23 octobre 2021

“Find everything from the book”: old bookstore in Somail

Known throughout France, the bookstore “Le Trouve Tout du Livre”, also called the “Somail” is located in a small port on the Canal du Midi between the countries of Minervois and Narbonnais, 12 km from Narbonne (Aude) between the D 607 and the D610 in the hamlet of Somail,

Installed since 1980 in an old cellar, there are 50,000 books of all kinds, all themes, dating from the 17th century to the present day, magazines, engravings and posters, and 3 times more in reserve, accumulated on several levels ranging from up to the ceiling, offered to readers, tourists and writers. The bookstore was created in 1960 in Paris to provide a research service and mail order books. Wishing to expand and change the environment, the Gourgues family who ran the establishment left to settle in Aude, in Somail.

René Depeste, Prix Renaudot 1986 spoke about the bookstore’s guestbook, he compared “the canal water to the source of the books in the bookstore where everyone comes to drink.”

Important dates for Somail:

  • 1980 Acquisition of an old cellar of nearly 1,000m2 on the ground
  • 1981 Partial opening of the bookstore (around 10,000 books)
  • 1990 Transformation of the reserve and expansion of the bookstore, Construction of a mezzanine. A choice of 30,000 books is offered to the public.
  • 1997 Death of Raymond Gourgues. Anne-Marie and Nelly continue the heavy task of succeeding him.
  • 1998 Expo “Childhood memories”
  • 2000 Festival and exhibition on song, with the friendly participation of Les Croquants.
  • 2005 Celebration of the 25th anniversary of the bookstore in Somail: Expo on the theme of Authors and Publishers Audois and Animation week with:
    Reading with the Association “Cépages d’Encre” of Olonzac (34)
    French songs with “Bretelle et Garance”
    “Physico-comic” conference on the “Bing-Bang” by and with Norbert Aboudaram
  • 2006 On the Port of Somail, the theater truck of “La Fabrique des Petites Utopies” from Grenoble is deployed which presents “Lack” according to Sarah Kane. They host other Artists for a week, including “Le Théâtre de l’Entresort” by Gruissan (a play on the life of Sarah Bernhardt) with Mireille Huchon and Bernard Laborde. Then a story by the “Théâtre Avant-Quart” in Lézignan and a nice Jazz evening, with “Simply Jazz” …
  • 2007 Expo on wine-growing events and the 1907 winegrowers’ revolt and presentation of books, newspapers and documents on this period. Film-video by Mr Déquence.
  • 2008 Exhibition on the centenary of Simone de Beauvoir (presentation of her works)
    Exhibition on A. Robbe-Grillet and the new novel.
    Exhibition on Max Rouquette, and regional authors.
  • 2010 Exhibition for the 50th anniversary of Trouve Tout du Livre and the 30th anniversary at Somail on book-objects and artists’ books
  • 2020 Exhibition in preparation on funny and surprising books for the 60th anniversary of Trouve Tout du Livre and the 40th anniversary of the Somail bookstore.

Le Somail is also a floating grocery store, in yellow and green colors, “le Tamata” in the heart of the historic village. Held on a Dutch barge, it has been in existence for twenty years and offers breads, croissants served fresh, wines, cold drinks, ice creams as well as selected regional products that can also be tasted on site. You can also go for walks by bike, mountain bike, boat, boat or sail on the Capitane, a replica of a 19th century barge with various route possibilities: to the Château de Ventenac or the discovery of the works of art such as the Cesse canal bridge or the Patiasses spout (from June 16 to September 15).


Nelly Gourgues

28 allée de la Glacière
11120, Le Somail, France
Phone: 04 68 46 21 64
E-mail: finds.tout.livre@wanadoo.fr


From April 1 to Nov 14: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

From December 1 to March 31: We are only open in the afternoons from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Holidays from Nov 15 to 30, Christmas, New Year’s Day

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