It all started when…
Kim and I rented a third-floor walk up at 110 rue de Bac in the 7th arrondissement in Paris. It was a gorgeous place overlooking the gardens of a seminary school and within minutes walk to the Eiffel Tower and the Rodin Museum. But our French was terrible and unbeknownst to us, we were living in one of the more expensive districts. By the end of the month, we were aching for a book written in English. And so, after a little bit of searching, we found Tea & Tattered Pages, a tiny little bookstore and tea room on rue Mayet, run by Madame Hilda.
The strange quaintness is best described by David Naimon:
Books are everywhere in various states of wear, shoe-horned into shelves, amassed in piles by your feet, piled in plastic crates, mounded by the spiral staircase that leads to the store’s second room of books in the basement. […]
With a preponderance of used, mass-market fiction you probably won’t find that book by Aimee Bender or Steve Millhauser you were looking for. But, oddly, the individual books were less the point for me. It was the comfort of being surrounded by books en masse, as if being held by them in that tiny space, that compelled. When we visited we were the only ones there. Classical music wafted atop the dusty air as we made our way to the little tea room in back. Even here the place is stuffed with books. And from here you can while away the hours with the book of your choice, some English tea, a piece of fruit cake, and Ming Luong, the resident orange cat, who we found stretched out asleep on one of the chairs, half-hidden by the table cloth.
Inspired by the disheveled place that felt like home, Kim and I started a blog where we paired teas with books. The blog didn’t last long, and Madame Hilda has since passed and the bookstore closed, but for some reason it still captures my heart.
And so here we are, Tattered Press, formerly Tea & Tattered Pages, a small little press that went through some intense growing pains, but is here nonetheless.