Monday, 18 October 2010

An expensive Lunch in Paris

Just back from an enjoyable few days in Paris, ensconced in the Latin Quarter district, literally two minutes from the Notre Dame cathedral. For our first day in the city, we walked from the Notre Dame, along the Seine, past the Orsay museum to the Eiffel Tower, crossed over the Pont d'Lena bridge, to the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs-Élysées, past the Louvre museum and finally back at the Notre Dame. If you're into walks I'd recommend taking this same route - its an excellent way to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the Left Bank. If all that seems a little intense, a bus will take you around to all the must see tourist-spots, and if you're more inclined to descend into the Parisian Underworld, the Metro will get you to just about anywhere...

Paris is of course awash in bookstores, but one of the treats for bibliophiles are the Bouquinistes selling their wares on the banks of the Seine, offering everything from old and new books, art prints, posters (old ad campaigns, movie posters and movie stars etc) and lots of strange and bewildering knick knacks. I almost snagged a few old issues of Cahiers du Cinéma, of which were in plentiful supply. I grabbed this pic of one such stall from the one of the ubiquitous hop-on/hop-off buses whilst stopped in traffic.

No booklover worth their salt should pass up a visit to the Shakespeare and Co. store handily located just across the street from the Notre Dame. And if you're in town this week you will find a rare copy of the first UK edition of The Naked Lunch, published by John Calder, in association with The Olympia Press, from 1964. I've leafed through this book, and it's in fine, clean condition. As for the price, this Burroughs will set you back a cool €250 (£218/$349) - even though this price is in line with what collector's would expect to pay for this edition, it was far too rich for my blood, so with much regret I carefully placed it back on the display. My wife Irene, growing impatient by my endless deliberations rummaged around in her jeans and handed the book and three shiny Euro coins to the confused American working the counter. And much to my mortification, Irene on seeing the actual price, gasped "Two hundred and fifty ? - it's not worth two Euros fifty!"


  1. omg.... you're KIDDING me?

    i have that very book on my shelf!!!

    it was originally my dad's, and as a kid it was the one book in his collection that terrified me. it was the eyes... THE EYES...

    Ebay... here i come!!!

  2. Happy days... I'm sure there are attics and basements throughout the world full of treasures collecting the dust of the ages.

  3. Like most genre fans - if only I'd taken better care of, and kept items I had in my youth - I might have been retired by now...

  4. Craig, I'm expecting to see you on an episode of Hollywood Treasures or whatever its next equivalent is one of the days !

    1. The closest I've come is helping my buddy get his movie items to Profiles in History for one of their auctions - that is the group from the Hollywood Treasures show. That auction raised five figures for my friend - so it can be lucrative to keep movie stuff around!