Paris may be known as the world class high fashion, cheese, wine and other luxuries destinations, and it’s also where you can find the oddest and most eccentric shops you could think of. And the best thing is, the shops are not deliberately designed to be quirky… they’re just originally weird. They’ve been there for decades, even hundreds of years, totally unaware of how cool they are #realboss. Stepping inside these kind of shops instantly transports you to a long gone era and make you stand in awe. Today’s journal is about my most favorite secret shop, La Galcante!
This is exactly the kind of place a close friend whispered to you about, and tell you to never tell anyone about it. It’s a truly beautiful secret. So ssh, you can definitely keep this one for yourself.
La Galcante (a compression of Galerie and Brocante -flea market), also beautifully called ‘Librairie spécialisée en presse ancienne – La boutique du musée de la presse’ (Ancient Press Library/Boutique Museum of Press), is a quaint shop hidden behind the streets of in the corner of Rue de l’Arbre Sec, by the bustling 1st Arrondisement. It’s within a few minutes walk from the very touristy Louvre but it’s completely devoid of tourists.
So what is it actually? Basically, it’s an “Old Press” shop.
Sorry, it’s not just a shop. It’s a treasure trove of every printed publication, archives, photography reproduction, letters, tickets, maps, tickets, bills… basically every type of paper; eight millions of them, dated back to the 15th century. Crammed inside this shop.
Walking inside, a familiar aroma of old books and papers will welcome you, along with towers of stacked French/international newspapers and magazines, drawers and boxes of archives and photographs; diligently labeled in humble handwriting from floor to ceiling. Paris is indeed a paradise for old books and archive collectors, but this shop goes beyond most others. I can see it being every collector or journalist dream. Of course this is the internet era where you can find almost every information online, dates back to the yesteryears… but stepping back into the era of pre-digital journalism here, where every information of what happened in the world is available by the year, month, even day, is totally more interesting than typing on the google search box.
Minutes spent at La Galcante will quickly turn to hours without you realising it. You are welcome to browse all the archives for free. Pierre, the shop keeper is very chill with it (and also very chill with photography in the store). However being a memory scavenger, I could never resist the temptation to get one of two things home. My last purchase was the issue Le Monde newspaper dated back on… my birthday.
La Galcante, boutique du musée de la presse
52 Rue de l’Arbre Sec, 75001 Paris
Open Monday to Saturday 10am-7:30pm, Closed on Sunday