Thursday, June 09, 2011

Book arts-related shops in Paris

I have such a lot to share with you, but I am trying to keep information in categories that will make the information easier to find in the future. In this post I’ll focus on places I’ve found where you might buy book arts-related “stuff” in Paris. I am also planning to talk in future about artists books I’ve seen (and bought!), art/artists I’ve seen and in particular, one printmaker and book artist, who we met and got to know a little.

At “Les Puces” or “the Fleas”

Paris has a large number of markets which often run for 3 days of the week, like the St Ouen flea market (Sat, Sun, Mon) which I visited. I read that Les Puces are the original flea markets in Europe, and the term comes from the fact that the area where they are (St Ouen, just beyond the boundary of the Parisian arrondissements) was, in fact, heavily infested with fleas! Fortunately not the case now.

Les Puces are HUGE, covering numerous blocks. The first part is devoted to clothes, but more than half is vintage items. I had a tip to look for a particular shop which specializes in ephemera, pens and other items of interest to calligraphers.

I rarely use ephemera in my work, but I have been doing some ink drawings these past few months. There were literally hundreds of nibs, for calligraphy and drawing, from numerous countries. These are the ones I eventually chose, and the ones on yellow were a gift from Veronique, the store owner.


From: Boulevard des Ecritures, Marche Vernaison, Allee 7, – Stand 128 bis

Just around the corner, down the winding alleys of the market, we bought these wonderful wooden printing blocks. I have longed for some of these since I first became aware of them. We spent a dusty half hour, picking through boxes sorted by letter, until we came up with this configuration. We had to include the large “E” with the circumflex. A few others have french and german script features too.


From: tombees du, Marche Vernaison, Allee 5, – Stand 92


Rue du Pont Louis Philippe

When you wander from the Marais towards the Seine, one lovely street that is lined with interesting shops is Rue du Veille Temple (Old Temple Street). Once you cross Rue de Rivoli, the street name changes to Rue du Pont Louis Philippe. Clustered near the top of this street are a number of “paperies”. My favourite was Calligrane (6 Rue du Pont Louis Philippe) where I bought 6 beautiful sheets of handmade paper. Ahhhh! if only money and luggage allowances were more plentiful. Large sheets of paper are not easy to travel with!

Kimonoya, on the corner at 11 rue du Pont Louis Philippe, sells beautiful items from Japan. They include traditional tea cups, teapots, kimonos, scarves and gorgeous calligraphy brushes on stands. Then if you continue down the lane beside Kimonoya, you’ll come to this gorgeous building. It’s a rare example of what I would have described as Tudor architecture, but my husband pointed out that it’s unlikely to be the term used by the French!



Back in rue du Pont, Melodies Graphique is at number 10. It is a paper and calligraphy shop too, but was unfortunately closed when I tried to visit. The sign on the door read “fermee exceptionelle” (exceptional closure) which sounds serious to me. I can’t tell you much more about it but here are some lovely photos of the interior of the shop here.

One last place that I still hope to visit is Relma, (3 rue des Poitevins, in the 6th arrondissement). It’s a bookbinders shop with a history that dates back to the 1920s. Sounds like heaven!

A bloggy-book arts meet-up

I’ll finish off this post with the best of all! After my last post, former BookGirl, Clara Boza, checked in on Facebook and noticed I was in Paris. So was SHE! Clara got in touch and voila! Here we are enjoying “une express” and the odd macaroon (yes, I know I mentioned them in the last post too!).


Clara is lovely and I was absolutely delighted to meet her. So good to chat about common interests (and in English).  Clara lives in North Carolina, not far from Penland. Hmmm. She has a new blog now but unfortunately I have lost the link. I’ll add it here when I can.

And to really finish off, a few more photos of this wonderful city.









  1. Amanda, I'm loving this Paris "series" and am so pleased your health is holding up.
    Wonderful to have met another blogger, too.Our blog friends are a lovely lot, aren't they?

  2. I think it IS possible to die of envy..... sooooo many lovely sights and things....