Imagine yourself for a moment on board a luxury barge, cruising gently along a serene canal or river in rural France, such as the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy or the River Marne in Champagne. You lounge on the deck as the vine-covered landscape passes by. In one hand, a chilled glass of local wine, in the other, a captivating novel about love, loss, literature and adventure. If this sounds like your ideal holiday, look into our luxury hotel barge cruises through France – but not before picking up a copy of The Little Paris Bookshop to take with you.
Our passengers love how each cruise with us offers a range of experiences and excursions, but they also equally appreciate the chance to relax on the sun-drenched deck with a good book. In between exploring medieval towns and descending into ancient wine cellars for private wine tastings, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to unwind with a novel as your barge takes you deep into the countryside. One of our top recommended reads this summer takes place against the backdrop of one of France’s most iconic waterways, the River Seine. Maybe that’s why we just couldn’t put it down!
The Little Paris Bookshop, a novel by Nina George, centres around Jean Perdu, a Parisian bookseller who has been mourning the departure of his lover, Manon, twenty-one years earlier. In his grief, Jean devotes himself to his bookstore, the Literary Apothecary, which is housed within a barge docked on the Seine. Jean specialises in literary remedy – literally. His great gift is diagnosing his customers’ emotional ills – fear, disappointment, boredom – and selecting the appropriate literature to assuage it.
Things take a turn when Jean meets Catherine, a broken-hearted young woman to whom he gifts a desk and a stack of books. Catherine discovers an unopened letter from Manon inside the desk, which reveals the tragic truth of her departure. The letter sets off a journey of epic proportions, as Jean unmoors the Literary Apothecary and sets off along the river. Along the way, he meets many lost souls searching for their own answers. Each of them has something to teach Jean.
As you follow Jean along the River Seine, you might find yourself reflecting on your own journey – that’s the power of a good book. When you’re packing for your hotel barge cruise, don’t forget to slip a copy of Nina George’s delightful novel into your suitcase. It may be just the literary remedy the apothecary ordered.