A Parisian Adventure
by Ellen G.K. Rubin
(reprinted from Movable Stationery, May 2015; vol., no.)
If you know me, heard my stories, or read my articles, you know I always declare myself the luckiest person alive when it comes to pop-up books. But some people would say, “You make your own luck,” and I guess I did when I decided to go to Paris for the 7th Salon du livre animé to be held December 4, 2014. I had always wanted to go and asked myself, “If not now, when?”
It took some arm-twisting to get my husband, Harold, to agree to accompany me since, while he loves Paris, he would prefer to go in fine weather when he can sit out on the street cafés and people-watch. December was far from his first choice. But agree he did.
I contacted Jacques Desse, partner with Thibaut Brunessaux, of Chez Les Libraires Associés. After years of hearing about the event after the fact, I was finally going to experience it for myself. Would the language barrier detract from my interacting with the paper engineers? I was hoping not. It was a foregone conclusion that my suitcase would be half-empty and a second one brought along to carry my French stash back to the States.
Paris, when we arrived on December 3, seemed familiar especially since the weather was like New York when we left, cold, dreary, drizzly, and grey. Only the Eiffel Tower, lit hourly with its own gaudy light show, sparkled in the starless cloudy night.
We spent the next two days just wandering around and eating—I had to have my croissants!—and visiting museums but especially their book shops. Hands down, the Pompidou has the best one ever with an extensive children’s book section. I tried to anticipate which books Jacques would be featuring so that I could make the purchase from him.
The bookstore at the D’Orsay was disappointing. In years past, there would be a large children’s section with carefully chosen books, artworks in their own right. It had been at the D’Orsay that I had discovered the ethereal books of Katsumi Komagata. None of his books were on the shelves.