To get better at French you have to practice. Listen to French podcasts, watch French films, and of course read French books. Here’s a list of the best addresses in Washington DC for buying French books.
Formerly Bonjour Mama, Bonjour Books DC is the largest French bookstore in the Washington metropolitan area. Jennifer Fulton, a mother from Maryland who is interested in bilingual education, offers more than 1,500 French titles for all ages. The owner is proud of her collection, compiled thanks to her meticulous research but also on the advice of her American and French readers. Passionate about the French language, she also started a book club with a French book to read every month. Until 2013, her bookstore was located in the back shop of the Kensington Row bookstore on Antiques Row, in the historic district of Kensington. She moved into her own storefront on April 2 of this year. In addition to French, there is also a small selection of books in Spanish, Italian and other languages. — 3758 Howard Ave, Kensington, MD. Open Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm.
If you prefer to read in peace and quiet, you can also visit the library of the Alliance française de Washington , which has exclusively French-language books. You must be a member to be able to borrow the books, but the reading room is open to everyone. The library offers 2,200 fiction books and 1,100 non-fiction books for adults (award-winning novels, bestsellers, classics of literature, etc.), as well as more than 2,000 books for children of all ages. Whatever your skill level is, whether you’re a French student or on your way to being a native speaker, you’ll find something to read there. — 2142 Wyoming Ave, NW, Monday to Wednesday, 9am to 8.30pm, Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm.
In Dupont Circle, the well-known Politics and Prose bookstore has a shelf of French-language books. The independent bookshop offers all kinds of French books, including many old and second-hand books, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, they’ll order it for you. — 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Monday to Saturday, 9am to 10pm, Sunday 10am to 8pm.
Also in Dupont Circle, Second Story books is the largest bookstore in Washington DC, and it has been since it opened in 1973. There’s a small section of French works, from Amélie Nothomb to Jean-Paul Sartre. — 2000 P St., NW, every day from 10am to 4pm; 12160 Parklawn Dr., Rockville, MD, Sunday to Wednesday from 10am to 8pm, Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm.
In the historic Georgetown neighborhood, The Lantern, one of Washington DC’s oldest bookstores, operates thanks to an incredible team of volunteers. On the ground floor, in the corner of foreign books, a beautiful shelf of books in French plunges literature lovers into the most beautiful classic novels. All profits from the bookstore are donated to Bryn Mawr College as part of a scholarship. — 3241 P Street NW, Wednesday to Friday from 11am to 4pm, Saturday from 11am to 5pm and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm.
Even if the historic Idle Times Books has just changed ownership after 30 years, the atmosphere remains the same. A French section completes the beautiful collection of foreign language books on the ground floor. — 2467 18th St NW, Monday to Sunday, from 11am to 10pm.
Targeting foreign language teachers, Tempo Bookstore offers a wide variety of books in more than 100 languages. The books here are more for children and teenagers than they are for adults, but that could be what you need depending on your level of French. It’s also a good place to find books in French that will specifically help you learn the language or practice your grammar and conjugations. — 4115 Wisconsin Ave NW, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm.