Newspaper kiosks – 150 years of history

The 340 newspaper kiosks of Paris have provided the Parisians with newspapers and magazines for 150 years.

Newspaper kiosks - One on the Champs-Elysees
Newspaper kiosks – One on the Champs-Elysees

Today, they distribute a little over 40% of all printed media sold each day in Paris!

The first newspaper kiosks appeared in 1857, during Baron Haussmann‘s renovation of Paris.

They were found on the popular Grands Boulevards and of course in the Quartier Saint-Michel.

Thirty-five years later Paris had 350 newspaper kiosks, mostly scattered in the busy central districts.

The newspaper kiosks were built on more or less the same design: small dark green octagonal pavilions.

Some are more ornate than others, but they all have an inimitable charm.

That said, they may disappear despite being considered one of the most iconic features of Paris!

The main reason is that, today, the Internet has entirely taken over our lives.

Many of us read our newspaper online, on our laptop, tablets or smart phones instead of buying a printed-paper.

The City of Paris is promoting its newspaper kiosks

In 2013 the City of Paris therefore launched a campaign in order to encourage Parisians to buy their newspapers and magazines in newspaper kiosks, if they don’t want to see them disappear.

Newspaper Kiosks - Place Saint-Augustin
Place Saint-Augustin

That said, the newspaper kiosks don’t only sell newspapers.

Newspaper vendors, or kiosquiers, were indeed granted licenses to sell tobacco and lottery tickets.

They also obtained approval, late 2011, to sell packaged food and tourist gadgets!

These include postcards, key chains, mini Eiffel Towers, umbrellas, hygiene articles personal, candy, drinks, transport and rental bicycle cards to name a few.

Other ideas are being considered in order to widen the range of products that could be sold in the newspapers kiosks.

All is being put in place in order to save them!

This awareness emerged some ten years ago, when the major daily newspapers and editorials began to offer an online version.

There were 252 newspaper kiosks then in Paris; there are now 336.

The target is to open 40 new kiosks within the next 5 years and re-open the dozen that closed due to the lack of kiosquiers.

Newspaper Kiosks - Boulevard Saint-Michel
Boulevard Saint-Michel

It must be said that kiosquier is a little unconventional and quite demanding job.

It indeed involves drastic schedules, as they need to be on site when the printed media is delivered at the crack of dawn.

They also have to work and stand up for long hours.

The kiosquiers rent their kiosks for about 120 euros per month – which is not that expensive.

They keep 21% on gross sales of each magazine and newspaper.

Newspapers sale alone is not sufficient, though, to guarantee them a decent salary.

So,  just as the bouquinistes (street 2nd hand booksellers), the kiosquiers boost their income with the sale of small tourist gadgets on which the profit margin is higher.

The best way to ensure the survival of Paris’ newspaper kiosks is to buy your newspapers and magazines from them – small souvenirs of Paris will be cheaper there than in store too!

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