Sunday, July 12, 2020

Paris in July: French bookstores

This excerpt comes from Rebecca Raisin's recent release, Aria's Travelling Book Shop which I read a few weeks ago. I have enjoyed a couple of books by this author this year, and this is not the first quote I have shared. I have shared previous posts about an old bookstore in Paris, about a patisserie shop and about that first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower

I love the way that this author talks about food and books. Today, it is all about books, but I may post another quote later in the month as well which is more about food!

"I'm going into town to hunt out all the glorious bibliotheques and bookshops, do you want to join me?" I ask Rosie who holds a cold compress to the back of her neck in an effort to cool down. French libraries are next level, a home for books that more resembles a grand chateua with their rich wooden shelves and antique furniture. So different to the stark libraries back home.
"I'd love to, Aria but I don't feel up to it. I'm sorry!" It's hard seeing Rosie so sick. I want to help her more but don't have the first clue how. Dr Google says lot of rest and relaxation is key, so I figure with us noisy nomads out of her hair she can at least nap in peace.
"Don't be sorry. I'll spend the entire day getting lost in dusty stacks of books so it's probably better you stay here and rest up. "Message me if you need anything. I'll find Wi-Fi in town"
"I will. Enjoy."
I head into Bordeaux in my van, taking in the old town which is so different to Rouen and Blois but equally beautiful. These towns all have their own historical charm and I fall in love with them as I go.  Bordeaux has a plethora of bookshops and libraries and I'm determined to visit as many as I can. The French love their literature, they revere writers and artists so much they're worshipped, even those long dead.
I find a place to park and hear to Librairie Mollat on rue Vital-Charles. According to my guidebook it's the oldest independent bookshop in France and it is also one of the biggest. Inside is a brightly lit, book lover's wonderland and I relish the fact I have plenty of time on my hands to explore.
There's something about French books; they whisper about secret worlds in a language I don't understand but want to try and decipher. My search continues and I find a photographic book about Chateau de la Brede, a gothic castle where famous French philosopher Montesquieu wrote his books. "Ah..." a man in a linen trouser suit appears. "You found it."
"Sorry?" I say and take a look behind me to make sure he's not talking to someone else.
"Have you visited the chateau yet?" He speaks as if we're old friends, and it's quite disarming.
"No, not yet."
"You must." He speaks perfect English with only a slight French inflection. "It's only twenty-five kilometres from here."
"Then I must." And I wonder if it is on Rosie's list of haunted chateaux to avoid. From the photographs inside the book, it definitely gives off that vibe.
He smiles. "You sell books?"
"How did you know?"
"I can sense a like-minded soul."
I give him a wide smile. "I'd have picked it on your too."
"Oui. We know these things." He taps his nose as if it's  a secret  we share. "Ihope you enjoy your timein Bordeauz."
"Merci." I smile as he walks away, charmed by such an interaction.

I am sharing this post as part of Paris in July, hosted by Thyme for Tea and for Sunday Salon hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz


  1. I wish my French was good enough for me to read in French as well as I read in English. It would be lovely to travel around France in an old VW van, and stop and visit bookstores and libraries. My idea of paradise.

    1. It does sound like an amazing adventure Deb. Sign me up!

  2. What a fun theme. I just wish I were in Paris then I could explore a bookshop with you! My Sunday Salon

  3. I might just have snuck this onto my Kindle, it sounds delightful!

  4. Oh, that sounds a bit like a dream come true, doesn't it? How delightful!

  5. Being able to spend hours in a French bookstore sounds like paradise! I'm going to have to add this one to my list of TBR books. Sounds charming.