Landmark Parisian bookshop to close

Another Paris landmark is no more. Brentano’s, an American bookshop whose customers have ranged from Ernest Hemingway to Johnny Hallyday, has been forced to close by exploding rental demands.

After 114 years, the bookshop’s prime site on the Avenue de L’Opéra, close to the Louvre, is expected to become, like much of the rest of the avenue, a designer label shop catering for the Japanese tourist trade.

Although regarded by the English-speaking community as a Paris institution, Brentano’s has been undermined by the recession, by the internet and, above all, by soaring commercial rents in the heart of Paris. Its landlord, the bank BNP Paribas, increased the rent several years ago from Euros 75,000 a year to Euros 200,000.

Brentano’s, founded in 1895 and originally part of an US-based chain of the same name, was once a centre of American cultural life in the French capital. "The avenue de L’Opera used to be American. It has become Japanese," said Chantal Bodez, last owner of the shop with her husband.

In the 1950s, the science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, turned up at Brentano’s, unannounced, wearing shorts in the midst of winter. He offered to sign his own books. A queue soon stretched into the avenue.

Mr Bradbury’s most celebrated work is about a world without books. Now aged 88, he will doubtless be glad to know that there are still other English language bookshops in Paris, including a thriving, 106 years old branch of WH Smith.

The loss of Brentano’s is, nonetheless, part of a gradual erosion of commercial quirkiness and character from the centre of the French capital.

It was confirmed last week that Samaritaine, the sprawling department store closed down for safety reasons four years ago, would never reopen as a single shop. After a long legal battle, the luxury goods company Louis-Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy has been given permission to convert the protected, art-nouveau Samaritaine site beside the river Seine into a luxury hotel, council flats and designer fashion shops for the Japanese tourist trade.







Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before