Founded in the early 1970s by Asia enthusiasts led by Alain and Christiane Thiollier, L’Asiathèque was originally a bookstore. It presented a collection of reference books written in both French and foreign languages in order to give the public an expanded access to Asian cultures. Located at 6, rue Christine, near Odéon in Paris, the bookstore quickly became a meeting place, welcoming travelers as well as students and researchers.
Soon, a publishing department was established with the publication of the Actes du XXIXe Congrès international des Orientalistes in 1973. Between 1985 and 1993, the publishing branch gained momentum, managed first by Isabelle Delloye and then by Christiane and Alain Thiollier after 1994. The bookstore closed in 1993.
The publishing department of L’Asiathèque became particularly strong in the area of language pedagogy thanks to a strong partnership with the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (Inalco). It first published language methods for Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, Chinese, Hebrew, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Vietnamese, but soon focused not only on Asian languages, but also on those from Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Africa, dealing with Bulgarian, Estonian, Modern Greek, Hungarian, Judeo-Spanish, Russian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Tachelhit, Quechua, and Wolof.
The publishing house now has a new name, evoking its multi-faceted approach to languages and cultures. The new name is Maison des langues du monde (World Languages Publishing), but the former name of L’Asiathèque has also been retained as evidence of the continuity of publishing house’s spirit and philosophy.
Today more than ever, learning languages is a way to know more about the world’s diverse peoples and achieve better harmony between them. Thus, L’Asiathèque - Maison des langues du monde turns toward the future by introducing new and innovative language learning methodologies (being part of ALPCU project).