The book villages of France – Les villages du Livre
The Salon du Livre Rare in Paris (7 - 9 April) has invited a small but special group of ambassadors who are working tirelessly to promote the trade in and the love for rare and antiquarian books. An unusual project but one that could be replicated in other countries and shows the determination of a group of professionals to pass on the knowledge and passion for our profession.
A federation of 8 villages and towns across France that were turned into a cultural destination by uniting forces and promoting the antiquarian and second hand book trade. Working against a gentrification that is a sad reality in many rural areas, the books brought back business and cultural highlights to the villages. Quietly but ambitious, over 90 booksellers, craftsmen and artists are now part of this initiative which was like a breath of fresh air; it brought new inhabitants to the villages and started attracting both, locals and tourists, bibliophiles and collectors as well as true beginners.
For several years, the villages have organised antiquarian book fairs, author readings, conferences and round tables for artists from various genres, for craftsmen and creatives working in the book trade; lectures and literature events; workshops on typography, printing, engraving, illustration, calligraphy, illuminations, bindings, papermaking and more. The villages hosted youth literature festivals and exhibitions. Every village adapted the concept to its own local set up but always with the same intention: reuniting professionals of the book trade with the public. At the heart of these events are the ambassadors of the villages, who help bring together the public with the world of books: bookseller associations, authors, publishers, librarians, craftsmen and places of literary interest.
These wonderful, tranquil places should be pointed out to each bibliophile, collector or just avid reader and might be a reason for a small detour during the next trip to France.
La Fédération des villes, cités et villages du livre en France
Ambierle, Auvergne - Rhônes-Alpes http://lamottedulivre.free.fr
Bécherel, Bretagne www.becherel.com
La Charité-sur-Loire, Bourgogne - Franche-Comté www.lacharitesurloire.fr
Cuisery, Bourgogne - Franche-Comté www.cuisery-villagedulivre.com
Esquelbecq, Hauts-de-France www.esquelbook.com
Fontenoy-la-Joûte, Grand Est www.villagedulivre54.fr
Montmorillon, Nouvelle-Aquitaine www.citedelecrit.fr
Montolieu, Occitanie www.montolieu-livre.fr