Thank you, Robin Katsaros, for photographing my talk at Shakespeare & Co. and for hosting me & Jean-Marc (left, Kristin Espinasse; center, Heather Hartley (poet & Shakespeare speakerine), and Jean-Marc).

librairie (lee-brare-ee) noun, feminine

    : bookstore, bookshop

Attention! Careful not to confuse "la library" with "la bibliothèque" (or "library")

A Day in a FRENCH Life... by Kristin Espinasse

If Shakespeare and Company, that historic bookshop on the Left Bank--the little librairie that sparkles, like star dust, in the midst of Notre Dame... yes, if  this "beatitudinal" bookstore  has a mission statement it surely is this:

Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise

For this is the message we feel and see as we loll about in the historic librairie. This wisdom is written on the walls and stamped on the hearts of the "hospitables"—those volunteer-employees who reside in the store of George Whitman and daughter Sylvia, with whom I am smitten.

But back to lolling about...  I have never lolled the narrow halls of Shakespeare's Parisian walls. But I have gone gawking and shaking in their midst. Perhaps it is the literary "librarians" or the clientèles-écrivains? For customers are sure to see, in this beloved bookshop nommé Shakespeare & Cie, writers of both prose and poetry.  And they might as well be rock stars to we would-bes.

...we would be writers, poets, or novelists...

Novelist... I've not yet realized all of the goals on my "Kinds of Writing I'd like to Know How to Do" list.

And so it is that walking into Shakespeare & Cie bookshop still takes my breath away with a whoosh and a heart rapidly beating. Once inside and walking within a sea of poetry, prose, and fiction—my faith flutters at the possibility that one day I might court so many words and, eventually, ask to marry them...

First comes love, then comes "marriage," then comes BOOKS in the golden carriage.

Books of fiction, poetry and mystery... But for the moment I remain a shy suitor, a femme-écrivain ever chasing after words that whisper "Catch me if you can!"

Postnote: I had the honor of speaking at Shakespeare & Company last Monday night. I will share the video with you on Friday! Meantime, don't miss these articles on my talk. Merci to Adrian and Sion for writing about the event!

Adrian Leed's "Telling Tales About Success"

Sion Dayson's Kristin Espinasse: Of Bribes & Wine


:: Le Coin Commentaires ::
Have your say about the French word of the day—or share feedback on today's story. Click here to comment.

Sound File Download MP3  or Download Wav

Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce today's word in the following phrase:

On achète les livres dans une librairie.
We buy books in a bookstore.

Next Meet-up! Jean-Marc (only)  will be in LOS ANGELES  next month and elsewhere in the States... meet him!



Cavallini birds

SmartFrench Audio CDs Intermediate/Advanced

French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student.

Cavallini Carte Postale * Vintage Paris * set of 12 cards Keepsake tin:  Regular & Joyeux Noel

Hilary, with Sylvia Whitman, sold copies of my Words in a French Life.

Before my speech, Heather (left) and Jemma (right), of Shakespeare & Company bookshop, took me out for a drink.

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Bravo Kristin!
Wish I was there...Shakespeare & Co. looks like a cozy place. What lovely articles and feedback from Adrian and Sion!I look forward to the video on Friday! Have a great day!

Bill in St. Paul

A talk by Kristin AND Jean-Marc's wine, can life get any better? Wish I could have been there. Looking forward to seeing Jean-Marc at Solo Vino in St. Paul.


Hello Kristin!

Bravo, bravo, bravo!

Shakespeare & Co seems to be a fantastic “librairie” (bookshop, yes) with their extremely hospitable and friendly Sylvia, Jemma, Heather and Hillary. Bless them!
Your experience in front of a packed audience (wooow!) must have been so thrilling! I was very keen to open the 2 links and enjoyed reading the articles.
Your first report today is really fascinating, and now, we're all looking forward to your Newsletter on Friday!

Meanwhile, have a wonderful time relaxing at home... in Provence... enjoying the beginning of Spring around you. Here, I can just about catch a glimpse of it in the first little groups of daffodils bravely facing rain and cold winds, offering their bright and shiny yellow smiles on the wet grass.


I took my first writing class at Shakespeare & Co, and looking out at Notre Dame for that upstairs room was like a dream! I can't imagine how you must have felt giving a book review there! Good Work, Kristin! You have fulfilled your dreams. Now to dream on - that novel, perhaps?

Evelyn Jackson

Hooray for you! I can hardly wait for Friday's video.

jan greene

The photo of you looks absolutely golden with possibility and creativity. We are SO sorry to not be with you due to the strike at the airport and weather. Now we are just home on Cape Cod imagining your dreams unfolding in that amazing environment! Indeed, hooray for you! jan

Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ

Congratulations, Kritis! You packed the house. I wish I could have been there in person but just know I was there in spirit. I wish you were coming to Brooklyn with Jean-Marc. Next Monday night, along with others from Brooklyn Law School and some friends, I will be sipping wine with your husband once again.


