also sells carefully curated selection of biscuits, mueslis, jams and other condiments, ideal for anyone wanting to buy a culinary keepsake from one of the best brunches in town.
For a brilliant brunch with a luxury edge, head to Brasserie Thoumieux. Located in a quiet street not far from the Eiffel Tower, and a short walk from the Seine, this famed eatery has been one of the Left Bank's landmarks since 1923. Boasting opulent interiors and a wide selection of menu options – including eggs benedict, omelettes and the traditional oeufs meurette, poached eggs in a bourguignon sauce – it’s a dream destination for anyone with an appetite.
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