The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) has issued a serious expression of concern regarding the City of Paris's planned removal of the historic bouquinistes' stalls along the quays of the river Seine during the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games. This alarming development was brought to ILAB’s attention by the Syndicat National de la Librairie Ancienne (SLAM), the French antiquarian booksellers' association.
In a unified effort, the ILAB Committee and representatives of ILAB member associations from across the globe have drafted an appeal to the City of Paris, urging them to reconsider and abandon the plans to dismantle the bouquinistes' stalls.
The bouquinistes' stalls hold a profound significance within French culture, serving as a cornerstone of not only the country's literary heritage but also contributing to the allure of Paris as a premier global cultural destination. These iconic stalls have been part of the city's cultural life since the 16th century, fostering literary and cultural exchange.
Mario Giupponi, ILAB President: “The international bookselling community of professional rare booksellers has expressed its serious concerns to me and the executive committee. We firmly believe that the removal of these historic stalls will inflict irreparable damage upon structures that have been at the heart of literary and cultural transfer for centuries. The bouquinistes' stalls are an indispensable part of France's cultural heritage, representing an intangible legacy that must be safeguarded and perpetuated.”
In light of these concerns, ILAB calls upon the competent authorities of the City of Paris to explore alternative security measures that can ensure the safety of the 2024 Olympic Games while preserving the bouquinistes' stalls in their rightful place along the quays of the River Seine. The collective voice of the ILAB Committee, along with numerous national antiquarian associations, underscores the urgency of maintaining this treasured aspect of France's cultural tapestry.
ILAB remains hopeful that the City of Paris will consider the cultural significance of the bouquinistes' stalls and work to find a solution that balances security requirements with the preservation of these iconic landmarks. Such an outcome would not only benefit the international community of booksellers and collectors but also ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate and enjoy these historically rich and culturally significant stalls.
Read the full petition below:
The Mayor of Paris
City of Paris
Subject: Petition to Preserve the Bouquinistes’ Stalls on the Quays of the River Seine in Paris
Dear Mayor Anne Hidalgo,
We, the international community of rare booksellers, represented by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), wish to express our deepest concern over the planned removal of the bouquinistes' stalls along the quays of the river Seine in Paris, as recently brought to our attention. As the world's largest international professional network of rare booksellers, ILAB is committed to preserving cultural heritage, and we firmly believe that the bouquinistes’ stalls are an integral part of France's rich cultural history.
We were informed by our colleagues at the Syndicat National de la Librairie Ancienne (SLAM), the French antiquarian booksellers' association, that the French authorities are considering the removal of these historic bouquinistes' stalls due to security concerns during the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games. While we acknowledge the importance of security measures, we believe that there are alternative solutions that can ensure both the safety of the public and the preservation of these cherished landmarks.
The bouquinistes' stalls hold a unique and invaluable place in not only French culture but also the global literary landscape. They are inseparable from the city of Paris, its rich literary heritage, and its status as a prominent cultural destination. For centuries, these stalls have served as places of literary and cultural exchange, dating back to the 16th century. Their removal will create damage and result in an irreparable loss to the cultural fabric of Paris and the world.
We firmly believe that the bouquinistes’ stalls are an integral part of France's cultural heritage, representing a vital link to its intangible heritage. Therefore, we, the ILAB Committee, and the representatives of ILAB’s member associations from all over the world, urgently appeal to the City of Paris to reconsider and abandon the plans for their removal. Instead, we implore the competent authorities to explore alternative security measures that can ensure the safety of all while preserving these historic stalls.
In conclusion, we kindly request that the City of Paris acknowledges the significance of the bouquinistes’ stalls and takes immediate action to protect and perpetuate this vital aspect of its cultural heritage. A solution must be found that safeguards both the security of the 2024 Olympic Games and the preservation of the bouquinistes' stalls, ensuring that they continue to enrich the lives of Parisians and visitors for generations to come.
We thank you for your attention to this matter.
International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB)
Fully supported by:
The ILAB Committee
Angus O’Neill, Vice President
Sally Burdon, General Secretary
Christopher Bailey, Treasurer
Nicolas Malais Philipp Penka
ILAB’s national member associations worldwide
Australia: The Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB), President: Dawn Albinger
Austria: Verband der Antiquare Österreichs (VDAÖ), President: Michael Steinbach
Belgium: Chambre Professionelle Belge de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne / Belgische Beroepskamer van Antiquaren (CLAM/BBA), President: Pierre Coumans
Brazil: Associação Brasileira de Liveiros Antiquarios (ABLA), President: Patrick Levy
Canada: Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Canada / Association de la Librairie Ancienne du Canada (ABAC/ALAC), President: Robert Wright
Denmark: Den Danske Antikvarboghandlerforening (ABF), President: Maria Girsel
France: Syndicat National de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (SLAM), President: Jean-Marc Dechaud
Germany: Verband Deutscher Antiquare e.V. (VDA), President: Dr. Markus Brandis
Hungary: Magyar Antikváriusok Egyesülete (MAE), President: Adam Bosze
Italy: Associazione Librai Antiquari d'Italia (ALAI), President: Gabriele Maspero
Japan: Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Japan (ABAJ), President: Ichiro Kitazawa
Netherlands: Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Antiquaren (NVvA), President: Laurens Hesselink
Norway: Norsk Antikvarbokhandlerforening (NABF), President: Vibeke Ruud
Spain: Asociación Ibérica de Librerias Anticuarias (AILA), President: Gonzalo F. Pontes
Sweden: Svenska Antikvariatföreningen (SVAF), President: Mats Petersson
Switzerland: Vereinigung der Buchantiquare und Kupferstichhändler in der Schweiz /Syndicat de la Librairie et du Commerce de l’Estampe en Suisse (VEBUKU/SLACES), President: Dr. Peter Bichsel
United Kingdom: Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (ABA), President: Deborah Coltham
United States of America: Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), President: Sheryl Jaeger
ILAB Honorary Presidents and Members
Keith Fletcher, ILAB Member of Honour
Arnoud Gerits, ILAB President of Honour
Norbert Donhofer, ILAB President of Honour