Nothing can really beat a bookshop. The tranquil corners and smell of newly-printed pages retain a certain kind of magic in our whirling world. If you’re visiting Montpellier in the South of France, take a trip to one, or more, of Culture Trip’s favourite independent bookstores, which range from travel to comics to English literature.
Librairie Sauramps is one of the largest independent bookstores in France. From 1957 to 1962, the building that was originally opened during the war by Henri Saurampsas a printing house became focused on books and has ‘never looked back’. Their comprehensive website has meant that they remain with the times, even though the stores themselves hold over 400,000 books. It is great to browse a bustling bookshop that feels like it is an important part of the Montpellier landscape and local life.
Le Grain des Mots is a spacious, independent bookstore that covers literature to cinema and humanities to art books. If you live locally, or are visiting for a while, then drop them an email about their local meet-ups. The owners will be very happy to help you in your search for whatever book you’re looking for.
One for the kiddos, this is the children’s wing of Librairie Sauramps, offering lots to read, of course, as well as games, toys, creative leisure and multimedia. Polymômes also has an entertainment-relaxation area, where they host educational workshops, mini shows and exhibitions and a reading club for teenagers every Saturday. If you have kids, then Librairie Sauramps is a good choice for keeping them entertained while you browse, too.
Les Cinq Continents is a travel bookstore and rare gem in the heart of Montpellier. The owners, a couple of literary travellers, are the reason this bookshop is so popular with locals and whoever passes over the threshold. Travel guides are available in English, French and German, and there is a fantastic selection of accompanying travel literature, too. Regularly, Les Cinq Continents plays host to authors and travellers for evenings of readings, reciting and general travel sharing.
Founded in 1996, Azimuts is where you need to go if you are a comic book fan. It stocks over 16,000 books and, each year, Azumuts participates in the comic book festival O Tour de la Bulle and in the Comédie du Livre. On an aesthetic note, one of its charms is its small street entrance versus the spacious, well-stocked rooms within. It’s definitely somewhere you can while away a few hours.
Le Bookshop is an English language bookshop (also stocking German language books) in the heart of Montpellier. As it is a university city, this bookstore is popular among students and locals alike. The owners also run conversation classes in the evenings and there is a sweet spot outside for a sit, a sip of coffee and a read.