City of Books: Lyon

Lyon has an impressive number of independent and chain bookshops, antiquarian and plain second-hand bookshops, as well as a thriving books on the quay (bouquinistes) lifestyle in summer.

Bookstands on the Quai de la Pecherie, on the Saone.
Bookstands on the Quai de la Pecherie, on the Saone.

Although I did stop to peruse outdoors, I was heading to a specific location: the second-hand bookshop Le Pere Penard on the Quai Fulchiron. I had met the owners at the Quais du Polar, and discovered they had a fantastic selection of noir and crime fiction, as well as BD. So I ordered some Jean-Claude Izzo through them. However, the shop is huge, stuffed to the gills with books in all genres, including cookery, history and coffee-table books.

Something for everyone here.
Something for everyone here.

It was set up by a group of friends in 1994: members of the group have changed over the years, but the passion for books has stayed the same. It’s a real treasure trove of a place, to explore at leisure, over many hours.

Upstairs, downstairs...
Upstairs, downstairs…
... and in my lady's chamber...
… and in my lady’s chamber…
... where I found...
… where I found…

a title by Pascal Garnier that I was unfamiliar with, a short novella called Nul n’est a l’abri du succes (Nobody’s safe from success). Then, to my utter surprise and delight, look what I discovered when I looked inside!

Allons, ca de fait pas si mal que ca, parce que…. Amicalement, P. Garnier.Translation: There, there, it’s not that bad, because… With friendship, P. Garnier.

Yes, it’s a signed copy and it’s as if the author (whom I only discovered about 4 years ago but who’s since become a firm favourite) is talking to me from beyond the grave.

For more Lyon bookshops, see this earlier post. And no, the Lyon Tourist Office is not paying me to promote their city!


41 thoughts on “City of Books: Lyon”

  1. What a super find with the Garnier – well done!

    As for the wonderful bookshops of Lyon, I’m marking this post for future reference. Thank you.

    1. Next ambition: find a signed copy of a Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys or Barbara Pym book… 😉
      And, since we will live quite close to each other in the UK, maybe we can organise a trip to Lyon one Bank Holiday weekend together?

  2. I’m imagining how I would feel if I found a signed copy of a book by one of my favourite authors. What a treasure trove of a bookshop! Lyon is calling me even more strongly…

    1. Oh, you should! There are several excellent bookshops (not second-hand) as well, plus so much to see and do. The Fete des Lumieres in December is quite spectacular (but very busy), so best months to visit might be September or May/June. Good weather, you can still sit outside for a drink.

      1. September holidays strike me as an excellent idea, especially now I’m out of full-time education. Will try and convince the Chaos.

  3. Oh, lucky you, Marina Sofia, to find that book! How wonderful! And I do love that bookshop. Little wonder you like to spend time there. I’d like to move in there, myself.

  4. Well Marina, you have quickly settle the decision of taking the train or car to Lyon this autumn… I will need the car to haul all the book purchases back with me. It reminds me a bit of my beloved Montolieu but much larger. Now I must make room for all those books!

        1. Of course it is normal, not to worry. Those who think otherwise either voted for Brexit or will vote for The Donald! Frightening eh?

  5. Looks gorgeous! And I didn’t realise you were coming to the UK to live – wonderful! You must head up to Scotland at one point; we could “do lunch” in one of the cities!

  6. Oh, you lucky, lucky poisson! Still, in London Charing Cross Road awaits you . . . but, yes, even that venue is going to have a hard job matching up to Lyon!

    Le Pere Penard reminds me very much of our adored Montclair Book Store, about 30 miles/50km from us here in northern NJ: a similar layout and similarly packed shelves. I’ve always thought of the Montclair Book Store as being like a scaled-down version of NYC’s Strand Book Shop, but it’s much more like a similarly sized Le Pere Penard.

    *user checks air fares and schedules to Lyon*

  7. This is one of the amazing independant bookshops we have in Lyon.
    Thanks for this post, you will definitely increase book bloggers tourism in Lyon if you keep on this way!
    Anyway, I’m glad to know you’ll be back in April. And do take Jacqui with you please! 🙂

  8. That first one is amazing…. so many books, so little time to read them all. 🙂

    Thanks Marina for popping in the bar’s celebration. Have a good week.

  9. Beautiful post and wonderful pictures, Marina! That signed copy of Garnier’s book looks so wonderful! Loved the bookshop pictures – I so want to go there! Now, the important question – did you manage to catch up with Emma?

    1. Yes, we went together to a concert on Saturday night in the ancient Roman amphitheatre. It was magical! A lovely town, indeed, worth many visits.

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