Reading has always been something I’ve loved doing as far back as I can remember. So, bookshops are some of my favourite places. And Bordeaux has no shortage of bookshops.
Even though I sometimes order books on Amazon, I still go into bookshops, to discover a writer as yet unknown or a novel with a front cover that attracts me and a back cover that persuades me to buy it. I have a particular fondness for some bookshops for very different reasons.
Inevitably, everyone in Bordeaux knows Librairie Mollat, an old institution dating back to 1896. Its 2,500 m² of floorspace makes it the largest independent bookshop in France and its location in Rue Porte Dijeaux puts it in an unmissable position on my rounds. It is still run by the descendants of Albert Mollat, its founder. Every time I pass by, I can’t stop myself from going in, which means several times a week, to leaf through a book and check out the latest publications. I just have to review the fine arts, literature, paperbacks, detective stories and travel sections. The added advantage is that Montesquieu, the famous philosopher, lived there from 1754 to 1755, last year of his life. Conferences are organised at Station Ausone in Rue de la Vieille Tour, a recently renovated former garage. The petrol pump at the entrance has been retained and the name of Ausone was given to it in reference to Ausone, a Bordeaux literary figure from the Gallo-Roman period.
La Librairie de la Comédie is much more recent because it only opened in 2016. But it is derived from the publishers Editions Féret which date back to 1812. They were taken over in the meantime, but the company has remained famous because of Bordeaux et ses Vins, a book published for the first time in 1850 and regularly updated, with an English language edition, Bordeaux and its Wines. It is now in its nineteenth edition. It’s the bible for wine lovers. Féret has published other books about wine over the years and also on other subjects. You’ll find these books and along with those from other publishers on the first floor of La Librairie de la Comédie. I like the place for its ground-floor tea room and for the beautiful view of the Grand-Théâtre, which can be seen from the first-floor windows.
Another bookshop on my rounds is La Mauvaise Réputation. More intimate, it specialises in art, eroticism and transgression, and is also an art gallery. I discovered it on the occasion of the presentation by a friend of one of his works, on the disreputable Bordeaux painter, Molinier.
Location: Bordeaux. See on Google