During the warmer months the question—where to go with your favorite book ?—never arises for Parisians. There are so many nice squares and parks no matter where you live. Within a 5-10 minutes of walking distance there is always a free bench under the sycamore tree or free green chair, like in Tuileries or Luxembourg gardens.
In winter, the French and their unfinished novels relocate to cozy places. But bistros—where people around crunch Nicoise salad or a noisy company is finishing their second bottle of white—are not always what we look for when we want to plunge into the plot of the book and escape for a while from the outside world and cold weather.
Therefore, we picked 5 places, where you can hide in winter with a good book.
SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY
Do not be surprised by a bookshop of English-language literature on the ground floor. Your goal is a little higher. By the narrow stairs you need to climb to the upper floor where there are two rooms filled with books. Perhaps someone will be here playing the piano and others playing chess. But the value of the this floor: vintage books. Many of the works that you see on the shelves are more than a hundred years old. They are not for sale, but they are all at your free access. So get yourself comfortable, choose a book and read, occasionally glancing out the window at Notre Dame Cathedral—it is directly across the street.
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris
Open every day from 10 am to 11 pm
LA CHAMBRE AUX OISEAUX
“Bird room” is not just a cozy Parisian cafe, but the story of three generations and one young couple who converged on the love of cooking, delicious smells and a welcoming homy atmosphere. Her name is Lena and his is Hervé. She loves to cook, and he loves to create beauty and comfort. The cafe has in its menu a sandwich, according to a recipe of Lena’s gandma, and Herve’s grandfather’s favorite desserts. Yet there are soft armchairs with cushions, excellent hot chocolate and desserts, which you must try in order to understand. And large stained-glass windows. And, of course, thee yummie smell of a bakery. The perfect place to read “The Little Lady of the Big House,” by Jack London or any of the books of Jane Austen.
48 Rue Bichat, 75010 Paris
Open between 10 am and 6 pm
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
LE CAFÉ JACQUEMART-ANDRÉ
This is not exactly a classic cafe, which we discussed at the beginning of this article. Café Jacquemart-André is located in the eponymous Museum, which was commissioned by the order of spouses Nelly Jacquemart and Edouard André. The couple has devoted their entire life to art, travel, and each other. Here is kept—the second most important after the Louvre—a collection of Italian Renaissance, the French school of fine arts of the XVIII century and Flemish artists. Of course, the museum is woth a visit itself but you can get into the tea room, where Edouard and Nelly had dinner, at any time. Have a cup of coffee with a delicate dessert and read your favorite book, regardless of the work of the museum. The atmosphere is rather quiet and romantic, so loud noises won’t disturb you here.
158 Boulevard Haussmann 75008 Paris
Open Monday to Friday from 11.45 am to 5 pm
and on Saturday from 11 am
Sunday brunch from 11 am until 2.30 pm
DELYAN TEA SALON
Books, black-and-white photographs, vintage posters, watercolor paintings without frames, of different subjects and in different sizes—all this matches extraordinarily well with pistachio walls of the tea salon. The paradox is that this place is in the heart of Paris, but it is always quiet with few people. The windows of the second floor are overlooking the Saint Jacques tower. It feels like the big sofas and chairs were dragged here straight from grandma’s apartment. If you are in town for a few days, you’ll definitely pass by this cafe, just know in advance where it is. Drop by to have a rest, drink a good cup of tea and, of course, read.
8 Rue Saint-Martin, 75004 Paris
Open every day from 12pm to 7.30 pm
LA GAÎTÉ LYRIQUE
In the XIX century it was the theater, in the XX an amusement park, but today it is a cultural center of digital art and contemporary music. La Gaîté-Lyrique is a historic building, where Napoleon III came with his fiancée. It is a modern concert hall and exhibition space, where are equally displayed modern innovations and artistic search. The most beautiful place—the hall of the Empress Eugenie—is preserved and restored as a tribute to historical memory. There is a bar, cafe, large wooden tables, a mix of modern furniture, white columns and gold painted high ceiling; a book about traveling in time would be perfect for reading here.
3bis Rue Papin, 75003 Paris
Tuesday – Saturday : 2 pm – 8 pm
On Sunday : 2 pm – 6 pm
Closed on Monday
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