Friday, February 22, 2008

Books for sale

This is so typical of Paris that I never even thought of taking a photo... Along the river Seine, in the very middle of Paris, both on the left and right banks you can find book sellers called "Bouquinistes" (a "bouquin" in French is colloquial for book). They sell old books, second-hand, or old magazines and sometimes - because they also attract tourists - foreign books, like here, the Da Vinci Code. Some of their inventory remains in a locked box on the parapets, but they often have to use more space...


  1. Just wanted to let you know I was here, FIRST, and from Singapore!!

  2. You thought I wasn't watching didn't you! Inotice an Agatha Christie book there as well! A real mystery I'd say...

  3. "All the Pleasure is Mine" and "The Truth In Salad" are interesting titles. Maybe I got that wrong...?

    I love the bouquinistes and I'm sorry I spelled it wrong the other day. This is, indeed, a very Paris part of Paris.

    It was only -10 C this morning in Minneapolis. I still haven't figured out how to afford Europe this year. Still searching.

  4. Pah! It's Michael! First! Well done yes we all thought you were on a beach. You clever darling you.

    Eric i was so excited to see these books i clicked on to enlarge and forgot all about the race! I adore books and French books in the uk are so expensive! I have a few from my uni days but i am bored by them - i struggle through the text slowly but it matters not - I have things like Cornichons et chocolat, La Place, Le ble en herbe etc and they cost me £8 each over ten years ago! I would adore to rifle through all these bouquins (new word for me, thanks).
    Michael, i'm quite excited to see you back so i say again, hel-lo in a sexy way. lol! You must catch up over the last days... though some i know you know already ;)

  5. Jeff, maybe you should consider Bali instead this year. Very reasonably priced, friendly people, beach, sun, and oh yes, +30C!

  6. I am only checking in briefly Lynn to see what you have been up to. I'm waiting for my room service for breakfast here (snickering with a smile) then crawling back in bed for a bit of relaxation. Maybe lunch at Raffles today, but I don't know. I'm dreading heading back to the cold of Paris on Saturday.

  7. Bibi is back from 5 days in Paris, and she enjoyed herself immensely, walking, eating, and discovering what's new since her last trip. Can't wait to go back again! Keep up the great photos, Eric.

  8. Forgot to say that Bibi browsed the bouquinistes (bought a cd, not a book....) and also Shakespeare and Co., right near her hotel.

  9. Oh Michael i'm so jealous, you tease. It sounds divine. Is there room in your room for me? I squash up quite nicely.... he he this'll get those girls gossiping now!

  10. i love old books, i think i'll try to find this place when i visit paris ;)

  11. I think some bouquinistes also sell souvenirs, don't they? It's a lovely walk, passing by the bouquinistes along the Seine.

    I love books and love to spend hours in bookshops, preferably accompanied by a cappuccino. I forgot about time when browsing books in Shakespeare and Co. But didn't buy any. In another store I bought a pocket book with the title "Mes amies, mes amours, mais encore?"
    Didn't mind the story, I just wanted a way to practice my french.

  12. Lynn can't you see how mean Michael is? He's teasing us with all his Bali, Singapore & Paris stories. Imagine it, someone dreading to go to Paris...

    There, there Michael, if it's a very tough assignment for you I'll make a sacrifice and trade apartments with you. You can come to Rio right now, I'm heading my way to your flat in Paris. Leave the key under the doormat, will you?

  13. Ahhh the Bouquinistes!! Love them!! I couldn't live without books, and my apartment is often referred to as the "Book Nook" by friends. It figures that the DaVinci code is there, glad to see my old friend Agatha made it as well!!

  14. Jeff, if you discover an affordable way to go to Europe (no backpacking, please), you let me know!

  15. Eric, thanks for the literary photo. From a granite inlay in the floor at Shaekespeare & Co.: "Sometimes I Think I Am Surrounded by Insects Masquerading As Men For Some Diabolical Reason" -HENRY MILLER

    Don't you love that?

    Monica: I'll let you know.

  16. ah, and you would have been remiss had you not posted a bouquinist photo on a paris blog! ;) good shot.

    I used to be a big fan of San Antonio when I was a teenager. I love the old ones, the Politically Incorrect ones, if you will (equivalent of Mickey Spillane I think in the US, but written all in French Parisian slang). I have a few here purchased at Gilbert Jeune a while back. Good memories. Reading these things back is really funny. :)

  17. By the way, Tonton, about the comment you left a while back; I do not own any French movies, or at least nothing you could play in Region 1. But I have a Da Vinci Code copy in French you are welcome to, if you want. Brand new, 1 owner, brought it back in my suit case but will never read it. All yours! :)

  18. A good baguette is like love. Inside, the flavor of heaven. Soft. And warm when it’s fresh. But the crust is sharp enough to cut your throat.

