«Just think Marcel Proust came here to buy his note books… »
Esensual Living and the Galignani Library team up to introduce a monthly’s selection of exceptional Lifestyle and Design books. Take your pick and enjoy !
I know for sure that every booklover’s heart, as he walks through the threshold of Galignani’s, beats away to Frank Sinatra’s famous lyric : « Heaven, I’m in heaven… »
This very unique, very special place on the rue de Rivoli, facing the Tuileries gardens, is the first English bookshop established on the continent since 1802 and remains a true parisian landmark. Rows and rows of books are set in an extensive, warm hardwood decor from the Thirties where people browse away, flipping through pages, seeking advice, exchanging in subdued tones with expert librairians.
The atmosphere is quiet. No one will rush you here. At Galignani’s one has all the time in the world to enjoy the French and Anglo-American littérature section, the international Fine Arts and Design departments, the Children’s corner. Looking for a something in particular? A specialized service will hunt for it, order it and ship it anywhere in the world.
At Galignani’s, as you navigate the aisles, you may bump into famous « habitués » such as Karl Lagerfeld or the Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano, artists and people from the fashion and design world. The local code is « just ignore them. »
A Family Business
At the end of the 17th century, Giovanni Antonio Galignani left an economically declining Venice for London. He then settled in Paris where he opened, in 1801, a bookshop on rue Vivienne which doubled up with a reading room specialized in the English language. It became somewhat of a club.
He launched the Galignani’s Messenger, a daily newspaper for the English speaking community living on the Continent. Some of the greatest authors of the time, such as Byron or Thackeray, were contributors. Their books were published by Galignani. The library moved to rue de Rivoli in 1856. The newspaper and the publishing house came to a stop early in the 20th century.
During the Occupation, not being allowed to stock English editions, André Joncourt-Galignani inaugurated a section dedicated to art books, the ancestor of today’s Fine Arts section. After the war, Galignani became the rendez-vous of « la crème de la crème. » Hemingway, Louise de Vilmorin, Alain Malraux, Jean Cocteau, Marlène Dietrich, Charlie Chaplin were regular visitors.
After seven generations of family management, the actual owner decided he wanted an outsider with a fresh approach. He elected Danielle Cillien Sabatier, a media, marketing and communication specialist. She has now presided over Galignani for almost 10 years.
With great respect, this energetic and determined blond lady firmly took hold of the library destinies developping the various departments and generally opening up this secular institution to the wide world. Aside from editing several times a year wonderfully entertaining catalogues, she made the place more lively with spectacular window displays by Karl Lagerfeld, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Jean Paul Goude, attracting new fans from all over.
She also turned Galignani into the place to be with conferences and lectures. Introducing the most sought after book signings , hosting Diane von Furstenberg, Linda Pinto Louis Benech, Ines de la Fressange, Thadée Klossowski de Rola and their likes, she draws to the library the Tout Paris and many amateurs from abroad. To be included in these ultra parisian events makes one feel very special indeed !
Take a look at this month’s selection and get a taste of Galignani’s magic