Situated off this Provençal village’s main square, Le Thé dans l’Encrier serves as the sole bookshop to 1,100 inhabitants and myriad tourist
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Situated off this Provençal village’s main square, Le Thé dans l’Encrier serves as the sole bookshop to 1,100 inhabitants and myriad tourists.
The shop’s name translates as “tea in the inkwell”, referring to the homemade refreshments it serves throughout the day. Customers who come in looking for a good read often stay for a glass of wine, others who came for a tarte tatin will walk out with the latest literary sensation. Somehow they all fit into the three tiny, shelf-lined rooms.
Owners Christophe and Mapie Lamy (pictured) talk about their books in the same way that local farmers might talk up their produce at Lourmarin’s weekly market. They know the origin of every book (Mapie chooses them herself); Christophe can recommend a publishing house like others can a trusted vegetable stand.
“The easy thing would be to fill the shelves with whatever publishers send us. But we prefer to make our own selection, so that the shop reflects our passions, and those of our customers,” says Mapie, as her children come in for their afternoon goûter with friends.
Both the food and the books reflect local connections – Henri Bosco and Albert Camus are buried in the nearby cemetery – as well as influences from further afield. The shop also provides free wi-fi, the village’s only internet café. So it’s not all quaint Provençal living – though it is that, too.