Shakespeare and Company has weathered many storms, but the pandemic has been the most devastating of them all.
For over a century the legendary bookstore Shakespeare and Company has beamed out from the Left Bank of Paris like a lighthouse of literature.
The former 16th-century monastery on Rue de la Bûcherie, and its previous site not far away at 12 Rue de l’Odéon, has been a home away from home for the Lost Generation in the 1920s and the Beatnik generation in the 1950s, a publisher and reading resource for the likes of James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway, and shelter for the estimated 30,000 “tumbleweeds”—young writers and enthusiasts allowed to stay for free—over the years.
But the economic disaster wrought by the coronavirus pandemic has hit independent bookstores in France, including this timeless Anglophone institution, hard. Deemed “non-essential” by the government even during the country’s second lockdown, they were forced to close to in-person customers, while commerce for online behemoths like Amazon has soared. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo herself warned city-goers: “Don’t buy on Amazon. Amazon is the death of our bookshops and our neighborhood life.”
In Paris and other cities in France, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday, November 28, to demonstrate against the government’s proposed law to restrict freedoms and protect the cops.
On Saturday, November 28, dozens of demonstrations took place across France to denounce the Emmanuel Macron government’s new security bill, which would seriously curtail freedoms in the country, and against a new case of police violence in which three cops brutally beat a Black music producer. The mobilization in Paris was particularly large. More than 100,000 demonstrators marched from the Place de la République to the Bastille. Protesters came from the entire political and trade union Left, and included an important contingent from the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA). Several groups that fight police violence were also present, including the Justice and Truth for Adama Committee.[ . . . ]
Continue reading at LeftVoice: France Rises Up After Police Beat Black Man
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on Tuesday said he was launching a probe into clashes that broke out late Monday after police cleared out a new migrant camp at Place de la République in the heart of Paris, adding that images of the scuffles were “shocking”.
People posted photos and videos on social media of police hitting demonstrators as they moved in to clear the square of migrants‘ tents, which the police said had been set up without official permission.
“Some of the images of the dispersion of the illegal migrant camp at Place de la République are shocking,” Darmanin wrote on Twitter in the early hours of Tuesday, adding that he was seeking a full report into the incident. [ . . . ]
By Tylisa C. Johnson
I was standing in front of my apartment bookshelf, eyes darting between the shelves, trying to decide which two novels to pack in my carry-on. My eyes landed on James Baldwin’s Nobody Knows My Name. I had to smile.
I was heading to Paris on the eve of Valentine’s Day, in the early days of Black History Month. Alongside a handful of outfits, a conversational repertoire of French, and fading European history lessons, I’d packed a deep curiosity about my African-American ancestry in Paris.
It was Paris where, for decades, countless African-American intellectuals and creatives crossed the Atlantic, hopeful and drawn by the possibility of freedom, an escape from American “Blackness.” For many, it is still sought for its history and culture.
Continue reading “The history of Paris as a haven for African-Americans”
In this wing-clipped year of being grounded at home in the United States due to the novel Coronavirus, American lovers of Paris can still gaze eager eyes and open their hearts to the City of Light via Paris Chic, an elegantly hefty book published this month by stylish Assouline. With more than 200 photographs by Oliver Pilcher and text by Alexandra Senes, this heady tome abundantly delivers images and words artfully woven with sophistication and seduction: unfolding broad cityscapes and intimate corners, well-known hot spots and mysterious hideaways, lively action and lovely stillness, intriguing perspectives and personalities.
With Paris Chic, you can rejoice in the role of armchair traveler, taking flight while staying in place for now. Appreciate the thick feel-good paper as your fingertips turn 280 pages. Go slowly, as though you are strolling next to the River Seine, noticing every detail. Throughout Paris Chic, understand the appeal of the city’s tantalizing temptations as well as its poetic comfort, its centuries-old splendor and its of-the-moment energy. Revel in enchanting voyeurism, looking at behind-the-scenes gatherings in homes, offices and restaurants.
Imagine yourself (oui, fantasize!) slipping inside the images of Paris Chic as well: Peering over the edge of a hotel balcony; striding Avenue des Champs-Élysées; meandering public gardens; exploring galleries and workshops and bookstores; nosing around boutiques (a perfumerie!); indulging in treats (macarons!); relishing bistro meals that leisurely linger; meeting fab fresh amis. This is not a guidebook, although it certainly points in inviting directions. Like the best of travel-themed coffee table books, Paris Chic offers a sumptuous portal that woos and nurtures wanderlust.