Meet the man with the floating Paris bookshop

All aboard! Here’s a look at a very unusual floating bookshop in the canals of Paris.

While exploring the 19th arrondissement of Paris for The Earful Tower, we met up with Cyrille Bruneau who runs the Péniche Bookshop: L’Eau Et Les Rêves.

That’s right – the bookshop is inside a barge, moored on the Canal de l’Ourcq.

Going inside is like stepping into some kind of magical garden paradise. First you climb up the steps to the barge’s deck, then you descend through a green oasis of plants on a spiral staircase. Push open the main doors and you’re in a cosy cafe where the walls are lined with books about plants.

You see, the theme of the bookshop is plants, botany, and gardening, something that Bruneau is particularly passionate about.

“Being around plants is something that I’ve always needed. You find when you take care of a plant, it takes care of you in return,” he said on The Earful Tower podcast (listen below).

And he says he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than on the canal.

“My main goal when I took over was to have a place where I could work, and where every morning I wanted to go to work,” he said.

Bruneau took over the barge in 2018 and switched the bookshop’s theme from nautical to plants.

He also added a cafe and restaurant, admitting that it’s easier to sell a coffee than a book.

As for the 19th arrondissement, where the boat is moored, Bruneau suggests that it may be the water itself that defines the neighbourhood.

“There are a lot of different people living in the district … and sometimes it doesn’t have good publicity, but in reality it is very peaceful, it’s probably the water that calms people.”

Sitting in the cafe you’d forget that you’re on a boat. There’s hardly any movement on the water, something you’re more likely to find on the boats of the Seine, according to Bruneau.

One thing is for sure, this has to be one of the most unique bookshops in Paris.

You can find the floating bookshop at the 9 Quai de l’Oise, 75019. Click here for their website and follow them on Instagram here.

The Earful Tower podcast episode

You can hear more from Cyrille in the podcast episode below from 21min30. We also share our findings from the 19th arrondissement and give it a rating out of 100.

Tour the 19th arrondissement in our YouTube video

Take a closer look around the district in our YouTube video below, and see the bookshop in the second half.

And that’s it! A big thanks to Augusta Sagnelli for the photos and to the Patreon members who make all this possible. Join them here.

More tips for the district’s best restaurants, cafes, and attractions here. Otherwise, take a look at our other guides on the Paris arrondissements here.

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