Where have all the foreign language bookstores gone??

10 Apr

Or did they never exist? In New York City, that is. It’s my new obsession to find a bookstore in the city that caters to francophiles and other lovers of languages, but my search this weekend left me coming up empty.

What motivated this quest? A very enterprising young 7th grader demanded that I start a French language club for middle schoolers, rather than the creative writing group I tried to foist upon them. (Enough writing for one day, thank you very much Ms. A !) She was outraged there was no foreign language study for interested students, and thought it would be a fun way to spend an afternoon with her friends. I agreed with her and promptly began to look for resources for beginner’s French study- nothing heavy, just fun songs and activities for teachers and parents that wanted to immerse kids.

I found little to nothing. Not at Court Street bookstore which serves many well-to-do Francophone folks in the neighborhood or Barnes and Noble further up the street (that actually wasn’t so surprising). So I started searching for books online- which doesn’t really help to bolster the local economy and just doesn’t have the same magic as wandering into a bookstore – one of those few businesses left that truly has the magic to transport.

So I’m left wondering where have all the foreign language bookstores gone?? There used to be a francophone bookstore that I loved in Rockefeller Center- La Librairie de France, but sadly that’s gone due to the high rent in that area. All that’s left now of French literature and language in NYC are the little nooks and crannies in bookstores here and there in the city.

Or am I mistaken??

This beautiful bookstore is gone- will anyone take their place??


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