One of my favorite activities in Paris is browsing through what the booksellers have to offer in the weather-beaten green stalls perched above the Seine. A calm weekday, sunshine and a light breeze -- perfect! And today, I even had the luck of finding myself practically toe-to-toe with a ballerina teetering on her pointe shoes for a photo at one of the stalls. It was a typically Parisian moment: Something beautiful, unexpected and a bit strange all at once.
The delight continues as I look through the treasure trove of the "bouquinistes": A mix of classics, contemporary fiction, nonfiction, children's books, French, English… I never know what I'll find as my hands explore the dusty plastic covering many of the volumes.
Sounds great, right? A book lover's dream, right? Yes and yes. But… there's one big problem. My apartment is shrinking as the quantity of books I pack into it grows. Long gone is the lovely organized bookcase. Instead, it's messy and overstuffed with books piled in all directions.
Today, I tell myself I'm strolling by those book stalls just to look. I tell myself I don't need to buy copies of books I've already read. Oohh! I see "Dubliners," which I've wanted to read for a while. My husband reminds me that he (another book junkie) has a copy of it (in English to boot). Then we're both eyeing antique books, some sold at a fraction of the cost found in traditional shops. We have to get out of here!!
But I can't walk away with absolutely nothing. So I fork over a few bills and buy "Cheri" by Colette. OK, so I've already read it, but I do like the leather cover of this edition. And my book fix is satisfied.