Les livres de Paris

Did you miss us? We’re back from our awesome trip to Paris, where we loved absolutely everything (even the crazy rain and swarms of tourists and that waiter that laughed at my French). One of the things we loved the most, though, were Parisian librairies (or bookstores, if we’re not being pretentious). We visited tens of them and bought so many books that we seriously worried about excess baggage. Here’s a few of our purchases, limited to those more Paris-related.

We fell in love with these two books of watercolors by Fabrice Morieau, Paris Sketchbook and Gardens of Paris: they are better than any photo album at capturing that charm of Paris (which we didn’t find overhyped at all).

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A view of Paris with our beloved Notre-Dame in the distance.

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La Defence, which we visited towards the end and that’s why it probably made an even greater impression after ten days of 19th century tenant houses all around. We wouldn’t like to live there, but with a good weather and for a short time that modernism certainly works.

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Parisian parks are very orderly. We’re used to a little wilder ones.

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The Louvre is definitely one of our favorite places in Paris.

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But Notre-Dame is probably the favorite one.

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We lived in a charming little apartment nearby fashionable Canal St-Martin (though, I think, in the less fashionable part of the area), just next door to a great boulangerie.

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Surprisingly enough, the Père Lachaise Cemetery was one of the most charming places we visited during the whole stay.

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Parisians are obsessed with greenery: parks, garden, window pots, you name it, it’s all there and it looks amazing.

paris-livres-02 paris-livres-03 paris-livres-04These series of books illustrated by Sarah McMenemy presents Paris in general, the Louvre and Versailles as small pop-ups with all the important monuments. Even before we found the watercolor albums, we bought these as a personal souvenir of all the wonders of the city.

paris-livres-17 paris-livres-18 paris-livres-19We actually did not climb the Eiffel Tour (again), seeing the insane lines beneath it. It’s shaping up to be our thing, apparently, because we did a similar thing last time (then it was wind that deterred us).

paris-livres-20 paris-livres-21 paris-livres-22The Mesopotamian and Assyrian art in the Louvre is actually one of the most fascinating things to see there.

paris-livres-23 paris-livres-24 paris-livres-25We spent a lovely Sunday in Versailles, with all the fountains, hedges and tourists.

This was a spontaneous purchase because the sheer practicality of the idea surprised us so much: this book is a list of free, allegedly tested toilets around Paris. We didn’t need to try out the suggestions but the books seems knowledgeable and actually well-designed, complete with the appropriate yellow Pantone.

paris-livres-26 paris-livres-27Paris is full of brilliant, small artsy books. They are like student diplomas, only published. Miss Lisa by Delphine Perret (who is probably not a student, but we don’t really know) is a story of Mona Lisa, who gets bored, leaves the painting and starts a new life. We bought it both for humor and illustrations.

paris-livres-35 paris-livres-36 paris-livres-37What is the one thing Mona Lisa always wanted to do? Sell shoes, of course.

We spent most time in children sections of bookstores because of all the fascinating printing techniques employed for the books and here are two examples (not so much Parisian but at least French). Ma Petite Savane by Xavier Deneux is like those books for two-year-olds printed on cardboard so you can’t tear out pages. But these pages have raised and lowered parts on two pages of a spread, which combine intelligently.

paris-livres-28 paris-livres-29Zebra’s stripes – trees.

paris-livres-30Finally, Après l’été by Lucie Félix tells a charming story of a girl’s orchard in autumn, employing intelligently designed die-cuts. Great part about both this and the previous book is how the fancy techniques tell the story, not just increase production costs.

paris-livres-31paris-livres-32paris-livres-33 paris-livres-34 Of course, there was much more to our stay in Paris than just books (I mean, there were croissants for one thing) but the books were amazing.

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4 comments
  1. Thank you for this beautiful post on Paris and books ! :)

    • You’re welcome! It’s a nice thing to write about.

  2. I quite often find myself in the children’s section cor books as they have so many fascinating and beautiful illustrations. Great collection thanks for sharing :)

  3. Paige said:

    The pop up book is great! I cannot wait to visit Paris, again. Sigh… Hopefully, I’ll make it back over sooner rather than later.

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