July 13, 2008

Bastille Day

When I lived in the UK, I was lucky enough to work on a project that took me to Paris about once a month. I had to work for about 12 hours on Sundays, but with the flights from Cardiff what they were, I had to leave Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. Tough, I know...
But I was able to get to know the city and since I stayed in the same hotel most of the time, I learned the area of the Left Bank where I was, quite well. I have been collecting little books on Paris and France since I found a sweet little one on my first trip to Paris many years ago.

Today, at the Book Thing, I found the perfect book to celebrate Fête Nationale, Bastille Day or Quatorze Juillet. It's called "France - Paris and the Provinces". It was published in 1948, and has a note saying that only 70 copies were printed on pure linen paper and that they were not for sale. It was printed by Societe Ode, which, as far as I can tell is a textile manufacturer.
In the Introduction, the last paragraph says: Here is both a picture book and a picturesque book. Here you can wander at leisure amidst old prints and local costumes, and examine the coloured film of modern life, as well as maps as finicky and engaging as the fanciful planispheres of the first seafarers.
This book is filled with engaging watercolour paintings as well as 18th century etchings and maps. While more than half of the 450+ pages are about Paris, each of the provinces is also represented. The chapters discuss both the geography and gastronomy of the regions and that should make this book lots of fun to browse through.

Vive la France!


  1. oh stop it already! how cute is that book?

    as always, i am both jealous AND happy for you.

    great find.

  2. oh what a fun book! You have the 'bookthing' luck!

  3. So, so charming! And as usual, an amazing find.

  4. Like a little bit of treasure!
    I've got to get to this Book Thing.

  5. I love the graphics from this little book. So much fun!

  6. Vive la France! I still am jealous of the "This is Paris" book you picked up at bookthing!!!!


  7. What a beaut of a book! The introduction is as charming as the illustrations pictured. You do have luck...

    This was the first year I breezed right through Bastille Day without so much as a second glance! Ah well, we shall eat cake with our champagne tonight as penance.

  8. Easy... the timing was incredible! It caught my eye and when I opened it, and saw the delightful drawings and watercolours, I dropped it into my bag tout de suite!

    I am thinking that you need to take the train up to B-more and have a look around one day!

  9. Now that sounds like a delightful trip. And the children should be exposed to train travel tout de suite. I haven't been to Bal'more in years. Might be just the push I need!

  10. I love these! Great blog!

  11. Great post... lovely little book of illustrations!


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