How I've been to Paris as many times as I have and never visited (or known about) the American Library in Paris is beyond me. It's an oversight I look forward to correcting. The Library, located in the legendary 7th arrondissement, has a fascinating history. Founded in 1920 as a home for books sent by the Library War Service to US soldiers in France, the ALP has continued its mission unabated for 90 years. It's as alive and current as ever, serving expats and locals alike with a bright and welcoming interior, a smarter-than-average collection, and lively, sophisticated events. With the location and book culture of Paris and the service level (not to mention English-language books) of a great American institution, it's a remarkable meeting of two worlds.

Charles Trueheart, director of the ALP, tells me that all the Library needs now is more members.  Luckily, a Parisian pied-à-terre is no requisite to belonging to the Library. In fact, a library card from the ALP can grace the wallets of every book-loving Francophile on this side of the Atlantic. The cards come with a membership, and carrying one is a subtle but meaningful way to show off your bookish savoir-faire. It also lets you pledge allegiance to one of the most welcome American guests Paris has ever had.

(Library interior photos courtesy of David Bacher.)

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