A Visit to Au Vieux Campeur in Paris
Let’s get this out of the way now. This is NOT a sponsored post.
I have not received a Euro cent (or a penny) from Au Vieux Campeur in Paris, and not a free book or a free map either.
In fact, the Vieux Campeur is not even aware that he is going to feature in a blog post on this site, and if I had told him about it on my last visit, he probably would have shrugged in that inimitable Gallic way, as if to say ”…Bof!”
The truth is, Au Vieux Campeur doesn’t need recommendations from Easy Hiker or indeed any other website, having traded for 70 years as France’s foremost shop for hiking wear, hiking boots, tents, camping gear, you-name-it-they-have-it outdoors equipment as well as travel books and maps.
Although Au Vieux Campeur has established branches in eight cities and towns all over France – 26 shops in Paris alone, scattered all over the St Germain area where the business once began – it has preserved the slightly musty charm of a genuine family enterprise and is still run by the son of the company’s founder.
Two of their Parisian shops are exclusively dedicated to selling books and maps, back-to-back on Rue de Latran in the 5th arrondissement: one for France, one for the rest of the world.
The France shop is twice the size of the “rest of the world” shop – which may be funny, but certainly is good business thinking, too.
No shop can ever store all the books that were ever published about any place anywhere in the world, but to take up that challenge for a single country is a different matter.
I don’t know whether Au Vieux Campeur in Paris provides all the travel guides there are about France, but they certainly strive hard to give you the impression.
I know you can buy it all on the Internet these days, and cheaper too, probably, but nothing beats the feeling of actually holding the books in your hand and being able to make an informed comparison.
I have bought many books online over the years that simply weren’t what I was looking for and proved to be utterly useless. That has never happened to me with books I bought in an actual shop. Think about that.
So do yourself a favour: if you intend to go hiking anywhere in France and can read basic French, give Au Vieux Campeur in Paris a visit first. You will not regret it.
Share with us where you get your hiking and walking needs. Head over to our Facebook page and join the discussion.