When French-born Laure Le Cloarec (29) came to Leipzig in 2012, she fell in love with the city. She was already in love with Gemany, land of opportunities for this young and ambitious Parisienne. On top of that, she also fell in love with a true Leipziger. So Laure is here to stay. Her very own international book shop Polylogue is to be her future.
Laure studied French Literature, because of her love for French and for books. For many years, she also took classes in German, both in school and at the university. This stemmed from a profound interest in the language and the country. But even after ten years of lessons, she felt like she could never truly learn to speak and understand this foreign language, unless she immersed herself in it. So she became an Erasmus student in Mainz, doing an extra major in Cultural Management.
France or Germany?
Having completed her Masters, Laure realised that the charming Gutenbergstadt Mainz was too small for her ambitions. So she moved back to Paris. But there, the conclusion was that life in the French capital is tough and incredibly expensive. Also, her ability to speak German fluently was fading fast. Back to Germany she wanted to go!
She applied to all 11 Instituts français in the country, and Leipzig was the first one to respond. She got accepted as an intern. After her internship, Laure worked at the institute’s French library for a while. Meanwhile, she kept looking for job opportunities in Leipzig. Eventually, she obtained a position at Lingolía, an online language learning platform, where she is responsible for the French section. But Laure also had a dream…
Love is all
When you love books and literature so madly and deeply, you want to share this with other people. In most book shops in Leipzig Laure could not find any interesting French, Italian or Spanish books. She started fantasising about the perfect international book store. Because Lingolía offered her financial stability and she didn’t have too many other responsibilities – besides her own happiness and a fulfilling relationship with her boyfriend – she decided to go for it.
Laure began doing research in 2015, a long and arduous process of figuring out rules & regulations, the size of her potential market, finding a location and funding, finding out how and where to import books, etc. She gave it all her energy, and finally she succeeded.
In June 2016, Polylogue opened.
It is situated in the fast developing Merseburger Straβe in Plagwitz. And it is doing well. Some of her clients have become true ambassadors and keep bringing new people to the shop.
“But there is always room for improvement,” Laure says “I gave and give it a lot of energy. I trust that the universe will hear me.”
At Polylogue, books are available in four languages: French, English, Spanish and Italian. Indeed, German isn’t one of them. Also, no translated books can be found there, only original language editions; but they can be ordered.
Furthermore, Laure wants to be able to recommend each book from personal experience. All titles in her shop are either read by her, or by one of the members of her literature team. English by Tom Wynne (US), Spanish by Beatriz Medina (ES), Italian by Roberta Gado and Anna Costalonga (IT).
More than books
Laure’s dream is not just a book store, it is a café too. She has made it into a cosy and international place where people can meet and talk. And not just about literature.
There are living room style seats where she serves coffee & tea, beer & wine. For children, there is a separate kid’s corner. Together with her team, Laure also organises lectures, book club evenings, conversation classes, debates, workshops and reading events for children. She is always open for more ideas that connect people, languages and cultures.
So LeipGlo polyglots, onwards and upwards to Polylogue…?! Have a look on their website for opening hours and more info.