I didn’t want to write this post but George Whitman’s words illuminating over the bookstore made me realize that if I want to be frère lampier then I have to be ready to light the metaphorical lamps.
The visit was akin to a pilgrimage for me. Situated by the river Seine in the latin quarters, the store does nothing but embellishes the bibliophile quotient of the city of lights.
The store is enormous and it holds so many books that it seems the place has achieved the best Weissman score for its compression algorithm. Initially the store was at 12 Rue de l’Odéon and was used as an office by Fitzgerald couple, T.S. Eliot, Hemingway. The owner of the store, Sylvia Beach, was the one who put James Joyce’s Ulysses into publishing.
The place has a beautiful cat that is not to be disturbed and I really admire the concept of no photography inside. At the entrance or by the bench one can find those tourists, with DSLRs larger than medieval cannons, looking through the eye piece of those massive devices and asking their friends/families/fellow travelers to pretend reading a book. How many photos and what types of photographs they are aiming at? Ich warum nicht!! Despite all this harakiri, there is a vibrant energy here that is scarce to find. The bookstore has rooms like chapters in a novel and Whitman had rightly described it by saying “Where the streets of the world meet the avenues of the mind.”
It is a place where entire world comes, stays for a while and then leaves and for whatever time I was there, those moments were moments of Hygge for me.