    (Ah, I'm writing again. Le bouquinistes got me. The Verdillac Bordeaux may have something to do with it...)

  19. Jeff..."Verdillac Bordeaux"...LOL!!

    Armand Roux bien sur?? Pas mal! kill me as usual! LOL!!

  20. Tonton, mon ami, c'est vrai: Armand Roux 2005. It may not be up to others' standards, but it's perfectly serviceable for $12. I plan to buy more....

  21. Ah! Lovely, lovely. And between the books and the building in the background is...the Seine? Wonderful. Merci, Eric.

    All the Pleasure is For Me. I like the direct translation.

    Monica, yes some sell souvenirs. I bought a little plaque from a bouquiniste. Something about "le chat vicieux" for my sister's cat.

  22. great photo. i love all the textures....the cardboard boxes, the cement wall, the plastic. bien fait Eric.

  23. Oh goodness it's me again sorry i've got a butterfly mind today. Just wanted to tell Michael an uncle of mine used to sing at Raffles! When you're there today, have a drink for Harry.

  24. Oh one of my favourite places in Paris... thank you Eric!

  25. It's cliché but it's so Paris. I really really like this photo. Strangely (I mean, for a French), my favorite literature is the Northern American literature.

  26. Really, Guille, can you recommend something? I always like to read new things. I'm reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - only just started it but seems interesting. Difficult lives of two women during Taliban rule of Afghanistan and the exploration of their deep friendship.
    What is everyone reading at the moment, please with a brief description, may i ask?

  27. Lynn how do you like A thousand splendid suns? It's next in line for me, I hear it's terrific. Right now I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

    Of course I'll be waiting for you chez Michael, you and I still haven't thrown that party in Paris we've been planning.

    Petrea I saw many souvenirs there, it's tempting!

  28. Most of all, I love Pat Conroy. I read The Prince of Tides 6 months ago and it overwhelmed me! It's absolutly magnificent.
    John Irving, Carson Mc Cullers (Clock without hands expecially), Tom Sharpe, Barbara Kingsolver (her trilogy is fantastic), Siri Hustvedt, Philip Roth, Annie Proulx... I also like a canadian writer who writes in French but who is translated: Michel Tremblay.
    I read Scandinavian writers too (Herbjorg Wassmo).
    Lynn who are you favorite French writers? Do you read them in French or in English?

  29. Tom Sharpe he he! He's English. Hilarious. Guille: you will also like Mil Millington then i think. Have you read my coffee break fiction yet, too? lol.

    It's ages since i read anything French but from uni (I studied French, Spanish and law) days, i love Camus, Sartre, Lerochefoucauld, Baudelaire. I read them all in French, then in English. I'd love to read more again but don't see many on sale but also - the time! My French is now slow and difficult.

    Monica that sounds very interesting. I am only a few pages into A Thousand... but it seems good so far. What great recommdations we are getting here.


    Here is the text I was looking for when we talk about the divorce of our President. Sorry it's in French and maybe incomprehensible for English speakers, I don't know. The main sentence summing up our conversation is :
    "L'immunité concerne en effet toutes les procédures susceptibles de mettre en cause le Président de la République devant les juridictions et les autorités administratives.
    Il resterait cependant certains litiges importants -divorce, succession, pensions...-qui ne pourraient trouver de réponse pendant la durée du mandat présidentiel.
    Cette situation n'est pas, à l'évidence, sans inconvénients. Toutefois, ceux-ci sont limités dans le temps puisque les poursuites pourront de nouveau être engagées à la fin du mandat et que les délais de prescription ou de forclusion sont nécessairement suspendus pendant la durée du mandat."

    Voilà voilà!

  31. I didn't know about Tom Sharpe. I like him anyway LOL.
    You have good taste Lynn. They are all famous and very appreciated writers.
    I will try Mil Millington whom I don't know.
    And I'm going to read your novel!
    I must confess that I never (or almost never...) read books in English, but I know I should...

  32. Jeff: This year's champion boulanger and winner of Grand Prix de la Baguette is Anis Bouabsa of Le Duc de la Chapelle, 32 rue Tristan Tzara. See you there, I hope!
    Lynn: I am reading Anthem by Ayn Rand for my US Constitution class.

    Oh, how I want to stroll along the Quai with Mr. PHX.

  33. Lynn I will definetely read "A thousand splendid.." later because I read ´The Kite runner´ and was absolutely amazed by it.
    I wish I had more time to read more books.

