notes from an urban hibernation

Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn

From the Porte de Vanves


The route from the Porte de Vanves down in the south west corner of the city begins by following the tracks out of Montparnasse station, as they go first south, and then west towards the heartlands, and on even further west to the pounded rocks of the Atlantic in Brittany. As soon as you leave the exit you come upon an oversized pigionnier, that just about rescues the birds from the electrical paraphernalia of the tracks. Turning  into Rue de l’Ouest, you can see the tower at Montparnasse from the uncomfortable angle of edge-on, and once again you realise how small and compact the city is. We join the Avenue de Maine and cut through the bus station, to visit a purveyor of brocante at the end of Rue Vaugirard  just off the boulevard.It’s a straight line for home almost, through St Germain and Place St Michel, past Notre Dame and the surrounding bridges, across Rue de Rivoli and into the Marais. But not without calling to see, on an annual visit, Un Regard Moderne, the tiny bookshop at No.10 Rue Git le Coeur run by the lifer Jacques Noel. The street was made famous by the fairytale hotel lived in by Ginsburg, Corso and Burroughs in the late fifties and early sixties, as everybody knows.We caught Jacques reading on the doorstep, where there was just about enough light to see. More than can be said for the interior of the shop, which appears now to be homogenously solid with the stratification of books that can only be extracted with a shovel. It’s really a Merzbau, less to do with reading than with accretion. Jacques may have his own private supply of discrete volumes, which he secretly keeps under the counter for moments like this when he’s forced to the edge.  Books will finally bury you if you live with them like he does. SC



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This entry was posted on February 22, 2016 by .
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