Where to read in Paris?

The best hidden places to read in Paris

Long days and distant vacations got you down? How about retreating into a peaceful bubble for a few hours to totally disconnect, release mental stress, and enjoy a solo break in tranquility? The Do It Team has scouted 7 perfect spots for reading in peace, from a stylish coffee shop to a secret garden, a Belle and the Beast-worthy library, or a secluded terrace. Grab a good novel or a chilling thriller and your sunglasses. Do not disturb!

 

A BUCOLIC SQUARE

The Spot: Square Saint-Gilles du Grand Veneur Pauline Roland.

Neighborhood: Marais.

The Hideaway: The 17th-century mansion surrounding Square Saint-Gilles du Grand Veneur Pauline Roland has passed through many hands before being converted into private apartments. While it can't be visited, you can enjoy its dreamy garden in the heart of Marais, featuring climbing roses, stone benches, and soft lawns. Hidden from the street, you'll need to cross a discreet archway with a good book and a sandwich in hand. Keep this secret to yourself.

Square Saint-Gilles du Grand Veneur Pauline Roland, entry via 9 rue du Grand Veneur, Paris 3e.

 

A SECRET PATIO

The Spot: The Garden of Petit Palais.

Neighborhood: Champs-Elysées.

The Hideaway: Opposite the Grand Palais, this gem created for the 1900 World's Fair remains a hidden treasure. Not only does it house a divine permanent collection with masterpieces like Monet's Sunset on the Seine at Lavacourt and Georges Clairin's Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, but it also boasts a charming café in the middle of a tropical garden. Sip on lemonade, quiche, and pastries. No need to visit the museum to enjoy this café.

Petit Palais Garden, Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 8e. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM. Free entry.

 

A LITERARY CAFÉ

The Spot: Café Tram.

Neighborhood: Latin Quarter.

The Hideaway: You may have spotted this adorable café/bookstore in season 2 of Emily in Paris. This picturesque and sophisticated spot is perfect for everyone! Located just behind the Panthéon, Paul Hyatt and Marion Trama have created an inspiring, poetic space with exquisite decor where you can telework in the morning or read over a creamy matcha latte, almond milk with orange blossom, and a delicious croque-monsieur.

Café Tram, 47 rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, Paris 5e. Croque-monsieur €17.

 

AN EXTRAORDINARY LIBRARY

The Spot: The Oval Room at BnF Richelieu.

Neighborhood: Palais-Royal.

The Hideaway: Inaugurated in 1936, this iconic room at the BnF offers over 20,000 volumes for free consultation and 160 reading places under a majestic glass dome. Here, you can find comics from around the world, books on French history, and classic French literature, all to be enjoyed from comfy chairs or custom-designed tables by Patrick Jouin.

Oval Room of BnF Richelieu, 5 rue Vivienne, Paris 2e. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM, Tuesday until 8 PM. Free entry.

 

A PEACEFUL TERRACE

The Spot: Pavillon de la Reine.

Neighborhood: Marais.

The Hideaway: This is the best-kept secret in the Marais! Hidden under the arcades opposite Place des Vosges is the entrance to the Pavillon de la Reine hotel. Besides its Michelin-starred restaurant Anne, this confidential 5-star hotel opens its dreamy terrace to non-guests on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday afternoons. Enjoy a delicious café latte or iced tea and capture this perfect moment with a lovely Instagram story.

Pavillon de la Reine, 28 Place des Vosges, Paris 3e. Terrace accessible to non-guests (except lunch) on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday afternoons.

 

A STYLISH COFFEE SHOP

The Spot: The Dancing Goat.

Neighborhood: Père Lachaise.

The Hideaway: Bathed in light, this spot blends an English pub, a New York café, and a French bistro. Kudos to Cocorico Paris designers and the smart proprietor Daniel, who brought his dream to life from his native England. The jazzy soundtrack sets a super cool ambiance all day long. It's the best spot around to devour your new favorite novel along with homemade pastries: cookies, cakes, marble cake, or chocolate brownie, paired with an excellent iced matcha latte or freshly made fruit juice.

The Dancing Goat, 117 Avenue Gambetta, Paris 20e. Open Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 6:30 PM.

 

A MUSEUM GARDEN

The Spot: Maison de Balzac.

Neighborhood: Passy.

The Hideaway: Nestled in a beautiful garden with a view of the Eiffel Tower, this charming house with green shutters is a true haven of peace. Between 1840 and 1847, the author of La Comédie Humaine lived here under the pseudonym "Monsieur de Breugnol" to escape his creditors! Besides exhibitions and workshops held year-round, the garden features the lovely Rose Bakery tea room, offering delightful English treats like scones and addictive sandwiches.

Maison de Balzac, 47 rue Raynouard, Paris 16e. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM. Free entry.

 

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