April 6th

Today a brief ode to one of my new favorite English bookstores in Paris: WH Smith.

I must say, I feel mild guilt about proclaiming this spot as one of my favs since it is a British bookstore chain, but I do love it. Now, there will always be a very special place in my heart for Shakespeare & Co’s boho charm and for Galignani’s more subdued, historic glamour, but I adore this little shop (which happens to be a metro stop up Rue Rivoli).

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I think I love it best because it’s so unpretentious. The staff are friendly, and it emits that warm glow that all book lovers find irresistible (particularly on a cold, grey Parisian day). It reminds me of an English bookshop I used to frequent when we lived in Rome and therefore has an odd comfort that the others can’t match. More than any other shop, I love to just whip in here and see what’s new, browsing as long as I please (even when it’s busy it’s not too busy) before heading home.

Sometimes I buy something, sometimes I don’t, but I rarely miss an opportunity to visit it when I’m in the area.

Bonus? It offers an AMAZING selection of magazines including a number of new independently published beauties. After weeks of popping in (and months of not being able to justify shipping charges) I recently got my hands on Cereal, a new indie style and travel magazine that is so unbelievably gorgeous. They also have various magazines with numerous foreign language counterparts, so I can get my English or my French fix (or Italian if I’m feeling brave). And to top it all off they have a number of truly delectable snacks (because, why not). Many come from niche British brands I’ve heard of but never seen, and it always takes all my strength not to walk out of there with a Cadbury chocolate bar. When I took a friend last week we ended up leaving with mince pies!

If  you are on Rue de Rivoli and are an anglophile or anglophone craving some solid reading material and a warm environment, I highly recommend swinging in. The bilingual staff are always willing to help you with anything you need, and be sure to check out the shelf dedicated to their top picks if you’re indecisive.

Hours with Paul Auster (and a note on translation)

auster.paul_One of the greatest aspects of college is the learning-rich atmosphere. I doubt that I will EVER find a place where great thinkers, speakers, and innovators are thrown at me so frequently. Carleton is fantastic about this. Not only do we have incredible faculty members, but they also routinely bring in people to speak to our classes and campus organizations. Moreover, every Friday is convocation, a weekly thought-provoking speech on any topic — think TedTalks but for an HOUR. These events are great and a constant source of inspiration. Last term played host to one of the most inspiring speakers I’ve heard here — Paul Auster. Continue reading

Literary Sophistication – Gagliani Bookshop

IMG_3601The other day a couple of friends and I stumbled upon this bookstore post-tea at Angelina’s. Unable to resist its warm, beckoning glow we hurried inside and were soon exclaiming over the beautiful books it held. Claiming to be the “first english bookshop established on the continent,” this bookstore is beautiful with a wide selection of American, English, and French works. The Gagliani family has always been busy in the book business – publishing works as early as 1520 (it was a Latin grammar book). Here’s a bit of history from their website: Continue reading

Un petit bonheur

I’ve now been in Tours for over a week and finished my first week of classes. This means, of course, that my time in the Loire Valley is quickly drawing to a close (we leave Friday), but it also means that I’ve begun to develop a routine and have come to appreciate “la vie quotidienne” here. So I thought I’d share one of my favorite things about Tours with you.

Life moves a lot slower here, and it’s very much about les petits bonheurs. Café culture is a perfect example of that. Continue reading