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Two Great New Bookstores

When we heard London’s beloved, century-old bookshop, Foyles, was moving down the street into Central Saint Martin’s old digs, we were sceptical. What would happen to all the charming eccentricities that made the family-owned bookshop so special? Would Ray’s Jazz—the quirky jazz-nerd’s nook and listening station—survive? What about the buzzy café, with its fresh selection of homemade cakes? The new Foyles opened in June and we’re relieved to say that Ray’s Jazz has a new tucked-away nook, the café still offers tea and cakes, but in a sunny, wifi-enabled space on the top floor, there’s a cozy reading area for kids, art books and magazines are now enticingly displayed in the foyer, and the store itself is stunning, with a central staircase that winds through the heart of the building, making each floor visible. And each floor is full of patrons—with their noses in books.

The French Embassy has pulled off a wonderful coup in bringing this gem-like French bookstore and reading room to Fifth Avenue. Named after the ethereal character from Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, the Jacques Garcia-designed (who else?) space is beautifully decked-out with comfy leather couches for cuddling up with a novel, and a gleaming constellation fresco on the ceiling of the two-storey space. The only French bookstore of its kind in the city, it’s a gift to New York—in one of the few remaining Stanford White-designed Beaux Arts buildings, no less. Don’t miss the incredible roster of events taking place at Albertine this weekend: Cultural luminaries from both sides of the Atlantic, like graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi, novelist Mary Gaitskill, and journalist Paul Berman will all be speaking.

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