Tuesday 30 March 2010

From Paris to Somerset...

What a jet-setting lifestyle. About a day after arriving back from Paris, I was off to Somerset, which is where I now am, tucked up in bed in chilly Chiselborough.

Quick entry - to say that, after years of meaning to (and none too subtle hints dropped, to no avail, when I was in Paris in 2005) I have been to Shakespeare & Company bookshop! Here I am in front of it...

(Yes, fact fans, that is the first - and probably last - time I've put a photograph of me up on here - that's how big a deal a visit to this bookshop was!) To be honest, it wasn't a huge temptation away from my Project24 resolve - because it's mostly a new-book bookshop, and the lovely floor of older books upstairs are browsing only (so I didn't look at them too carefully, lest there be anything I really wanted and couldn't have.) But the shop has a lovely feel, and I was keen to have a souvenir to take away from it, so step forward book no.8...

I love the NYRB Classics series, both for book choices and for production quality, and I love Sylvia Townsend Warner. I could have bought Summer Will Show anywhere, it is true, but it seemed appropriate to have it as my Shakespeare & Co. souvenir, since it's set in Paris. More on it when I read it... cos I'm going to bed now. Au reservoir!


  1. Good for you! We saw the storefront in the video of Julie and Julia the other night and I had to stop the movie to tell my husband about how famous it is. I'm trying to talk him into a London trip for our 20th anniversary next year, but I doubt I'd get him to hop over to Paris - if I went to Hay on Wye first, their probably wouldn't be enough money left to go to Paris! ;)
    So glad you had a good trip...now you just have to find a way to distract yourself from shopping until May 1 !

  2. I'm still kicking myself that I chose to go shopping instead of going to Shakespeare and Co the last time I was in Paris which was in 2004. They were in totally different parts of town. The shopping trip wasn't very successful of course and that's why I always wished I had gone to the bookstore instead. Hoping to make it to Paris this summer and this time S&Co is definitely no.1 on the list!

  3. This makes me very jealous, Simon! Hope you had a wonderful trip.

  4. Wow... I think I just turned wicked-witch-of-the-west-green. Super awesome that you got to go to Shakespeare and Co!! Jealous to the max. Have a fabulous time in Somerset!


  5. I love Shakespeare & Co. particularly because the first time I went there was after extended travel in Central Europe, where English-language books were few and far between. To find a storefront positively bursting with books that I didn't need translation efforts was joyous! I could have browsed for hours, but my companions limited me to only one. Like you, I bought something simply so that I would have momento - I spent 2 euros on an old travel guide that I then brutually highlighted and tore pages from as I wandered. Such happy memories...

  6. I've seen the storefront myself in a video but its good you were able to actually go there and visit. The book looks very good btw.

  7. Did you see the cat? It was asleep on the piano when I went (and I loved the notice saying 'please play'.

    Carol N

  8. Ooh, lucky you! Have you read the book about it? And up to book number 8 - that's the end of April!!

  9. That does sound like a wonderful book shop, thank goodness I am not planning on popping to Paris anytime soon. Maybe you should have popped an embargo of only buying books in the UK count hahaha!

  10. How wonderful! You should tuck that photo inside the cover of your souvenir book, not that you would ever forget such a visit.

  11. Very cool! And that's a great picture, btw. :)

  12. Simon - I have also, literally *always* wanted to go to this shop - and was thinking of dragging my husband there this weekend as we only live 40 minutes away so it would be *ridiculous* not to.... Is it true that all of the books are stamped with the Shakespear & co stamp? I read that somewhere. Anyway, enjoy the loot of this trip!


  13. Oh Simon ... I'm so glad you put a photo up! And I'm incredibly jealous of your trip. One day I will make it to Paris.

  14. Susan - I'm amazed by how many people haven't heard of the place, it's been a sort of Mecca in my head for a few years now. But I'd still rather be in Hay on Wye, definitely!

    Mrs. B - You'll have to go back! There are so many things to do in Paris - I was quite pleased that I'd 'done' all the most touristy things in previous trips, and could just concentrate on the things I really *wanted* to do - mostly spend time with my friend!

    Read the Book - thanks :-) good jealousy, I hope!

    Elise - what a brilliant description of jealousy! I hope you manage a trip to Paris one day

    Claire - that must have been like an oasis in the desert! I found the lack of English bookshops quite useful for Project24...

    Mystica - I'm not sure I'd even seen a photo before, so I had no idea what to expect.

    Carol - no, no cat! That would have made the trip perfect. Someone was playing the piano, though, so perhaps it had been woken up and slunk off...

    Verity - I haven't read the book, but it's now on my Amazon wishlist...

    Simon - I did suggest Paris as an exception to the rule, but was shouted down by my friend...

    Darlene - I did buy a nice postcard of the shop to tuck inside, which will be lovely to use as a bookmark too.

    Tiffany - thanks :)

    Hannah - oh, you have to, considering it's so close! And, yes, they did give me a stamp - it's optional at the till, and of course I said yes.

    Kristen - one day you will! You must!

  15. Love your photo, Simon! And the book you chose is gorgeous!

  16. I am so very jealous of you !! You went to Paris - wow and then you visited Shakespeare and Co. bookstore- double wow.
    I would love to go there someday myself.

  17. That's a great photo! I've been to the Shakespeare & Co in Vienna (did you know there was one there, too?). That was a long time ago and I couldn't afford the books as the English language books were imports and extremely expensive. That year I subsisted on used books--luckily for me that meant a variety of works by Margaret Atwood!


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