Festival du Livre de Paris at the Grand Palais Ephémère

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

After being shuttered for two years, Paris’ re-branded book fair, now the Festival du Livre de Paris, is to return on the Champ-de-Mars in the French capital.

A view of the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris, November 18, 2021. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Olivier Djiann

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Exhibitor Rentals Open February 1
The clear hope in many markets of world publishing is that by springtime, the anticipated retreat of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic omicron variant will support in-person trade show and book fair events, albeit potentially downsized for safety.

In line with this the French publishers’ association, the Syndicat national de l’édition (SNE), has announced dates of April 22 to 24 for its Festival du Livre de Paris (previously known as the Salon du Livre Paris), and a unique venue—the Grand Palais Ephémère—the French capital’s temporary exhibition center in the Champ-de-Mars between the Eiffel Tower and the École Militaire. The structure, designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, is a 10,000-square-meter space created to house shows during renovations of the Grand Palais for the 2024 Olympics.

The “ephemeral” event space opened in June after being assembled in three months’ time, and is reported to be a structure that can be re-established in the future if needed to stand in for another landmark closed for work. The Grand Palais itself is reported to have been the site of the original Salon du Livre Paris some 40 years ago.

The festival—primarily a public-facing event—ran in to the pathogen’s upheaval of international publishing events’ plans, and was canceled in its 2020 and 2021 iterations.

This year’s edition is to have a guest-of-honor-style showcase of India’s literary life in recognition of the 75th anniversary of Indian independence. It’s also touting the familiar mix of author appearances and readings, workshops for children, musical events, and “a pluralist, daring program.”

Taking advantage of this chance to be seated in the seventh arrondissement, organizers are developing plans for festival attendees to explore the surroundings.

Perhaps of use in getting festival-goers into the safety of fresh air, there’s to be a series of “literary wanderings,” guided tours offered by publishers through parts of Paris. In terms of international content, there also are to be opportunities for “the public to go on a trip to a dozen embassies in Paris,” presumably something arranged in consultation with those embassies’ security forces. The point of the embassy visits is to “celebrate emblematic authors or new writers” from a dozen markets outside of France.

Exhibitor interest is being registered now for the show—rentals to begin February 1—with “fully furnished spaces” designed “for everyone, modular and reusable.”

Professional attendees are to have access to “small lounges” for meetings and other amenities including bookselling and sales transaction support.

The program is organized by SA Paris Livres Evénements, which is a subsidiary of the publishers’ association SNE. Its general manager this  year is Jean-Baptiste Passé and Marie-Madeleine Rigopoulos is serving as artistic director.

A promotional rendering of the setup for part of the Festival du Livre de Paris at the Grand Palais Éphémère. Image: SNE

The Coronavirus in France

As reported by Samantha Lock for The Guardian, France on Tuesday (January 18) reported 464,769 new COVID-19 infections in 24 hours’ time–”the highest ever single-day tally recorded since the start of the pandemic, per Reuters’ reporting.

With such records being set in France and other parts of the European Union despite increasingly heavy spread-mitigation efforts, it’s understood that B.1.1.529, the omicron variant, is still cresting. “This pandemic is nowhere near over,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Tuesday in Geneva in widely reported comments.

At this writing, the 5:21 a.m. ET (1021 GMT) update of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center sees France as No. 2 in the world behind the United States when ranked by new cases on a 28-day rolling basis.

Those cases (28 days) come to 5,466,381 in France’s population of 67.3 million, with 5,698 fatalities.

During the full run of the pandemic, France has reported a total 14,284,905 cases and 128,629 deaths.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the French market is here, more from us on bookselling is here, and more on book fairs is here.

More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.