The oldest and the only Greek library in Paris celebrated 30 years of existence on the weekend of June 1-2. Desmos Library (desmos=bond, in Greek) has dedicated its efforts to keep alive and strengthen the ties with Greece through literature, poetry and by spreading the Greek language, thanks to the tireless efforts of the library’s founder, Yannis Mavroeidakos.
Desmos is much more than just a bookstore; it is a publishing house, a literary magazine, a small school of Modern Greek courses, a gallery and a meeting point for Greeks and friends of Greece.
About 30 Greek contemporary poets have been translated by Desmos. In its article on May 28 for its 30 years, Le Monde estimated that, “The fact that about 200 Greek writers are translated every year in France, this is largely thanks to Desmos’ persistent work.”
Le Monde also noted, “A large number of Greeks and philhellenes were present on Sunday afternoon at number 14 of Vandamme Street in Montparnasse, Paris, where Desmos is located, to listen to Greek music from the band Rebetroika that closed the events.”
Mavroeidakos explained, “In the 80’s there was a very big interest in Greece and its culture. There was also a strong wish in the atmosphere for the existence of a place different from the Greek restaurants that had a weird folklore that people were starting to get bored of. So the idea for a bookstore was born, and the library finally opened in 1983.”