Paris is the center of the world for bibliophiles – or more realistically “bibliomaniacs.” One reason is that the French don’t throw anything away – they preserve things. There used to be artisans who would repair the bindings of older (like 19th century) books. Today they’re a dying breed but there are still book sellers all around the city with most clustered in the latin Quarter. Even two and three hundred year old books can be found in remarkable condition given their age — “etat Belge” — meaning it’s in the same state as a Belgian would keep it: pristine.
Unfortunately the “bouquinistes” along the Seine are increasingly turning to selling little Eiffel Towers and scarves. Those stalls, many of them, have been handed down from one generation to the next and while it’s unlikely you’ll find anything worth a lot of money, the value of an old book — how can you place a value on reading?