    I´ll pop over to see your coffee break story, HOWEVER, it´s been ages since I´ve been inquiring about you novel ´Under a train´. What happened to it??

    Guille tks for the text concerning the conversation from the other day, it´s interesting to know some angles of the French constitution.
    Oh I saw The Prince of tides (the movie) just about 2 weeks ago. I had seen it before many years ago, it´s a wonderful story, very impressive. The book must be even more fabulous.

  34. Phx how lucky you are to be able to taste this champion baguette!

    Are you a Law student also?

  35. So Lynn, I had a drink for Harry at Raffles today. Of course, a glass of wine is 30 Sin$ (~15 euros), but Harry would have liked it.

  36. Monica, I haven't seen the movie yet. The book is so amazing that I'm afraid to be disapointed...It's silly but I would be sad if the movie is not as good as the book!

    Maybe Phx and I are classmates!

  37. LOL, My marriage to Mr. PHX., I mean PROFESSOR PHX, allows me to take classes for free at his college, which I do every winter when the weather is nice here and cold in CDG and LHR.
    I can take whatever I please, which is nice, since my tastes have changed since I was young student the first time around.

  38. Once I'm up and I bring my coffee cup to the computer, the conversation is already over. Too late, I want to join in.

    I had some Sartre paperbacks en français, kept meaning to read them and finally gave them to my sister-in-law. They were too hard for me. Lynn would have loved them.

    I keep meaning to read "The Kite Runner," too. I keep meaning to read a lot of things.

    I read a lot of history, in English, about other countries. I mentioned the Deborah Cadbury book the other day ("The Last King of France"--best book I've read in years.) Now I'm reading Lynne Olsen's "Troublesome Young Men," about Churchill's rise in the nick of time to defend Britain and everybody else from Hitler.

    Not that anyone asked.

    Good morning.

    I think I was meant to live like Michael does. My fab husband and I talk of retiring in England (if the Brits will allow it), because we speak the language. Then traveling and traveling and traveling.

  39. Oh and I want your life Petrea, sexy voice and all! ;-)

    Actually, reading all of these comments I really wonder how you all get to read so much. I know I should read on airplanes, but I'm always so exhausted it just is great to have a place to sleep or listen to music for a while. And all these quotes, names of authors and books really intimidates me...

  40. Fine, Michael. Let's trade. But you can't have my husband.

  41. I love to look at the vintage looking postcards that are sold by the Bouquinistes (I learned a new word - merci Eric). With a title like "Tout le Plaisir est Pour Moi" I thought it was a romance novel (which I love), so thanks for clearing that one up for me, Tomate!

    Lynn, right now I'm reading "Love in the time of Cholera," and my Book Club is reading "The Bright Forever" which is about a young girl who is kidnapped and then told from the point of view of the various suspects and a couple of other key players.

    My book club is fun, because whenever we meet, we have a dinner theme based upon the book. This month, I am making "Holy Moly Enchiladas" which are made with mole sauce, because the girl's favorite saying was "Holy Moly!" Anyway, it's lots of fun.

  42. Oooh it's great to hear of all these titles, i'm writing some of them down. I don't get a lot of time to read either, mostly at night just before sleep, when the book falls on my face. Thank goodness i don't often read hardbacks!

    Pont Girl i've been invited to join two book clubs recently but i can't seem to read the books in time. Maybe another time i shall.

    Michael i'm really touched you did that. Harry is still alive, in his eighties but i hardly ever see him. I've memories of him singing 'San Francisco' to me as a little girl. That's me, not him dressed in a skirt! LOL.

    Monica yes sorry i haven't updated Under A Train for aaaaaages but i'm doing it this weekend. The coffee break fiction is short, at my Things UK blog. Promise i will! I'm so flattered that you've read the whole thing and enjoyed it.

  43. What am I, like 20th today? Ah well. Kudos to Michael.

    I just want to chime in on A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I listened to on CD on my long drive to work every day rather than read - brilliant story, brilliantly written, but made me want to drive into a tree! Oh the things these poor women had to deal with on a daily basis. Seriously, to the very last word, I was in tears. And to think that this could very well be someone's real life...tragic.

    Thanks for the photo, Eric! I love it. Makes a great wallpaper.

  44. I wanna join a book club! I wanna join a book club!
    Point Girl the way you talk about it sounds so fun! Pfft, it´s no use, I really don´t have time for that kind of thing.

