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Sign: Paris - History of Paris - The booksellers of the banks of the Seine

14 Quai de l’Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris, France
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On the sign:
[An illustration of a ship, symbolizing the symbol of Paris]

Histoire de Paris

Les bouquinistes de la Seine
Le terme de "boucquain", sans doute dérivé du flamand "boeckjin" ou petit livre, fait son apparition en 1459, attesté sous la forme "bouquin" vers la fin du XVIe siècle. Dans son "Dictionnaire" de 1690, Furetière en donne la définition de "vieux livre fripé et peu connu"; le vocable de bouquiniste désigne, quant à lui, depuis 1752, les marchands installés sur les quais. En effet, leurs boîtes investissent peu à peu les parapets, d’abord sur la rive gauche; environ 300 sous la Révolution, ils connaissent une première réglementation grâce à l’ordonnance du 31 octobre 1822. Un premier recensement officiel en 1857 en dénombre 68 et le décret du 10 octobre 1859 consacre leur maintien, un temps menacé par les grands travaux d’Haussmann. Depuis 1891, ces "marchands d’esprit" ont l’autorisation de laisser sur place leurs caissons scellés pour la nuit. Selon Pierre Mac Orlan, ils représentent "le symbole de l’invitation aux voyages immobiles".
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One of the series of signs describing historical places in Paris. The signs were placed starting in 1992 and are also called sucettes Starck (Starck’s Lollipops) after Philippe Starck who designed them.

The sign describes the "boucquain", about 230 stalls scattered along the banks of the Seine selling books (mostly used). On the right bank they are from the Marie Bridge (where the sign was photographed) to the Louvre, and on the left bank starting from the Tournelle Bridge.

The following photos show the booths (some open and some closed), as taken a few months later near the bridge au Double
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Translation of the text on the sign:

[An illustration of a ship, symbolizing the symbol of Paris]

History of Paris

The booksellers of the Seine
The term "boucquain", probably derived from the Flemish "boeckjin" or little book, appeared in 1459, attested in the form "book" towards the end of the 16th century. In his "Dictionary" of 1690, Furetière gives the definition of "old crumpled and little known book"; since 1752, the term bouquiniste designates the merchants installed on the quays. Indeed, their boxes invest little by little the parapets, first on the left bank; around 300 during the Revolution, they experienced a first regulation thanks to the ordinance of October 31, 1822. A first official census in 1857 counted 68 of them and the decree of October 10, 1859 consecrates their maintenance, a time threatened by the great works of Haussmann. Since 1891, these "spirit merchants" have been authorized to leave their boxes sealed for the night. According to Pierre Mac Orlan, they represent "the symbol of the invitation to motionless journeys".

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