Everyone has heard of Shakespeare, but you don’t necessarily think of him first when you think of Paris. At least I don’t, having spent years living in London and significant time hanging out in Paris over the years.
In 1951, George Whitman decided to open a bookstore that would be a sanctuary for writers, aspiring writers and artists and called it Shakespeare+Company. It has since grown from a bookstore into an institution and is known around the world.
The bookstore is located on 37 Rue de la Bucherie and they are open every day all day. The location couldn’t be more ‘romantic,’ situated in the heart of Paris on the Left Bank opposite Notre-Dame in the Latin Quarter, which is where I stayed during my last trip over in December.
They have various book readings and workshops and you can apparently crash for the night if you’re a writer or aspiring one in exchange for a write-up or something to that effect.
I often meander into the bookstore whenever I go to Paris, mainly depending on where I spend most of my time on that particular trip.
Last trip, I spent very little time in the Latin Quarter or the Marais and this time, I spent most of my time there and didn’t venture north to Montmartre or south to any of the burbs once.
I always find the place charming and the books are….yes, in English, which is odd to browse through when everything and everyone else around you is in French.
Of course, when I’m there, I want to practice my French and yet, I am always intrigued to see what is on the Shakespeare and Company’s shelves at any given time. And it’s not just the books themselves, but the ambiance/atmosphere.
The shop is a mishmash of everything really….just have a look. From vertical and horizontal cases to books propped up on top shelves protruding to the ceiling, the place is eclectic, charming, disorganized and organized all at the same time. If you travel to Paris, this is a must-stop even if you’re not a writer. The below photos should captivate you enough to make an extra trip.
Yes, there’s even an upstairs. While the below shot may be grainy, you get the idea. It’s charming.