A few weeks ago we took a few days off to visit the small town of Saint Malo in Brittany, famous for its piracy past and its fortified old quarter.
As always, we took this opportunity to look for bookshops along the way. I found one most intriguing and endearing, located not in the inner quarters, but in the quiet neighborhood of Saint Servan. It’s called Droguerie de Marine (Sea Chemist’s, perhaps?), and really offers lots of wonders. The ground floor is a chemist-cum-gift shop with lots of quirky, unique, witty or simply beautiful objects (but you can also buy all sorts of scrubbing brushes for your boat, should you need).
The staircase and landing are full of knickknacks and books (as you’d guessed, babies aren’t exactly welcome there), and then the first floor is the bookshop itself, and what a bookshop! A dream place where I would have pored over books for hours until closing time (this is not polite practice in France, and that’s why you won’t normally find a comfy couch or even a chair to sit down in French bookshops: you’re here to buy and read elsewhere, not to read books here and avoid buying them). There’s a nice children’s room, and then a long place with lots of nooks and crannies. And even a couch!
What made the place even better was the large puppets (wooden or metal, I can’t tell) and boat models that seemed to be stranded amidst random piles of books. I am sure there is really an order to them all, but I loved the messy atmosphere, so conducive of snooping around for a new good book.
“A” new good book? Ahem, I didn’t resist much and bought several! I bought a Korean manga about food, a children book for Halloween and a psychology book about kids asking difficult questions. I’d have gladly bought another dozen, but for lack of space.
If you can’t make it to Saint Malo to see the place in person, you still can visit their website, they have a virtual 360° view of the place and nice pictures (nicer than what my old phone can do, ahem).