We asked our two French book fairies, Marie-Celia and Sihem, to get together and write a piece about the reading culture in France – and here it is!
The French reading culture
France has always been a land of literature with a strong reading culture. It is home to very famous and genius writers, among them Victor Hugo, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry or even Charles Baudelaire, and many more, that’s the reason why there’s a deep and true interest in books and literature.
The prestigious Prix Goncourt rewards the best and most imaginative prose work of the year: it’s the most important literature award, and a reference for readers but also for writers. Many events dedicated to books are organized throughout the year such as the Salon du Livre in Paris or Le Livre sur la Place in Nancy, for example, where writers and readers get the chance to meet and debate.
In Paris, some places such as le Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots were popular hubs attended by famous writers and philosophers such as Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus. Moreover French people widen their reading opportunities and share them with the rest of the population with « book boxes » : it’s very simple, you can take a book home with you for free as long as you leave one in the box in return. However, many people read online on free platforms or buy ebooks.
Why Marie-Celia is looking forward to our launch
“A book can be a friend, a confidant or even a companion, that shares with you adventures and secrets. I believe books are magic, and becoming a Book Fairy by dropping books on the Métro in Paris is having the privilege to sprinkle stardust on people’s life either on their way to work or home, privilege that I’m honoured to have!”
Why Sihem is looking forward to our launch
“I like reading in my spare time, under a warm blanket. I think that to read not only helps us learn things, but opens the doors of the imagination. To become a Book Fairy has allowed me to open these doors to other people. And, as Napoléon Bonaparte said: “Imagination governs the world.””