Closure of an iconic Paris bookshop alarms French bibliophiles

Hit hard by the pandemic, the flagship Gibert Jeune store is closing its doors – one of many booksellers in the city feeling the strain of Covid-19

Paris, a great literary city, is losing one of its most celebrated bookshops. Gibert Jeune, a popular chain, has announced it will be closing its flagship shop in the Latin Quarter in March – the latest in a series of closures and appeals for help that threaten the future of the city’s booksellers.

Gibert Jeune once attracted long queues of students in search of cheap secondhand books before the start of each academic year; most students who have studied in Paris will have paid a visit to the six-floor shop at some point to find a book for their course. The family-owned company was founded in 1886 and started out as a bookstall on the banks of the Seine, quickly expanding into several shops in the fifth arrondissement, selling a mixture of new and secondhand books. Its bright yellow awnings along the Boulevard St Michel became a familiar landmark of the Latin Quarter, historically Paris’s literary and intellectual neighbourhood, and home to the Sorbonne.

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