Journey to Southern France 2010 – Part 8

Carcasonne: old bridge and medieval city.

Carcasonne: old bridge and medieval city.

On July 28 we visit not only the beautiful medieval city of Carcasonne, but also a nearby “book-village”: Montolieu. As both my wife and I are ‘bookaholics’, this village has a magical attraction for us – and it does not disappoint us.

Montolieu: bookshop "Le Phare Fouilleur"

Montolieu: bookshop “Le Phare Fouilleur”

We arrive at Montolieu at 11, an hour before the beginning of the ‘sieste’, when all the bookshops of the village are closed. So wie hurry into the first shop, get a plan of the village that shows all the attrractions: 15 antiquarian bookshops, some ateliers of book-related artists (illustrators, printers, paper-makers, …) and a book-museum. All in all we stay for five hours, which is far too short for all the things this place has to offer.

At noon we eat in the garden of a restaurant, and I draw the entrance of the bookshop “Le Phare Fouilleur”. I have hardly drawn the first lines, as the owner closes the big door. As he realizes, what I am doing, he opens it again, so I can finish my drawing. Later we visit his big shop: He sells second hand comics (‘bandes dessinées’).

Montolieu: ruins of the 'Manufacture'.

Montolieu: ruins of the ‘Manufacture’.

At last we visit the “Manufacture”, an old industrial complex partly in ruins, but with a vast bookshop.

Montolieu: Librerie Alcyon.

Montolieu: Librerie Alcyon.

Two days later we come a second time to complete our tour through Montolieu’s treasures. The shops are great again, not so much the ‘Salon de thé Les anges au plafond’, where we only get carelessly prepared food and tea. No wonder that no one is in here. We should have been warned…

At last I visit the ‘Musée du livre’, the book museum, which is quite interesting.

The books we bought at Montolieu.

The books we bought at Montolieu.

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