Shakespeare and Company is a delightful bookstore tucked into a street that borders the Seine in Paris, right across from Notre-Dame. Modeled on its namesake opened in 1919 close by in Paris, this store began in 1951. The building was originally a monastery that dates back to the early 1600s.
The first Shakespeare and Company served as a gathering place for the English writers such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Eliot, Pound, and Joyce. The current bookstore has hosted its own share of famous authors: Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Anaïs Nin, William Styron, Henry Miller, William Saroyan, James Jones, and James Baldwin.
When you enter the doors of this literary institution, you feel immediately at home in this place of floor to ceiling books and cozy chairs. You can meander through the maze of rooms. As the sign outside says, “This store has rooms like chapters in a novel.”
Exploring the nooks and crannies of Shakespeare and Company, you’ll discover not only books but also plants, mirrors, and even a piano that you are invited to play. A stack of sheet music is balanced atop the fragile keyboard.
When you purchase a book, it’s stamped with the store’s logo and you have a wonderful souvenir of your time in this Parisian treasure, a place to commune with writers old and new, to be a part of those who value ideas and words and the world.
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