Sunday, August 9, 2009

Books, Shakespeare And Lunch

Looking for old or used books the old fashioned way can wear out a lot of shoe leather, but is way more interesting than computer searches. Hoping to discover a series of Ansel Adams photography books while in Paris, brought me to several bookshops I regularly go to. It was a long shot, but all about the journey. First I needed a little lunch for the way. Walking through Paris' Latin Quarter, there are many choices. A crêpe made to order and filled with warm, melted Gruyere cheese is a favorite. It is street food at it's finest. Now, I could get down to business in this lively quartier. The area of students and universities, gets its name from the Latin language speaking students from the Middle Ages. There is still a learning atmosphere with bookstores that cater to the international student. I first stopped at the bookshop, Gilbert Jeune, with no luck at finding my books. Walking along the Seine and past les bookinistes stalls, I looked quickly at what was displayed beyond the postcards. There was a lot of photography, but no Ansel Adams books to be seen. much for French fashion here! And why are the photographer and journalists signs posted with the toillette sign??? Onward I went to reach Shakespeare and Company, the English speaking bookshop with roots back to the original owner, Sylvia Beach. The store was often visited by Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, George Antheil, Man Ray, James Joyce, and the Beat Poets of the 50's. I have been coming here for years and have often gone to the Sunday poetry readings and tea in the upstairs room. The bookshop welcomes young writers and students, and offers a place to study and even sleep if needed. (I think I am too much of a germ freak to do that!) You're just expected to give back by working a little in the store. I don't think anyone has ever been on the organizing shift, though! There is a place to stop, sit and read in every dusty nook, cranny and eave of this bohemian store. I was tempted to drag that comfy green chair over to the open window and sit a spell. Even though there were no Ansel Adams books (I think!) among stacks and stacks of books here, the ongoing dedication to the learned soul permeates from every creak in the ancient floor. Ah...if walls (and books) could talk!

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La Table De Nana said...

Oh if ever I go to Paris:) Will you tell me what to do?My neighbour lived there..Mimi went on her honeymoon..a client lived there..but you seem to have spread your wings there:)

You just look like you know all the great fun places..interesting etc..I love your pics..your prose..your sense of adventure:)
I just want to say thank you for my armchair travel.:)

Sadly I am too picky to sleep there also:)

2 Stews said...

Of course, I will share any thoughts, recommendations or fancies with you. One of the great things about Paris is that everything changes so much with the light, the seasons and chefs whims! It is never without excitement. Around every corner is a new delight, untried restaurant or and old favorite. There are small pocket museums and then there is the Louvre....OK, I'll stop now....and I hope one day to see you there! :-)

Karen @ Mignardise said...

I love your pictures, as usual.
And I am insanely jealous of the time you get to spend in Paris.
Hope you find the book soon - but the search is so much fun!

Kathy Walker said...

What an adventure. I love the stacks of books and the random furniture....I too will pass on the bed! I would love to visit this store.

food with style said...

i love all this wonderful excursions you go on, you just make the most of everything! i am reading julia my life in france right now, your pics set the mood beautifully~

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Oh! This post soothed my soul! I spent several months in Paris as I was going to school...and spent much time at Shakespeare and Company! I would study there...and just leaf through English books (which was a treat as I was navigating the language and culture).

Beautiful pics.

I have such a soft spot in my heart for that city! Thanks!