Bravo, Kristin. Your description of how you felt walking into S&Co as a "would-be" is exactly what I felt the first time I entered the store. One of the links you included even referred to you as writer AND photographer! Can't wait to see video from the event.

Karen in Towson, Md. USA

Well done, Kristin! A packed house!!

I'm certain your fellow writers through the ages have also felt unworthy or as if they were simply "courting" the idea of being categorized as a writer. I hope you see now that you have arrived.
Even Adrian wrote that few ever make it.

I love also how Adian wrote that you have " a talent to see the detail in life - ..." and we all can appreciate what Sion wrote: "Let’s raise a toast to our passions; they are the most precious things we own."

Thanks so much for following your passions and for inspiring and sharing it with us.

By the way - you look beautiful in the photos. Did you have to stand the whole evening, though?

Karen in Towson, Md. USA

Thanks for the beautiful sound file, Jackie!

Marianne Rankin

Kristin, felicitations! Seems that you were very well received - as you should have been! The articles proved that you are a popular speaker, and you should definitely go back. For me, the best recommendation for an author's work (which in your case can also be photography) is previous work, along with word-of-mouth accolades.

You most assuredly do have an eye for detail - it is one of your strengths.

I'm looking forward to the video.


How exciting for you to have such a wonderful reception at Shakespeare & Co. I adore that place. I have so many fond memories of buying books there and turning in used ones at the end of a residency in Paris. I cherish the "sneaked" photo of George sitting in the downstair's "office" that I took when I was still using black and white film. You look lovely in the golden moment!

Jan Patterson

Bravo Kristin! I am so very pleased for you!
Jan in (sunny and 40 degree) Wisconsin


Congrats Kristin. A friend and her boyfriend just returned from Paris. She's now in love with Paris, but I don't know about her boyfriend anymore.
Did those Atlantic storms affect you at all? They've been in the news here.


Congratulations Kristin! This is awesome!


Linda Wanless

Shakespeare & Co. has an interesting history that is told in a book called "Shakespeare & Company". It is written by Sylvia Beach, the woman who opened the first one at 8 rue Dupuytren in 1919. It was moved to 12 rue de l'Odeon and remained there until it closed in 1941. She hosted many of the expatriat writers of the time and was great friends with James Joyce. It is an interesting story and makes the current Shakespeare & Co. more intriguing....


Brava Kristin!

I'm delighted for you! Both articles mention the packed house. C'est pas mal! And the reference to your sparkle and charm... I think you were a hit, un grand succes!

Felicitations! Keep up the good work!


Kristin, I found your blog on speaking at Shakespeare & Cie so inspirational! I'm a writer, too, and you remind me that I can have continuing success in my chosen profession just by telling my stories in my voice. A thousand thank-you's ...

Martin Lee

Bravo Kristin,
This is a great email to open each morning, so varied. Meici, from sunny Cambridge New Zealand.


I can attest that Kristin's talk was mah-velous! Chapeau, Kristin! Thank you for sharing your story, and encouraging all of us! It was wonderful to spend a bit more time with you in Paris. I'm looking forward to chatting more about books and blogs chez toi. xoxo


Thank you for these cheering comments! I felt so calm on the night of my speech. I know this is a result of all of your encouragements -- for I had no reason to be fearful with so many caring words from all of you! I remembered Douglas's "Talk to them like close friends" and many other comments such as that one. It worked!

Karen, no, I did not have to stand too long (I spoke for 25 minutes, then sat down to sign books!).

Douglas, we were not affected by the storms (though we were saddened, driving to Paris beneath the rain, to listen to the radio which continued to report so many deaths in France due to the storms.)

Ann, can't wait to see you again, in April! I've been thinking about our talk in Paris... and, since, have a children's story percolating (thanks to Newforest... Ha! how's that for suspense!) P.S.: even Newforest is not aware... or wasn't. Newforest, if a little bell suddently goes off in your mind, then you'll have a good clue about who the heroine of the story is. Now if everyone would cross their fingers -- I'll give fiction a go... and begin to type up the "little story that could" tomorrow... Sorry for being behind on emails. I hope you'll all understand.

xoxo, and in appreciation à gogo,

Jill in Sydney

What a wonderful night and great reviews too. Congratulations on your success, which I'm sure all your blog readers feel proud of!!!

And your image of the little librairie sparkling like star dust - I could just see and feel it!


Claudia from Bridgehampton, NY


You look absolutely radiant and what rave reviews! Congratulations. I expect you're on crutches about now, right? So glad it went well and can't wait to see the video.

March is acting like a lion here on the east end of a cold and very windy Long Island.

Robyn Daniels

Sounds like it was a real red letter day Kristin - or rather a 'red, white and blue' letter day as you waved the flag for both France and America with your tale of your journey as a writer and artist/photographer. Well done, dear friend!
I had hoped to come see your debut at 'Shakespeare et cie' but maybe 'la prochaine fois' as I'm sure you will be envited to reprise some time in the future. Look forward to seeing the video and your thoughts on the city of love. Robyn xx


A children story percolating?

