Bookish Spots of Paris: The Village Voice

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

My last Bookish Spots of Paris will feature The Village Voice, a lovely little bookshop located on La Rue Princesse near St. Germain des Pres. This bookshop did not have the fascination and touristy charm of Shakespeare and Co or the attractive proprietor of I Love My Blender, but what it lacks in side benefits, it more than makes up for in sheer excellence as a bookshop. This stop was actually featured in one of my required walks through Paris for my study abroad, and I was so glad to have been directed here. I actually purchased more books here than in any other shop in Paris, for two main reasons: first of all, the prices were better, and second, the books were arranged in a manner that made them completely accessible and tantalizing. The shop was an absolute haven of contemporary literature. I distinctly remember a large, square table in the back of the shop, piled high with books in stacks on top of the table. I remember writing titles frantically in my notebook as I perused and tried to make a few selections. The shop abounded with handwritten suggestions and recommendations. I finally walked away with The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamed, a book I didn't enjoy but can't part with because I bought it in Paris, and Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, something all my friends were also reading at the time. (I know it isn't very popular in the book blogosphere, but I still have a special fuzzy spot in my heart for that book).

If I were to live in Paris, rather than visit it as a giddy twenty-something desperate to take in every moment, I think the Village Voice would be "my" bookstore - the place I went when I had a serious intention to read. Shakespeare and Co and I Love My Blender are amazing places to visit for their respective reasons. They each also offer a fantastic selection of books, and I had wonderful experiences in both of them - certainly more memories than in the Village Voice. However, the organization and quiet coziness of the Village Voice would make it the place I returned to again and again for book recommendations and delicious new stories.

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