Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Paris shopping: Les bouquinistes

Keiko Tanabe painting of Paris bouquinistes

It is impossible to walk through Paris and not see the (approximately 200) dark green book "boxes" along the Seine.  In addition to selling the usual posters, postcards and refrigerator magnets, one can find amazing old books and magazines.  Unfortunately, unless you can read French, there's not necessarily a lot which might be of interest.

Except...  I've started buying magazines which were released the month that I was born.  They're a fascinating little snapshot of history, and it gives me a good reason to support a Parisian cultural institution.  They're easy to carry back in my suitcase, and they only cost, on average, around 10 Euros.

In the next few days, I'll post some more information about my most recent (50 year old) magazine purchase.  

Another option might be to purchase magazines with a favorite fashion icon on the cover.  One sees a lot of Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Brigitte Bardot covers from the 50's and 60's; that could result in a wonderful collection of style inspiration!

There's bound to be something here you'll love!


  1. I've never purchased a magazine or book from a bouquiniste, but I did buy a few compacts with mirrors for gifts and for my own handbag and four small black and white framed photos of Paris the first time I went to Paris.
    What an interesting idea you have for buying magazines from the year you were born.

  2. I love to stroll along the Seine and look at all on offer. Luckily I'm fairly decent at reading French (enough to be able to stumble my way through a French Vogue), and working at getting better. If we are able to take our trip next Spring then I plan to buy a lot of books to ship home!

    I love your ideas for magazines to buy, and will probably try hunting down some covers to frame (framing the whole magazine rather than tearing it apart). I'll shy away from my birth year though...the 80's just were not a pretty time IMO.

  3. Even if you're not in love with the looks from your month of birth, I'd still recommend grabbing some magazines. In years to come, you'll be well ahead of the game, and with time comes a certain nostalgia that you might not now believe is possible!

  4. I love that simple time capsule idea. Inspired. And, like you said, travels well, fairly inexpensive, and not another "thing" to put on display.