Bookshops in Toulouse

At 3 rue du Taur, just off of Place du Capitole, there is a Gibert Joseph bookshop. This is one of a chain of bookshops that can be found in various French cities, especially near the universities. I have always liked Gibert Joseph because I used to buy my books from their stores in Paris when I was a student there many years ago.

At this Gibert Joseph bookshop in Toulouse I bought a 969-page book which would keep me busy for the next several weeks: Le capital au XXIe siècle (Capital in the 21st century) by Thomas Piketty. This book was a bestseller in France in the summer of 2014 — and later in many other countries. Despite its length it turned out to be surprisingly easy to read, although it spares no detail in explaining the concentration of wealth in France, Britain and many other countries, even referring back to the economic insights of Vauban in the late 17th century.

Vauban, who is best known as a military engineer and strategist, made one of the earliest attempts to estimate the total national revenue and national capital of France. (See pages 99-100 of Piketty’s book.)

Piketty notes that Vauban and a few others, writing around the year 1700 in both France and England, “were promoting a very precise political objective, generally in the form of a project of fiscal modernization. By calculating the national revenue and the national patrimony of the kingdom, they intended to show their sovereign that it would be possible to raise considerable revenues using relatively moderate tax rates, if only one would take into account the totality of property and riches produced, and if these taxes were imposed on everyone, in particular on landowners, whether aristocrats or not.”

La Pléïade

Another bookshop on the same street, La Pléïade. This is an independent bookshop which also specializes in books for schools and the university. My photo shows the entrance at 13 rue du Taur.

The Bookshop

Toulouse also has an interesting foreign-language bookshop, known simply as The Bookshop. It is located at 17 Rue Lakanal, also not far from the university and the city center.

My photos in this post are from 2014. I revised the text in 2019.

Next: The arrival of the wounded, 1914.

5 thoughts on “Bookshops in Toulouse”

  1. Bookstores? Bookstores … did someone say bookstores??? You have found my Achilles Heel! I love the ones you picture here … they look so much cozier and more intimate than the big box Barnes & Noble we frequent. Not, mind you, that I don’t love B&N, but it seems that here in the U.S., the big box stores have put all the smaller ones out of business, and I find that sad.

    1. Here in Germany there is a big chain called Hugendubel which has large book stores in most cities. Their big store in Frankfurt has a huge selection of books, a cafe in the basement and comfortable corners on all floors where you can just sit down and read for a while. I love their stores, but I well remember that when they opened in Frankfurt in the 1970s, three of the local bookshops went out of business in less than a year.

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