Saturday Through My Lens: Windows from France

This week's Saturday Through My Lens features a collection of window photographs taken during my last trip to France.  Some of these windows were at Versailles--the main palace and Le Petit Trianon.  Others were from chateaus of the Loire Valley--Chenonceau, Chambord & Cheverny.  And a couple were from the Louvre Museum in Paris. I think they're all beautiful. Sky Lights I have noticed that I always seem to take pictures of windows.   Let There Be Light I really like windows.   I am drawn to rooms with lots of windows, and I feel suffocated or caged if I spend too much time in a room that has no windows. Continue reading "Saturday Through My Lens: Windows from France"

Saturday Through My Lens: Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

This week's Saturday Through My Lens is almost a Sunday Through My Lens. It's been a crazy week and a busy day, but the clock hasn't struck midnight yet, so I'm still gonna call it Saturday Through My Lens!

Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France

This week's edition features Shakespeare & Company Bookstore in Paris, France.

Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

The ORIGINAL Shakespeare & Company was opened in 1919 by Sylvia Beach and became a popular hangout for the American ex-pats in Paris in the Roaring 20s, including Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce.

Notre Dame is our backyard

In 1964, Sylvia passed away. Bookstore owner George Whitman changed his store's name to Shakespeare and Company to honor her after her death. The store, just across the river from Notre Dame, is a still a thriving community gathering place for poetry and book readings, book discussions, and selling books, of course!

Our lives are a story.

George was a very passionate man, and he followed in Sylvia's footsteps to create a place that artists and writers could write and gather as they passed through Paris. He opened his doors to them, and by his claims over 40,000 artists have slept in the tiny beds over the bookstore.

George's Memorial Banner

Unfortunately, George passed away in 2011, but his legacy and his passion live on in his daughter, aptly named Sylvia Beach Whitman.

Ironwork Reflections

I first heard about the bookstore in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. I was reading The Paris Wife at the time, which is based on Hemingway's first marriage and his time in Paris. So I was so excited to visit this little treasure in my favorite city.

Shakepeare's likeness

It was almost magical, visiting this tiny little store that had breathed life and hope into so many, right as I was about to make the leap into my own dreams of being a writer.

First Editions and Rare Books

The store is a wonderfully eclectic mix of old and new books. All in the English language right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Paris.

The Rare Books side of Shakespeare and Company

One side of the store is dedicated entirely to rare first editions.

First Edition Sense & Sensibility

You cannot imagine the elation and giddiness of this history buff, aspiring writer, and lover of antique books to see such marvelous treasures from legends of the written word.

Hemingway's Moveable Feast

I was especially intrigued by a rare copy of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, written during his time in Paris.

I'll take quaint and messy over large-chain and neat!

No cameras are allowed inside the store. It is not a tourist attraction, but a legitimate bookstore, with readings and workshops and signings. And even as a passionate picture person, I agree with Sylvia's decision on preserving that. (Though I couldn't resist taking a quick snapshot zoomed through the doorway just to show that this is no chain bookstore with large aisles and flourescent lighting. It's quaint, unique, cluttered, and passionate.)

lady In purple peruses a book

Eventually I had to pass the camera off to My Knight to go and peruse in purple. I longed to feel the history with my hands and search through the plethora of words with my eyes and my heart. I could have spent hours there. And someday, I will.

If these photos or this place intrigued you at all, I strongly encourage you to check out the store's website by clicking here. It is one of the most fascinating websites I've ever visited. The website is every bit as intriguing, eclectic, unique and artistic as the store itself. Each picture, each note posted, leads to you another treasure, much like the twisting and crooked aisles of the store itself.

You can also click here for the store's history on Wikipedia.

Or.....You could just go to Paris and see it yourself.

P.S. Oops. It's after midnight. This is now officially a Sunday Through My Lens. Oh well. It will shock no one that I am late.

Blood, Needles, Movies and France

Blood mobile, give blood, donate blood, the gift of lifeOur church believes in giving, so on some regular schedule that I have never figured out, the blood bus shows up for everyone to donate blood.  I have always had a slight aversion to needles, especially those piercing my skin.
It's not that it hurts overly much, but the anticipation of it nearly drives me to tears.  Oh, who am I kidding?! It has driven me to tears on more than one occasion, which is almost always embarrassing (eyes watering, not sobbing. I'm not THAT wimpy).
But since it seems unlikely that I will be able to save lives in the normal course of my daily routine, I think it's important to give blood and make the effort at saving lives that way.
A couple of years ago, I was settled in one of the bus recliners with a nice cup of OJ, giving blood, donating bloodtrying hard not to pay attention to the nurse about to stab me in the arm.  I usually talk non-stop to the other people in the bus in my efforts to ignore it (and those of you making mental comments asking how that is different from any other time I'm talking should be ashamed of yourselves).

I Love Paris Because . . .

Food is definitely one of the reasons Paris is my favorite city. The wine, the sauces, the bread, the crepes, the pastries. But one of the things I really love is La Cure Gourmande.
La Cure Gourmande
Paris, France


The biscuits and sweets are to die for, but the entire shop is a journey into a pastel and sugary aromatic playground of visual delights. I am on a sugar high before I even take a bite just from wandering through here. I wanted to share this experience with you. Too bad there's no scratch 'n sniff or lick 'n taste on your screen! (don't try it!)
How do you pick just one?
Too pretty to take anything off the shelf!