781 Fulham Road, SW6
A deliciously idiosyncratic bookshop on the Fulham Road, close to Parsons Green tube on the district line. Pauline is one of the part time staff, an ex-librarian who knows just about everything there is to know about books, and someone who has contributed fully to the life of this Anglo-French emporium. The first thing you may encounter is the reception bell by the main desk, if it is not staffed. On this occasion Pauline was deep in the catacombs of the shop through two other rooms, but soon emerged when she heard the politely tapped summons.
The woman who runs the shop and has done for many years is Aude Bolechala, a French woman, who has made the shelves access literature in both French and English, both children’s and adults. Aude likes ‘edgy fiction’ which accounts for the generous and multifarious display of fictional subject matter. The shop is bright with large windows, opposite a Parisian Estate Agents (Breteuil) and the feel of this section of Fulham Road if you’ve never passed through it, is very much of the Gallic dominion. This is reflected in the classy spaciousness of the displays and the subtle omniscient colours around the shelves and units.
There is a monthly bookclub, always oiled with a decent selection of wines. The Lycée Français Ecole Marie D’Orliac is close by, but the selection, whilst embracing the French oeuvre, is fully supportive of modern English literature and the classics, and particularly vibrant in its children’s book section. It was shortlisted for the Individual Bookseller Of The Year prize for 2019, which was sponsored by Harper Collins and hosted at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday 13th May, but narrowly beaten by Waterstones. The reach of the place was such that when I decamped to the coffee shop further up the road, two women were discussing their afternoon, and one said, “We mustn’t forget Nomad. I always like to reserve an hour for browsing there or the afternoon never feels complete.”
Address: 781 Fulham Road, SW6
Phone number: 020 7736 4000
Nearest tube station: Parsons Green
Buses: 14, 414, 424