National Geographic : 1950 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine ieSlle I'. uTreennll Name Your Book or Print; Left Bank Bookstalls Probably Have It This open-air paradise for browsers, as typical of Paris as sidewalk cafes, stretches for blocks along the quais, or riverside streets on the Seine's left bank. Boxlike bookcases are clamped to the parapet overlooking the river. Owners sit on small folding chairs near the curb and offer endless variety, from treatises on steam engineering to gold-illuminated vellum pages of 14th-century missals. Prints feature maps, views of Paris, sporting scenes, and 18th-century gallantry. Often the prints turn out to be modern copies, hand-colored. Chartres Cathedral (page 51); the flower vendor at the Boccador restaurant with the shallow reed basket overflowing with dewy lilies of the valley. I remembered the exuberant students who stopped our car, demanding an embrace, on Bastille Day; the dancers at the Fete de Ver sailles, looking like miniature porcelain figures come to life, their every pirouette reflected in the clear waters of the Neptune Basin (page 57); and the man in the post office in the Aerogare de Paris, who looked like a sorcerer, measuring on his little scales just the right combination that would send my letters magi cally flying through the air. As we left Paris, I remembered standing in the upper chapel of Sainte Chapelle, with the morning sunlight shimmering through its 15 stained-glass windows. It was like being in the center of an enormous jewel. Closing my eyes, I could see the view from the terrace of the Pavilion Henri IV at St. Germain en Laye, 13 miles from Paris; the Bois de Boulogne; Longchamp; and the silver Seine in the slanting sunlight of late afternoon. A precious memory picture came to me of the Saturday night the French were celebrat ing, below us on the esplanade, the anniversary of their liberation (page 44). When the bril liant fireworks began to cascade through the dark night, I awakened Niki. "Oh, Mother," she thrilled, "the sky is full of flowers!" And now we were winging through that same sky, going home, and yet leaving home. In my heart I realized the truth of the old saying -"Everyone in the world has two countries his own and France!"* * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Paris Lives Again," December, 1946, and "Paris in Spring," October, 1936, both by Maynard Owen Wil liams; also "Paris Freed," by Frederich Simpich, Jr., April, 1945.