Find joy in those 6 independent bookstores in Montreal

By Véronique Alarie

Put down your tablets. Stop browsing online! Let’s take a trip back to the last century, fall in love again with paper, and head out to discover the most charming independent bookstores in the city. Bonus: we highlight small cafés nearby where you can leaf through your new finds. (You’re welcome!)

Find joy in those 6 independent bookstores in Montreal

Le port de tête

Whether you’re digging for new or used, Le Port de tête has a book for you. “Our clientele is very diverse, open minded and curious. Our customers look for everything from essays, and experimental comics, to daring novels and out-of-the-ordinary children’s books,” describes co-owner Martin Turcotte. Open until 10 pm most nights, this small, cozy bookstore hosts more than 100 launches, talks and lectures each year. Can’t wait to start reading? These nearby cafes are perfect for sitting down with your latest find: the Café Névé, French restaurant Plein Sud and neighbourhood staple Binerie Mont-Royal.

Librairie du Square

This small, niche bookstore in the Latin Quarter has been around for more than 30 years. It was the late Gaston Miron’s favourite (he lived just above it). Widely popular with students, it’s conveniently located near a couple of excellent reading spots: St-Louis Square, which is located just out front, or at the legendary Café Cherrier, a stone's throw away.

La librairie de Verdun

This lovely space carries a huge range of titles and magazines and has a cooking section and a very cute corner just for the little ones, topped off with a tree-shaped light. There’s also a coffee corner where you can laze about for hours. On a side note, lovers of all things second-hand can check out the old Librairie de Verdun location a two-minute walk away, which is now home to a thrift store.

Drawn & Quarterly

Under the auspices of the publisher of the same name, this Mile End bookstore offers, among other things, the best in comics and graphic novels. Take a look at their blog between visits to see what’s new and to tide you over until your next raid. And after your visit, head to the Dépanneur Café, located just opposite, to crack open your latest acquisitions to the sound of a soft and intimate concert.

Millenium

The ultimate hideout for fans of European comic books, this place definitely has something to satisfy your inner geek. Immortalized on the small screen in the TV series Les Invincibles (remember, that's where Carlos was going to work after his career at the chicken factory!), this specialized bookstore is located near the vegan Cafe Tuyo and the Moineau masqué, where you can take in the mastery of latte art as you read.

Librairie Raffin

Located on St-Hubert Street since 1930 (!), the charming Librairie Raffin is distinguished by its impeccable service, its lovely youth section... and its pleasant reward system (you get 5% of your purchase price in Raffin dollars to use on your next visit)! Even better, it's located next to some awesome cafes – Cafellini, Candide Café, Café 8 oz. – where you can sit down and read.

Montreal has a vibrant independent bookstore scene that caters to just about any literary interest you can imagine. Combine this with an equally prolific café scene and you’ve got a recipe for hours of enjoyable book browsing and leisurely reading with a coffee in hand.

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