Exploring France and Greece on a European Book Tour

I have added new adventures to my travel bucket list

thanks to two books that are helping me read through Europe – The Little Paris Bookshop and The Greek Escape.

The Little Paris Bookshop, written by Nina George, inspires you to see less traveled spots in France.

The Little Paris Bookshop is written by Nina George

The Little Paris Bookshop

I have spent a very busy day in Paris (not my favourite spot, although I have been told you need at least a week in the City of Lights) and a couple more weeks exploring various parts of France, but The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George made me wish I could commandeer a houseboat (ideally, my boat would be a floating bookstore just like Jean’s the main character) and travel through the French waterways, stopping at various cities and towns including Cuisery.

“Oh, Cuisery,” Jean says. “An avid reader would lose his heart here. The whole village is crazy about books – or crazy period – but that is not unusual. Virtually every shop is a bookstore, a printer’s, a bookbinder’s, a publisher’s, and many of the houses are artists’ workshops. The place is buzzing with creativity and imagination…Every bookseller in Cuisery specializes in something. You can find everything here – and when I say everything, I mean everything,” explains (Jean) Perdu.

Through Jean and his friends, we get to explore a France that is beyond the usual tourist destinations including a tiny village called Apremont-sur-Alllier, which was on the bend of the Allier River.

“As the three men walked through the village, Jean felt as thorough they had stepped back into the 15th century. The tall trees with their broad canopies, the many unpaved lanes, the smattering of houses built of yellow sandstone, pinkish earth and red tiles, even the flowers in the farm gardens and the ivy sprouting over the buildings – it all combined to suggest that they had entered a bygone France of knights and witches. There was a small castle perched about this erst-while village of stonemasons and builders, its walls shining golden red in the rays of the sinking sun.”

So much beauty and so much of a country left to discover.

The Greek Escape, written by U.K. author Karen Swan, inspires you to travel to Greece and explore the blue water and colourful houses.

The Greek Escape is written by U.K. author Karen Swan.

The Greek Escape

OK, so my adventures and the adventures that clients hire Chloe Marston to create would be completely different. I, for example, wouldn’t fly myself and a handful of business colleagues for dinner on an iceberg. I, however, would love to see Greece and experience the calming, happy sensation of that beautiful blue water and those white houses, the history, and the people.

“The houses rose up and away from the harbour in narrow streets, old grey stone steps polished to a shine by the generations of inhabitants, travelers and pack animals that trod weary paths up and down them under the blazing sun,” writes Karen Swan in The Greek Escape ($24.99, Publishers Group Canada, Pan MacMillan). “On either side, potted, nodding flowers lined the streets, with some wooden chairs set outside, ready for the cooler hours. There was no common consensus on the islands’ colourway – some doors and windows were fuchsia pink, others a marigold orange, sunflower yellow or cobalt blue – but the overall effect was splashy and vibrant, hot and vivacious. Most the houses were stippled white, some of the grander buildings were built from square-cut stones and looked out upon the town with arched windows and balconies.”

On an excursion in Hydra, Chloe and Joe Lincoln, her client, hiked through pines and a craggy, hilly landscape that offered a view that inspires me to go to Greece:

“The bay was small and deeply curved, the water an inviting turquoise, so clear she could see the rocks and stones from here.”

A copy of The Greek Escape was provided by Publishers Group Canada
for an honest review. The opinions are my own.

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