John Adams

France: A bookish haven for Americans in Paris

PARIS — Charles Trueheart, the director of the American Library in Paris, picked through the shelves in his office and withdrew a surprisingly well-preserved June 1922 edition of the long-gone literary magazine the Smart Set.

The cover touted a short story debuting in that issue: "A Diamond as Big as the Ritz" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

That Trueheart can easily lay his hands on a journal roughly contemporaneous with the Paris expat years of one of America's leading writers is appropriate, because the American Library is a living, thriving link to the literary love affair that many Americans have had with the French capital.

More than that, it is a gathering place...