THE BOUQUINISTES

You have certainly seen them, walking along the Seine in Paris. The row of small shops clinging to the stone parapet of the river is interrupted only when there is a bridge and therefore a passage. Then it resumes, as if nothing has happened, up to the next bridge.

bancarelle2

On the right bank you will find the bouquinistes from the Pont Marie to the Louvre. And on the left bank, from the Quai de la Tournelle to the Quai Voltaire. In total there are about 900! But what are they, what do they sell, how long have they been around?

They are small individual businesses, specialised in the sale of books, bouquins, from which they take their name. But in addition to books, they sell antique prints, posters of old films, opera librettos and illustrated postcards. Small souvenirs of Paris, like the miniatures of the Eiffel Tower or Nôtre Dame, are on display next to faded black-and-white photos of famous French cinema celebrities, from Jean Gabin to Michelle Morgan, from Jacques Tati to Fernandel, not to mention Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker.

After all, those small, run-down shops are full of memories and therefore of history. For this reason, since 2011 they have been declared Unesco World Heritage sites. The owners do not pay taxes or rent, but are required to strictly comply with the strict regulations of their trade. Do you wonder how they stay there, one attached to another, without interruption?

bancarelle3

After all, they sell the same goods... don't they compete with one another? I do not think so, because each of us, as potential clients, have a memory, an unrealized dream, a happy episode of life that, we do not know how, ended up there, in that little shop and not in the next one. And they, the bouquinistes, know it. "This customer is yours, the next one will be mine!", a philosophy of dreamers, of sellers of memories, perhaps of hopes that only Paris can evoke.

Maxime - Art & Culture

Bonjour, my name is Maxime. I obtained my name because my grandmother always took me to Maxime’s in Paris for my birthday, always in the company of her best girlfriend! When I was fourteen years old, I was already enamoured with their Parisian chatter. Now, when with friends, I know everything about the art of invisible make-up and light cocktails! The Parisian really has a very distinct character: she’s surprising and interesting. And she’s so feminine! As for invitations, it a real task: each day Paris offers new exhibitions, previews and vernissages. With a Parisian, you absolutely have to be in the right place at the right time!

Related items

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change this and find out more by following this link.