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Sometimes, Paris seems to be a city built for readers – a magical place where no one looks out of place alone at a café with a paperback. The go-to destination for writers, artists and radical philosophers for centuries, the city is fiercely proud of its literary leanings. Notre-Dame and Victor Hugo are spoken of in the same breath, as are Hemingway and the Jardins du Luxembourg, and people can barely see a madeleine without referring to Proust. The smells from restaurant kitchens or the plight of the city's homeless invite discussion of Orwell, while the swinging shut of the iron gate to an elegant apartment building might recall Muriel Barbery.
All this can make the city resistant to change – the e-book market in France is minuscule, and Amazon's discounts are restricted to protect independent bookstores. But it all adds to the often dreamlike quality of browsing, buying and enjoying books in Paris, where paper and ink still speak of art, romance and possibility. The Paris buffs interviewed here know this only too well – and be they books for cooks or babies, you'll find plenty of inspiration in their selections.
Do you have a favourite Paris read? Let us know in the comments box below.