Librairie or bibliothèque?
In French, "librairie" means bookstore and "bibliothèque" means library. Whether you know a bit of French or not, you figure that out pretty quickly once you've wandered into one of them thinking it was the other.
We took yesterday's wet weather as an opportunity to visit a couple of the local bibliothèques. Since a steep decline in the church-going population that started about fifty years ago, numerous churches have been converted for other purposes; library is one of the most popular. Our first stop was Maison de la littérature, just a few blocks from our flat. We've walked past it a dozen times, seeing from the outside a brightly illuminated white interior, and I was anxious to see the inside. It did not disappoint -- it was bright and spare and modern.
Our second stop was at Bibliothèque Saint-Jean-Baptiste, on Rue Saint John. Unlike the first one, this library looked like someone had walked in yesterday, removed the pews, added books, and reopened the same day. The stained glass windows, altar and statuary remain in place.
A panorama of the library, taken from the former choir loft.
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