Kristin, I am delighted to hear such good news, but so far, I am not aware of anything at all.
I have been re-reading what you said and tried to read between the lines.

You did say 'the heroine' (not 'the hero') - so, the main character belongs to the feminine gender (?)
I'm now wondering whether the clue is actually a word used in that paragraph where you mentioned the 'suspense'(???)

Cheryl in STL

BRAVO Kristin!!
I can agree with Ann that it was mah-velous!! And a bonus was a quick chat with Ann who sat across from me in that back overflow area. The entire evening was such a treat for me--thank you. And now my Paris trip is over, I'm home and real life starts up again. Being able to hear you talk added something special to this trip. And it really was a packed house!!

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

CONGRATS Kristin!! So Awesome! I can't wait to see Fridays
post, and am very curious about your new writing venture.
Love to all.

Sunny Phoenix 70 degrees.

Devra Long

Bravo Kristin! When I saw Adrian's post today I just knew it was about you!!!
Can't wait for Friday to hear more!

Kristin ....SOOOO glad everything was perfect for you in Paris...knew it would be! Congratulations!

PS I always thought you would be perfect as a children's book writer as well :-) ....look forward to hearing about your new adventures in writing!

Jennifer in OR

Marvelous! I enjoyed the two blog articles you linked, you're getting great press. I'm looking forward to the video on Friday.


Dear Cheryl, I am kicking myself: did we talk, did we speak... did we have the chance to meet? Please send me a picture (we did get a picture didn't we? I hope, I hope). This reminds me to ask everyone to use their first and last names when introducting and meeting one another, for I know you Cheryl, well by your second name -- and I am afraid that if you told me only your first name then I did not make the connection that "this is Cheryl M.! My Cheryl M.!"

As always, I never know if the guests are there for me... or for someone else. In the past, I have shared speaking events with other speakers (including my husband, as I did Monday), so I am never sure if everyone in the room is familiar with my blog or book. For example, I realized afterward that many of the people at Shakespeare & Co are regulars--those that live in Paris and enjoy going to the Monday talks. It doesn't mean that they are familiar with the author-in-question. But they go to enjoy the new speakers (oh, and wouldn't I love to do that if I lived in Paris! I'd be at every Monday night talk!)

So, Cheryl, please tell me that we spoke! And forgive me for this note -- but I need to be sure that we had a good chat and enjoyed our time together! (I hope I am not putting my foot in my mouth). Many of the names (of those whose books I signed) are blurry. I wish it were not this way and that I could remember every detail. Next time I will string a camcorder around my neck and record the evening!

Merci encore, Cheryl, and to everyone for these lovely "commentaires".

(who is eating more fish for her murky memory.... More about that in an upcoming vignette!)

Karen in Towson, Md. USA

I am missing hearing from you Jules, in this comment corner. I hope you are OK.

Cynthia Crane

So proud and happy for you. I can visualize it all. Sure helps me through this Madoff morass that has so changed our lives. You are an inspiration and I consider you a friend.
Cynthia Crane

Cheryl in STL

I did not get a chance to meet you and I was really disappointed. But there were just so many people in such a small space that it was difficult to move! I never even saw where you were downstairs. But I did get a perfect view of you while you were speaking and I loved being able to be there! Now I'm kicking myself that I didn't just go outside for a while and enjoy the view of Notre Dame and then go back in when it had thinned out. Thank you for the lovely note and for an evening I'll long remember fondly!

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

What a lovely stage to share your bright and beautiful light! Congrats, Kristi! I am joy filled over your success.

Exciting news! I absolutely love that you have an idea for a children's book.

Linda Meier

Hello Kristin:
I have been a follower of your book and website for several years now and am happily returning to France for bicycling the Lot and renting a house in Uzes for two weeks this September. I just finished a book "The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop" by Lewis Buzbee that extolls the reason we love books and bookshops and retells the fascinating history of Shakespeare and Co., one of my favorite visits in Paris. I think you would enjoy it!!
Thanks for your wonderful insight on French life.
Linda Meier


Today's word is a great one. Going to the bookstore is one of my favorite things to do. Though Boarder's lacks the charm of older bookstore's, it is better than none. I have heard they are planning to close many of them in the US. I went to a used bookstore last week, and found a wonderful Henry James book I had never heard of until now. It contains " The Aspern Papers", and "The Europeans. I have a little Librairie in a room in my house.

Kristin, I am glad all went well Mon, and I too am looking forward to the video on Friday.

Good night,


Sorry...Border's...It was a long 24 hrs at tired.

Edie Schmidt

Bonjour Kristin:

I'm sure your talk was tres excellent! I haven't had a chance to visit Shakespeare & Co., but would love to. Would have loved to have heard your talk as well! Have visited another English-language bookstore in Paris: The Red Wheelbarrow" which I enjoyed. It's in the Marais District. Are you familiar with that one? Do they carry your books? We spent 2 nights in Paris during the Christmas holiday. Staying near the Bastille. I really like that area of the city. J'aime Paris!

Edie Schmidt, Savannah, Georgia

gail bingenheimer

How do we see the video's? gail

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