"The Abbey Bookshop" by Junko Benjamin

"The Abbey Bookshop" by Junko Benjamin

In 1989, Brian Spence, who hails from Toronto, crossed the Atlantic to bring his Abbey Bookshop to an international audience. The Abbey Bookshop in Paris’s Latin Quarter has for the last twenty years become a cultural epicenter for Canadians, Anglophones and Anglophiles from all corners of the world. Although offering a wide variety of Canadian books, its main attraction is an eclectic collection of over 35,000 titles in English ranging from scholarly to popular literature.
The shop sits on rue de la Parcheminerie, originally named rue des Escrivains for the scribes and scriveners who were the heart of the Parisian book trade until parchmentmakers replaced them in the late Middle Ages. On July 1, 1989 the Abbey Bookshop brought the book trade back to this historic street.

The building Spence serendipitously discovered for his shop is the eighteenth-century Hotel Dubuisson, one of the most handsome in the Latin Quarter. The historic “hôtel” is protected as a monument for its picturesque façade, sculptural decoration and carved doors.

En 1989, Brian Spence, né à Toronto, Canada, a traversé l’Atlantique pour ouvrir la Librairie canadienne, The Abbey Bookshop, à Paris. Depuis son ouverture, la librairie est devenue un point de convergence pour les canadiens, les anglophones et les anglophiles de tous les coins du monde. Quoiqu’expert en livres canadiens, la librairie n’en compte pas moins de 35,000 titres en anglais, des plus érudits aux plus populaires.

La librairie, qui se trouve rue de la Parcheminerie, à l’origine la rue des Escrivains, a été baptisée pour les scribes qui fondèrent le commerce parisien de livres, jusqu’a ce qu’ils soient remplacés par les fabricants de parchemin vers la fin du Moyen-Age.

Le 1er Juillet 1989, l’Abbey Bookshop raviva cette tradition en prenant pignon sur rue au numéro 29, dans l’Hôtel Dubuisson, l’un des plus beaux immeubles du Quartier Latin, reconnu pour sa façade pittoresque, sa décoration sculpturale et sa porte ciselée.

16 Responses to “The Abbey Bookshop”


  1. 1 Nancy Guri Duncan June 18, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Hello Brian, just received an email about your 20th anniversary and wish so much I could be there–it sounds great! Unfortunately, as most summers now, I am not in Paris but in the Drome (or traveling), so won’t be able to celebrate with you. However, it is wonderful–you should be proud–20 years running the most charming and delightful bookstore in Paris!
    Will come in and say hello the next time I’m back.
    All the very best wishes from Nancy Guri and François


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