Give a man a fish you feed him for a meal. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life. I have a similar philosophy about travel. I love teaching people how to get out there and explore our world. And every good explorer needs a great map. Editions Blay Foldex knows all about good maps.
They also seem to get visitors who wish to eschew all things tourist. Things like maps, so they have created a collection of trés stylé maps (9€) that even the most discrete traveler would be confident whipping out of his pocket. Naturally, I chose their orange map, but I loved the Tiffany blue one so much I was sorely tempted start adjusting the contents of my handbag.
I found my map at L’Ecume des Pages, one of my very favorite stores in Paris. An independent book seller, L’Ecume is walking distance from chez moi and is open until midnight 6 nights a week. Oh, and it just happens to be next to “my” Café de Flore. My perfect late night out involved a flûte at the Flore, with their Kettle pepper chips, followed by a leisurely perusal of the stacks at L’Ecume, and if I score, a return to the Flore for a late night read over a cup of Verveine tisane.
Beyond maps, L’Ecume is full of fantastic holiday gifts; art books, bandes dessinées, and travel guides. They even have a collection of books in English. This is where Mr French picked up one of the most romantic gifts he has given me. Driving home one evening he heard the description of a book he was sure I would love. He made a brief detour, double parking to run into L’Ecume and purchased Les Déferlantes, a book about love by the seashore that is pure prose in poetry. I’ve read it twice, a habit I reserve almost exclusively for Jane Austen. I’ll never know what it was they said about the book that inspired Mr French to make dinner wait that night. I suspect it was something like this, “Written in very easy French. The language was so basic even a 1st grader could read this book in a weekend…” Whatever the dialogue, I love this book, which reminds me of another great holiday gift, a book you have loved and believe the giftee would love.
What has been your favorite book of 2012?
L’Ecume de Pages / 174 Bd St Germain, 6e / 01 45 48 54 48