The Best Independent Bookstores in the Loire Valley
Imaginaute is a treasure trove for comic fans |Courtesy of Imaginaute
A good book takes you on an adventure. It may be a galaxy far away, a country you long to visit, or another time altogether. Whether you love learning, escaping, or simply burying yourself in a good novel, your perfect read is sure to be sitting on a shelf in one of the Loire Valley’s many bookshops. Here are our favorite independent stores.
Located in the center of Nates, Coiffard bookstore dates back to 1919. It has retained its authenticity, with old-fashioned wooden ladders still dutifully awaiting avid-readers. With 65,000 books on offer, you would be wise to leave plenty of time for a visit here! Whether you are into travel, history, art, or fiction, your perfect book is sure to be lurking in its historic shelves somewhere.
Specializing in vintage books and engravings from the 16th to the 19th centuries, Librairie Ancienne Denis has been run by the Denis family for more than 80 years. The collections are particularly strong in the fields of history, literature, regionalism, and travel. If you are struggling to find a rare book and cannot find it on their new website, simply ask Pierre Duchemin, who manages the store.
If you love comics, you need to visit Imaginaute. This friendly Tours bookshop is a treasure trove of all things fantasy; from sci-fi to manga and everything in between. If you are spoiled for choice, seek out Stef to help you find your perfect read—he knows the regulars inside out and has a canny knack for sniffing out books you will love. Their comic collection is particularly strong, with many in mint condition.
The HAB Galerie on Île de Nantes is currently home to a great creative bookstore which offers books related to the artists on display in the gallery, as well as a wide selection of books on contemporary art, art history, and architecture. You can also spot the odd artwork or unusual object brightening up the store.
The bookstore also stocks lots of manga merchandise | Courtesy of Japanim
Manga fans travel from far and wide to visit this little Nantes gem. All of the staff are serious manga enthusiasts and are handy to help guide you through Japanim’s impressive collection—they also stock figures and DVDs. If the store is too far away they are happy to give advice and take orders on the phone too.
CCC OD, or Olivier Debré Contemporary Art Centre to address it by its full title, is a dynamic arts center known for its constantly evolving exhibits and thought-provoking installations. It also has a lovely bookshop with a dedicated youth art and games section. Once you have found your favored book, pull up a pew in the gallery’s relaxing coffee shop.
Tucked away in La Roche-sur-Yon, a town originally designed by Napoleon Bonaparte at the dawn of the nineteenth century, Librairie Agora seeks to be more than just a bookshop—it is a literary hub within the community. Open since 1980, its books cover a range of topics—from the latest novels to imaginative children’s books. The store is eager to know your opinions on their books and encourages you to talk, discuss, and share your views. They also sell sweet greetings cards and some good quality stationery. You can use their website to reserve copies of hard to get books too.