Home > Personal Posts, Polar > What about a book blogger meeting at Quais du Polar?

What about a book blogger meeting at Quais du Polar?

I’ve been writing up my days at Quais du Polar for a few years now. Here are my billets from the 2017 edition (Days 1, Day 2, Day 3) For newcomers, what’s Quais du Polar? It’s a crime fiction festival organized in Lyon, France. During three days, the city celebrates crime fiction through conferences, signatures, exhibitions and games.

There’s a huge bookshop set up in the Chamber of Commerce. Only independent bookstores are allowed to have a stand and sell books there. They also host writers for book signings.

Interviews, conferences and meetings are scheduled all over the weekends in the Chamber of Commerce, in a nearby church, in the City Hall or at the 19th century Italian theatre. All gorgeous places.

A crime fiction game is organized in the city center: the participants have an investigation to do by walking around the city, looking for clues and solving enigmas. More information on the Quais du Polar web site.

This year, the festival will take place from April 6th to April 8th and I encourage you to come.

“Why should I come?”, you may wonder.

If you’re a crime fiction lover, it’s a great opportunity to meet writers. In 2017, they were more than 120 from 23 different nationalities! The atmosphere is relaxed, writers seem to have fun and to be happy to interact with readers. The French read a lot of crime fiction, they have a good public here. See here the list of writers for 2018.  (I suspect it’s still under construction and that more will join in.)

It’s also a chance to attend to conferences where writers interact with each other. For example, in 2017, I attended a meeting where Jo Nesbø, Arnaldur Indridason, Oliver Norek, Sara Gran, Deon Meyer and Craig Johnson discussed their recurring characters. How lucky we were to have them all on the same stage! They were as much impressed to be in each other’s company as we were to listen to them.

“But I don’t speak French!”, you may say.

Not a problem. All the conferences are translated into English. They hand you headsets at the entrance and a translator will translate everything live. The marvels of our modern ages.

“It’s expensive to go to such a festival”, you could rightfully object.

True. You have to fund transportation, lodgings and food.

I will just say that there are lots of low cost flights to Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport and lots of train arrive to La Part-Dieu station. You have a tram from the airport to the city center and then you’re good. All the major events of the festival are at walking distance. The conferences are free, there aren’t any entrance fees and you can attend as many as you want. For 30€, you can also become a member of Quais du Polar. You will receive a free book, a poster of the festival and you’ll have a card that will allow you to cut the lines to enter the conferences. Very useful.

Budget concerns are why I publish this billet this early: it’s easier to get cheap tickets.

“What’s in it for you if I come?”, you may ask

Nothing but the pleasure of your company. It’s a wonderful event I’d like to share with fellow book bloggers. This year, I thought I’d ask if anybody’s interested to come. We could meet up for diner, see each other in real life and spend a nice evening together around books.

And, last but not least: Lyon is in a festive mood for three days. It doesn’t attract as many visitors as the Fête des Lumières but 80 000 visitors are already a good score. Lyon is a beautiful city, the place where the cinema was invented, the city where Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born and where Frédéric Dard lived from 1929 to 1949. The city is worth seeing in itself.

Let me know if you’re interested, in the comments below, via Twitter at @Bookaround or by email at bookaroundthecornerATgmailDOTcom.

I’m just gathering intentions at the moment, to see if it’s a good idea or not. I hope some of you are tempted. 🙂

  1. January 4, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    I heartily recommend it to any crime fiction and book lovers! And the food and the architecture and history of the town are not to be sneered at either. I calculated it is cheaper to go to this festival than many of the UK ones (where you have to pay to attend the panels and events).
    You had almost convinced me to come, but then I realised that this year it clashes with my ski trip. I know that I won’t be far away, in the French Alps, but I just can’t come! Darn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2018 at 9:34 am

      Thanks for the PR work in this comment! 🙂
      I’m disappointed you won’t be there, we had a lot of fun last year. If there’s no snow, you know what to do!

      Liked by 2 people

      • January 5, 2018 at 9:27 pm

        Val Thorens is the last place for the snow to melt, so yes, if there is no snow there, we might as well all come to Lyon and have a great time there! It is such a shame the holidays clash this year!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. January 5, 2018 at 3:01 am

    I think it’s a great idea, but I can’t come.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 5, 2018 at 9:36 am

      Honestly, this post was aimed at bloggers who live in Western Europe. It’s too expensive otherwise.
      I wish you could attend, you’d love it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 5, 2018 at 11:46 am

        You never know … people in other parts of the world love to travel and to travel with a goal is the best kind of travel. I’d love to visit Lyon but unfortunately with crime not being my thing and a grandchild due this year (woo hoo) we will not be going far afield. I think this is lovely idea though Emma, and good on you for putting it out there.

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 6, 2018 at 11:12 am

          Thanks for your kind words and congratulations on becoming a grandma!!

          Liked by 2 people

      • January 6, 2018 at 6:27 pm

        I guessed that was your target audience

        Liked by 2 people

  3. January 5, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Sounds an amazing event but as much as I would love to visit Lyon I’m not going to be able to persuade my husband to come o a literary event just about crime and he’d only get jealous if I went alone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2018 at 11:16 am

      That’s too bad. There are a lot of things to do beside the crime fiction festival. All the museums are open and the Vieux Lyon is Crime Fiction free…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. January 5, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    I’d love to come but like others am unable too hope someone goes sounds interesting and I’d love to visit Lyon one day

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Thanks for your message Stu. Lyon is a lovely city to visit. Lots of history.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. January 6, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    I’ll be there. As you knew.

    We just led a group of Americans all over Lyon. We had New Years in Lyon. Lyon is so pleasant to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      Glad to know it’s confirmed. Did your American friends like their visit?

      PS: I recommend to subscribe to Quais du Polar to get the “laisser-passer”. It’s useful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 9, 2018 at 5:30 pm

        The Americans loved Lyon. We stuffed them with food and wine. Then we took them to Dijon, where we are now, where we stuffed them with different food and different wine. Happy times all around.

        Liked by 2 people

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