The Albertine Bookstore
Inside the Payne Whitney mansion, which houses the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, lies the Albertine. A specialty bookstore devoted to French literature.
Named after Albertine Simonet, a prominent love interest in Proust's In Search of Lost Time, the bookstore embodies some of the characteristics of a romanticized icon: a visual appeal that draws people in and a charm that keeps them there.
Previously known for his work on Hôtel Costes and Ladurée in Paris, and The NoMad Hotel in New York City, iconic French architect and designer Jacques Garcia designed the bookshop that opened in 2014. Inspired by both the extravagance of the past and modern minimalism, Garcia produces grandiose designs, while maintaining a certain timelessness. His opulent use of mixed textures and incorporation of unique color palettes are defining features of his iconic style.
This balance of history and modernity can also be found in the content of the store. Classics such as Proust, Flaubert, and Voltaire can be found, as well as a variety of contemporary French authors. Books are sold in both French and English.
After a visit to the Met or a walk through Central Park, I would highly suggest popping into Albertine for a little French enlightenment.