The BBC Radio 4 program about les bouquinistes aired this morning, and I am thrilled to be part of it! Many thanks to producer Geoff Bird for bringing me into the process, and for Phil who alerted me to the broadcast. Listen now. Or launch the audio player from the BBC Radio 4 web page:
Paris has many grand monuments dominating its skyline, but for regular visitors to the ‘city of light’ there is a sight every bit as ingrained into its terroir as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Sacre Coeur – that of the riverside booksellers who for centuries have plied their trade on the banks of the River Seine. Les Bouquinistes can count Presidents (including Mitterand and Thomas Jefferson) as regular customers, and boast a proud history of providing a source of literatures thought subversive to the prevailing authorities of the day. More recently, many have branched out from books to supplement their income, offering plastic souvenirs instead of Balzac, plastic tat in place of Monserrat – a practice the city council, worried about tarnishing the image of playground Paris, has fought against. In ‘The Paris Bouquinistes’ Kirsty Lang takes a long stroll along the Seine to meet some of the current crop and discover how confident they feel about the future prosperity of their time-honoured trade.