Friday, July 31, 2020

Paris in July: Cheese and Books


And so, we come to the end of this year's Paris in July event. I have had a lot of fun talking about food, books and just generally feeding my desire to visit Paris again some day soon. Of course, like everyone else I have no idea when that might be! We were supposed to go in April this year but COVID got in the way. Maybe we will be able to go next year, although I suspect that might be a bit soon. Maybe in 2022!

This is a quote from Aria's Travelling Book Shop by Rebecca Raisin. I enjoy Rebecca Raisin's writing, especially when she writes about France, food and books, and this quote ticks all those boxes.


We head into our new town, chattering about the beauty before us as we wander down narrow medieval streets. The brisk morning air is like a tincture and I feel refreshed after the long drive the day before and I soon forget Jean-Pierre.
"I didn't even consult my maps for a bookshop for you," Rosie says.
I raise a brow. "Progress."
"No, it's not that. I know you'll sniff it out, you're like a bloodhound when it comes to books. Is it something you learn, or does it just come naturally to bibliophiles like yourself?"
I knock her with my hip. "Very funny."
We zigzag our way through the streets full of colourful buildings before Rosie stops at un epicier to stock up on baking essentials for the fete. The figs are lush and ready to burst and will make the most delicious jam for her French twist Devonshire teas. The grocer promises to deliver her haul to the campsite in a few hours' time.
Onwards we go, stopping at the fromagerie which is ripe with the smell of exotic cheeses. Rosie gets to talking to the fromager about all the various types. She's a wealth of information about French cuisine from her fifteen years at Epoque, a French restaurant in London. He offers us a taste of an aged comte that is so delicious I'll die if I don't eat more. Next he cuts a wedge of gooey camembert that's so creamy and lush I vow to only eat French cheese for the rest of my natural born life. I spend far too much money but leave the fromagerie happier than when I came in.
And I put all thought of a budget to one side. The universe will provide, isn't that the Van Lifer catch phrase.
The hair on my arms stands on end and that can only mean one thing. I'm close to a bookshop. I can almost smell it, the heady scent adventure trapped between parchments. Eventually I spy it. The most beautiful bookshop I've ever seen; the curved old stone building that leans slightly to the left as if seeking tentative rays of sunlight that eke in from the open square. Pale-blue weather-beaten shutters are thrown open, ivy snakes through the wood.
Rosie sees the excitement on my face and with a sigh glances at her watch. "No more than one hour, Aria."
I scoff. "It depends on how many floors it has." I gaze up at the windows, sheer curtains flutter in the breeze as if welcoming me in: We've been waiting for you, Aria...
"One and a half, that's my final offer." I grin as I pull her inside. "OK, nope. I  take that back. I'm going to need two hours," I say breathlessly. Tiny fairy lights blink in the shadowy space, dark wooden shelves curve around the room in an arc, snaking from the floor all the way up to the ceiling.
It's my kind of bookshop, shelves full to bursting, novels spilling over, double and triple stacked. In the centre of the room sit two antique French chaises in pale pink and ruby red, chenille throws draped over the arms patiently waiting for a bookworm to plonk down and relax for a time.
Magazines sit atop a coffee table, all that's missing is a pot of tea and a tin of biscuits and then no way would one and a half hours suffice.
A staff member wanders over and asks in perfect English,"May I help you find something?"
"Where are the cookery books, s'il vous plait?" Rosie asks.
"Back there to the left." She points to another rabbit warren of rooms. "Let me know if you'd like any further assistance.
"Thank you." We watch her walk away on sky-high heels. Even booksellers are glamorous in France.  I dip my head to my own outfit which could be described more as bookworm chic. Jeans and a literary tee is about as fancy as I get these days. I don't think I can even walk in heels anymore.

I am all about the comfy shoes these days too! In fact, this week my lovely husband bought my new slippers because that is literally all I am wearing on my feet all day every day whilst we are back in lockdown!

Thank you to Tamara from Thyme for Tea for hosting, to everyone who shared posts and who visited during Paris in July this year. I hope we get to do it all again next year!

I am also sharing this post with Weekend Cooking.

7 comments:

  1. We all share your fervent wish: that we can get to Paris again! Meanwhile, the imaginary travel has indeed been wonderful.

    be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. The imaginary travel has definitely helped the month be better for sure Mae!

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  2. Lovely book and this is certainly the way I travel these days. If there is a bookshop involved I think I would like to read this one.

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    1. There is a travelling bookshop which travels in conjunction with a tea shop Tina!

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  3. Thank you again for hosting this event. So much fun to imagine life in Paris. So is this character in one of the other Rebecca Raisin books? It is a series right? I'll have to remember this one as I did enjoy the book I read in July.

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