Not sure about you, but when I was a boy, it was Tintin or Asterix. You could do both – but you had to have a favourite. Mine was Tintin (but probably only because my Dad encouraged Asterix).
However, even having declared my allegiance to the boyish Belgian, there is still something special about the gallant Gaul. And so, when the opportunity arose to attend the launch of the new Asterix book Asterix Chez Les Pictes I was always going to consider it worth going. This one had a few bonuses though:
The launch was at famed Paris bookstore L’Ecume des Pages
This was the first Asterix book for 8 years and the first by new creators (Jean-Yves Ferri & Didier Conrad)
It was attended by Ferri & Conrad who chatted and signed copies (for VIPs – not moi!)
It was attended by Asterix & Obelix (see pics)
It had one of those all-important midnight exclusive releases
So, all in all, I have to say I’ve ticked something off the bucket-list-I-didn’t-know-I-had list purely by walking the streets in a city where there’s something happening all the time.
Ooh-la-la. The 6th arrondissement is home to one of Paris’ must-visit areas, St-Germain-des-Pres. Renowned as the haunt of literary luminaries Sartre & de Beauvoir, it is no surprise to find it has a plethora of wonderful bookshops, many specialising in art books to complement the even-more-plentiful art galleries.
My highlight was definitely Taschen. Nobody quite does big beautiful books quite like this publishing house and their shop was an artwork in itself. No wonder I was just one of many to walk through the doors, mouth agape (managed not to drool on any of the books though).
Wow. Obviously we’re into books, so it’s understandable that we would seek out some bookshops when we’re out and about. But Paris is incredible!
Having spent some time a couple years back, we knew a little but today we weren’t even looking for bookshops and just kept tripping over them. Yes, we visited Shakespeare & Co, and Les Bouquinistes on the Seine but barely a street exists, it would seem, without a bookseller tending their stock. C’est magnifique!
It may be hard for us to fathom, being over the other side of the world, but books are still huge in Europe. The Frankfurt Book Fair is bigger than big – they say 200,000 people come through the doors over the five days and, with thousands of exhibitors, there’s plenty to see. There are shuttle buses and travelators to get you between halls and an energy that fizzes through every door.
Highlights? The variety and beauty of the kids books and graphic novels from France and the energy and forward-thinking of Canongate CEO Jamie Byng (we’ll see if this influences what you find in our pop-ups).
There is certainly plenty to look forward to in the world of books…
Just a handful of bookshops (boekhandels) we frequented in Amsterdam. The architecture really lends itself to some adorable shopfronts. Considering the long, historically significant connection the Dutch have with the printed word, it may be worth considering which came first – bookshops to suit the architecture, or buildings made for bookshops?