Stately old ladies in fashionable hats rub shoulders with pale beautiful women and bespectacled young men. I am almost afraid to touch the books, for this is not a mere commercial establishment, it is practically a church. (Some cynical part of me whispers “marketing” but I don’t care.) An antique-looking sign says “Point d’arret des trains SNCF”. Welcome to Paradise for bibliophiles.
A narrow wooden staircase brings me to a wonderland more desirable, by far, than Alice’s. We must be quiet so that we do not disturb the writer’s feedback session that is going on in one of the rooms. In a corner, an intense young student (I think ?) is playing a classical piece that we fail to identify. A typewriter lies comfortably on a desk wedged between two large racks full of old, hardbound volumes.
“Please leave the ladder firmly placed on the rack” reads a notice. Clearly some overly enthusiastic people have endangered the lives of their fellow book lovers at some point.
“I think this is where the spirits of readers and introverts go when they’re dead, if they’ve been good,” I whisper to my friend.