JOU_CH_LIBR_01 It was almost 6.30 pm in Lausanne and we were about to have dinner in Melissa’s favorite restaurant. We were passing through a tunnel from Place de la Palud to this big square, called Place de la Louve. The square was surrounded by old buildings with pretty windows and balconies. Most of the windows were decorated with colorful flowers which captivated me and one drew my full attention.

JOU_CH_LIBR_02In front of me, there was a big arched window with old books displayed behind the glass. I came into the store immediately and found piles of rare and old books. JOU_CH_LIBR_03 Many books were wrapped up in hand-made bindings. JOU_CH_LIBR_04Traditional typography arrangement, which consists of letters and decadent ornaments were often seen on the covers of these old books.

JOU_CH_LIBR_06Just when I was about to leave, I saw a door that connected to a bigger room with many more books. JOU_CH_LIBR_07Inside there were other doors that connected to another rooms. JOU_CH_LIBR_05I was immediately drawn into this heavenly maze of books like a child in a toy store.

JOU_CH_LIBR_11I put down my bag hastily and examined every corner until I found my corner to dream. JOU_CH_LIBR_10That little corner was filled with English books and equipped with a single chair and a small ladder which invited me to indulge myself in these literary treasures.JOU_CH_LIBR_12

JOU_CH_LIBR_09In the middle of the piled and organized books, I spotted a number of intaglio prints of the city. Intaglio is a traditional printing method that uses an engraved metal plate. The engraved plate is then covered with ink and wiped. Paper is placed on the plate and compressed, so the remaining ink in the engraved plate is transferred to the paper.

JOU_CH_LIBR_14The book shop has been operating for 26 years. Emanuel Landolt, the owner, took over the shop from his retired boss three years ago. JOU_CH_LIBR_13Emanuel, who is currently working on his PHD thesis on late Soviet philosophy, wants to keep the shop in its original condition. He likes the old formula and has no intention of changing it. His goal is only to get more interesting books which he usually buys from inheritors who ask him to evaluate books of their late relatives. As le grand tour ended, I stepped outside to the cobblestoned square and brought along a book about Eugene Grasset, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and Orwell’s Animal Farm. JOU_CH_LIBR_08I left the shop with curiosity and a hope that someday I could go back.

JOU_CH_LIBR_15My day in Lausanne ended nicely with a book-reading performance in front of Librairie de la Louve. Backed by a cello, flute and piano players, the story-teller sang and told the story in a very delightful and quirky manner. Like Emanuel said, Lausanne is a small town in one of the most beautiful countries in the world that proposes a huge offer of cultural possibilities. I could not agree more. Lausanne instantly made it into the list of my favorite cities.

Librairie de la Louve 
Place de la Louve 3,
Lausanne,
Switzerland
+41 2131210 51  

– Myra Bianda

JOU_CH_LIBR_16Photos by Melissa Sunjaya.