The Books I Bought in Paris

You already know I bought buttons when I was in Paris.  But I never caught up with you about the books I bought.  And since today July 14th is Bastille Day, it seems fitting to do a post about France.

There are plenty of bookstores in Paris—and long lines of book booths along the Seine and that’s fun for browsing:

book booths along the Seine

We stayed at the Hotel Lutetia—an old hotel, and right around the corner was a nice modern bookstore!  I bought a few books there:

a children’s edition about Napoleon, and three other new books–Robert Benchley “Psychologie du pingouin”,  Willa Cather “la nièce de Flaubert” and Virginia Woolf “Suis-je snob?”   All in French—help!

The emphasis of one day’s touring was to go to Shakespeare and Co.  It’s at “zero”–the center of Paris!  When we got there, it was closed because of a holiday–but was going to open at 1 pm.  So, during the delay and wait, we went to lunch at a nearby cafe—there’s always one nearby!!  And in this case, there was also a little park.   We chose a good one because there was a sculpture there  by Picasso of Dora Maar.  She had been one of his paramours for a while.

sculpture by Picasso “Dora Maar”

(Frankly, I don’t see the attraction)  The sculpture was dedicated to Picasso’s good friend the poet Apollinaire.  There is a rumor that the sculpture was stolen recently and this current one is a replacement—-or maybe the original was returned.  See what you can find out about that . . .

Anyway, we returned to Shakespeare and Co—packed!  and good and hot in there, too—hardly room to get through the aisles, so it wasn’t as pleasant a shopping venture as last time I was there years ago.

But of course I did shop and I did buy three used books:

Simply must buy Dickens!  That blue one is a biography by Jane Smiley–the one in the center is sort of a simple student guide, and on the right are two small novellas–all Dickens stuff.

One of the last book stops we made–F. Chanut– we found accidentally—a serendipity—thanks to my husband’s eagle eye.

old bookshop, Paris







Gosh, it was fun in there.  Again, packed—-but this time with books—stacks, piles, shelves, a desk that used to have a surface completely covered with piles of books and stuff.    My kind of place!!

And, can you believe it?  The bookstore lady had “L’Aiglon” by Edmond Rostand!!!!!   Can you believe it?

Of course, it’s in French, but I have high hopes of reading it.  Faithful readers will remember that I have a BUTTON of “L’Aiglon” who was Napoleon’s son, the Little Eagle.

Also bought a lovely copy of “Le Soir” by Sacha Guitry–also about “the little eagle, L’Aiglon” with hand drawn and colored plates—just wonderful!

Le Soir by Sacha Guitry

illustration from Le Soir

And filled in my purchase with a quaint little copy of David Copperfield–abridged, but fun.
(alas, in French again.)

That’s it–the little book tour–will finish with the logo that’s stamped in your purchased books from Shakespeare & Co if you like.  I like.

logo from Shakespeare & Co

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2 Responses to The Books I Bought in Paris

  1. Mary Jo says:

    Such nice choices. Good luck with the ‘en francais’ !

    • Thank you–I’m “deep” into “la nièce de Flaubert” if you count
      page 20 as deep! I like the phrase “à plusiers reprises” which means
      “on several occasions”. I’m sure that will come in handy . . .

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