Merci’s Used Books Café
Located in the trendy Boulevard de Beaumarchais, Merci’s Used Books Café is a comfy place to sip a warm cappuccino and peruse over their 10,000 book titles. Take a seat by the sunlit windows and nibble on a scone and jam while reading a novel or a travel memoir from the shelf. Although heavy crowds swarm the little café on weekends, the service is efficient and pleasant (rare by Paris standards). Later, wander into the canteen/concept store from the same company, where you can browse through stationery, eco-friendly furniture and other trinkets. Check out the book selection at the concept store as well, these are for sale and profits go to Merci’s charity foundations.
Librairie des Archives
On rue Vieille du Temple near the Musée Picasso, lies a much more peaceful environment — a charming little bookstore with Parisian décor. Focusing on artists from the 20th century, the Librairie des Archives sells rare and out-of-print art books. A favorite among collectors and students interested in the beaux-arts, here you’ll find an organized assortment of anything from painting to sculpting, to fashion and jewelry catalogues. Explore their overloaded walls on your own, or ask the clerk for help reaching those closer to the ceiling. Untidy piles of quality hardcovers lying in a sea of books make a quaint setting for an afternoon of reading. And for serious collectors, reservations are available on their website.
La Belle Hortense
Opening in the later hours of the après-midi (afternoon), La Belle Hortense has what everyone needs: books, art and wine. Also located in the bustling rue Vieille du Temple, the wine bar and library has a modestly-priced wine selection and books ranging from Dalí art books to French literary classics. Finding an empty seat may be a problem unless you plan an early arrival, otherwise head to the back room where their restaurant offers a few more tables. The scene becomes a social affair in the evenings with boozy crowds making it too loud to read, but you may instead find yourself locked in a riveting book discussion!
La Belle Hortense, 31 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004 Paris, France +33 148 047 160
Steel Cyclewear & Coffee Shop
Although located on the outskirts of Le Marais, this coffee shop/cycling store provides a cozy environment for an undisturbed reading session. Think of a warm café crème and a book on a rainy day, and you’ll get the picture. The delicious Belleville coffee served by a gentle barista makes this industrial space a pleasant hideout to spend the day. The sport-crazed café also offers its own reading material – Cyclist Magazine, which you can read while perfecting your posture on their wooden seats, or slouching on their stools by the windows. Plenty of natural lighting and good coffee make this little corner a cozy reading spot.
Bibliothèque Publique d’Information
If you’re looking for an encyclopedic library, this spot comes highly recommended. Housed in the Pompidou Center building, the library boasts three floors of books, films and computers where you can do some self-study. Students looking for information in their field can find books on their disciplines including philosophy, economy, the sciences, medicine and technology. On the third floor, there’s a section focused on cinema with French and foreign films in their native language. Most importantly, there is free Wi-Fi for those who wander off their books and onto their phones. However, this remarkable space has one downside: a very long wait in line to get through the door.
Centre Pompidou, 1 Rue Beaubourg, 75004 Paris, France +33 144 781 233