    Guille, usually the book is much better then the movie whenever they make a film out of a novel. The book has the power to envolve us completely, fill our mind with details and sets our imagination to places far away. But I recommend this movie anyway, it is very deep and touching. The photography is beautiful too.

    Petrea are you kidding?! The conversation here lasts till late hours of the night, there´s always time to join in.

    Lynn I´m glad your´re updating your novel soon!

  45. We DO allow it, Petrea. I've just consulted the whole of the UK and they all agree you should come here to retire.

  46. Thank you, Lynn. I must retire as soon as possible!

    True about books/films, Monica. Everyone loved the film of Notes on a Scandal, but I had read the book and didn't like the film, even with two of my favorite actresses in it.

    Michael, my husband wants to know if you smoke, and if you clean up after yourself.

  47. I just love les Bouquinistes, it's one of my favourite places in Paris. Old books together with the Seine, the bridges and Notre Dame at the back make one of the loveliest views of Paris... Last time I bought a great book by Pasolini in French (Amado mio suivi d'Actes impurs)
    BTW, thanks for reminding of its name: "Bouquinistes" (It never remained in my mind...)

  48. Monica, I'll follow your advice, I'll see this film. If I'm disappointed, the whole responsibility rests on your shoulders! :)

    Petrea, Sartre is abstruse even for the French speakers...

    Michael, don't be intimidate, I read only when I have the time to do it. I didn't open a book for 3 weeks. :S
    In spring, I advice you to take a good book and to go to the Great Mosque. There, order a mint tea and an oriental pastry. Choose a chair under the fig tree, and...just relax and read.

  49. Guille such a responsability for me now! :-)
    I think you´ll like the movie, but if you don´t, feel free to recommend some really bad one you´ve seen lately. I promise I´ll watch it.

    My oh my, I find Sartre so difficult I couldn´t even read it Portuguese.

  50. True, the only time I found Sartre palatable was in a Monty Python skit.

  51. I wish we could all meet there, Guille! The way you describe it sounds fab. I was just telling one of my other sons about hoping to get to Paris. He is exactly your age, Guille! I'd love one or all three to come with me!

  52. The little "bouquiniste" reminds me so much of my first day walking along the Siene! A wonderful photo (and has inspired a fantastic conversation here). :)

    I love having time to read for "fun," but these days it is all about my dissertation. I finally read "A Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion (amazing). I must confess a bigger film fan. I love, love, love film fesitvals.

    Btw, is there a prize for last to post? ;)

  53. If there were a prize for "last" the postings might never end.

  54. I'll play! And I'll even contribute something.

    Going back a few photos we discussed the Bush Man of San Francisco - here he is on YouTube:

    There are more videos and even one news report, just type Bush Man San Francisco in the search box. I think the news report said he makes about $60,000 a year doing this.

  55. Wow I didn't know you knew that many French authors - and even read them in French!

    No there no prize for the last post!

    PHX, thanks for the tip on the best baguette winner. It's been a while since I posted about baguettes...

    Petrea this "All the Pleasure is For Me" expression makes me think of a line by a French Comedian I heard recently. She was telling a story about a lover of hers explaining how lousy he was, bla bla... and then she says "And that is how I finally understood the real meaning of the expression: "all the pleasure is for me"!!"". I don't know if it translates but I found it hilarious.

  56. Jeff was correct in the beginning. I think he said, "The pleasure's all mine," which is how we usually say it. Either way, yes, it's funny!

  57. lol are you in it yet? It will come, you celeb you.

  58. I dispute that, i see you languishing on those pages, in several outfits from casual jeans to a dinner suit nonchalantly open at the neck worn with scruffy trainers, just because you can. I see the best bits of your apartment shot in subdued lighting, with a small handful of laughing friends' faces in the candlelight of yet another 'Eric Evening' to which they have been selected. I see you pictured on the Seine, devouring a picnic in the spring surrounded by adoring bloggers from around the world. Eric: Hel-LO ! I see it... :)

  59. I loved that part of Paris when I was there! I love books so much, so I was really drawn to these second hand books. It might have been a good thing that I didn't understand french otherwise I would have come home with tons of those books bought on the side of the Seine!

  60. This is just the most wonderful blog, Paris and photography, what a beautiful combination. I am a photographer in the Isle of Man and i do a similar daily photo blog. Your photos are so beautifully observed and imaginative, a real joy to visit.Looking forward to tomorrows photo already.

    A real find

    b xx

  61. People selling second-hand books on the roadside! Thats pretty common in India too, specially in Bombay. Great photo!

  62. Oooohh la la..


    if only i could go to Paris...
    i dont know..
    id be buying all these books!


  63. Yah, I have seen them too along the Seine River!