Searching for some Egyptian books from the 80’s I came across a treasure that turned out to be well known in the Egyptian intellectual and Ex-Pat community. L’Orientaliste in Kasr El Aini Street no. 17, is situated not far from Talaat Harb Square and might have escaped my view if I would’t have spotted the antique books in its windows by chance.
Most of them dating from the 19th and 20th century are scholarly pieces from the fields of sociology, anthropology, oriental studies a.o, travel reports and memoirs by French writers, mostly orientalists. The name of the shop already alludes to its routes in the francophile setting. Actually, I had my first broader conversation in French outside my flat (living with an French flatmate) with the lady at the front desk. The shop was established as early as 1936 and is since several years owned by Hassan Kamy, a former Opera legend in Egypt.
Interested in details, check out this article on L’Orientaliste and Mr. Kamy’s life story: http://egyptianstreets.com/2015/08/04/the-secret-life-and-journey-of-egyptian-opera-legend-hassan-kamy/
One can browse in their catalog that also includes old maps, photos and postcards and directly reserve ones personal treasure: http://www.orientalecairo.com.