Paris in July 2022: Day 8: La Grande Librairie

Paris in July 2022 (Bigger Sunset)

Paris in July 2022
Co-hosted by Readerbuzz and Thyme For Tea

Day 8
La Grande Librairie

Yesterday evening, I watched the 500th episode of La Grande Librairie – you need a VPN to watch this French TV program in its entirety if you do not live in France. But you an watch parts of it on YouTube.

La Grande Librairie is unique and maybe quite characteristic of France: worldwide, it is the ONLY weekly literary program that airs at prime time on a regular TV channel (France 5)!
And each episode lasts around 1H30 minutes!
It actually lasted longer yesterday for two reasons: it was the 500th episode, and it was the last one hosted by François Busnel.

It was created by Busnel in 2008, in the long tradition of radio and then TV literary programs hosted by the remarkable Bernard Pivot (referred to yesterday by Busnel as “the boss”) – he is now 87.

Every week then since 2008, Busnel has been inviting 4 authors or so to talk about a theme, related to their books.
Yesterday, there were MANY authors, and the question was, which book has made you who you are today- more as a person than as an author? Great question in the first place and then the answers were fantastic and broad reaching, from French classics to more recent world literature.

I said it was the last episode hosted by Busnel. Indeed, he recently announced he was no longer going to present the program, but still direct it in the wings, in order to focus on other literary adventures, like for instance producing literary documentaries (he recently did one on Jim Harrison).

La Grande Librairie will restart in September (they always take the Summer off, they are French, remember, lol) and hosted then by Augustin Trapenard, who has also been hosting literary programs on radio.

If you understand French, you can also search on YouTube for La Grande Librairie, or Bernard Pivot, François Busnel, or Augustin Trapenard to listen to great excerpts of their programs.

It was a very emotional episode, with many tributes to Busnel, and as usual, an amazing tribute to reading, to books, to authors, to editors, to booksellers, and to translators – yes, translators were named!!

There are not many things that make me proud of being French, but this is definitely one of them.

Which book has made you who you are today?


21 thoughts on “Paris in July 2022: Day 8: La Grande Librairie

  1. The French cultural programming is impressive, and I respect it. But sometimes they overdo the self-congratualations a bit. They know how great they are, and how superior to the stupid Americans. Well, that’s true, but…

    best… mae at


    • Amen! Your comment suddenly made me curious. I see the audience goes from 304, 000 people (the lowest, which sounds already pretty good to me) to the highest record: 946,000 viewers – a program in December 2017 on Jean d’Ormesson


    • For some videos, you can get automatic translations, and usually it actually gives you a good idea of the content, but the Captions feature is closed on these. There may be another way to do it, especially when you cannot turn Captions ON, but I don’t know how. If someone knows, please tell us!


  2. Sounds wonderful. One American literary program I’ve enjoyed is the Book Lust podcast by Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl, where she interviews contemporary authors. But I’ve gotten away from listening to podcasts lately, too busy!

    I don’t know about the US as a whole but Seattle had a great literary culture when I lived there, with excellent bookstores, librarires, readings, lectures, etc. It’s changed a lot, so I don’t know how it is now…


    • Yes, American public libraries do an awesome job (way better than French public libraries!). Not so much on TV, and TV channels available to all.
      Yes, there are lots of literary podcasts for sure, from the US and England that I know of, at least.
      I have a hard time personally listening to podcasts though, I feel it takes away time I can use to listen to the books themselves.


  3. Pingback: Sunday Post #61 – 7/10/2022 | Words And Peace

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