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.”
Yes, you can even find a volume of Shakespeare’s works here.
Words are valued here. You’ll find them on doorposts.
If you want to write a note of greeting, you can leave your own words on this wall.
Tribute is paid to the original store.
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.
Resident cat Aggie was napping in the sun when I arrived. I obeyed the sign that says not to disturb her.
When I came back through this area, she woke up and I got to massage her little chin. I have a feeling she claims this leather easy chair as her own.
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.
Then you emerge into the sunshine and there’s Notre-Dame and the river and a sidewalk café and life is good.
Wow!! That is so cool, I could spend hours there.
This looks like a dream come true for a bookwork like me!
Hoping you’ll come by and link up your photos at this week’s party. It’s the 250th weekly wordless linkup at image-in-ing:
It was very emotionally fulfilling to visit Shakespeare and Company. To know that Hemingway, Eliot, and Fitzgerald spent their days in Paris at the original bookstore.
Wow, I don’t think that I would be able to leave it. A new place to visit going on my bucket list.
What a find. Superb photos.
I am entranced! I thought I’d heard of it, but then realized I’d read about the original one. How charming, delightful, wonder-filled a place this is…I would want to stay all afternoon!
What a fantastic place and thanks for your photo tour of the Shakespeare Book shop ~ ^_^
(A Shutterbug Explores)
What an iconic bookstore! Great shots.
Would love to peruse this bookstore I’ve heard so much about one day! #CityTripping
What a fabulous treasure trove of a place
How did I miss this gem, guess I have to go back!
An amazing bookstore! I could get lost in there for hours!
I have seen the storefront of this book shop many times but I have never read its story or seen its interior. I love the attention you put into detail. Books are some of my favorite things and I like to see them in all sorts of conditions. Also, I like the notes about the piano and the cat. Seems like a very charming place (just like the stories in several books).
Aggie’s clearly a very clever cat! I haven’t had a chance to visit Shakespeare & Co when we’ve been in Paris recently – I’ll have to schedule it in. Great post – I came to it through #citytripping, but it would also be perfect for my own #CulturedKids if you’d like to join in! The linky goes live the first Friday of every month.
There’s nothing like wandering around an old bookstore, and one with as much history and character as this is even better. I visited long ago on a trip to Paris but haven’t made time to go back on my recent visits: very tempted to rectify that, what a lovely walk through its story. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
What a lovely tour around a bookshop I’d only heard about before. Hadn’t quite realised what a throughly charming place it is. Great photos!
I had actually missed the Shakespeare Company book shop when I was travelling in Paris back in 2011. I was too busy exploring Notre Dame Cathedral that I completely forgot about this little gem! 🙁 Great photos of the book shop – did you buy any books from the shop? #Citytripping
Yes, Kat! I bought Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast — seemed fitting to buy a book by Hemingway! I got it stamped with the store logo and also got a bookmark. It’s a souvenir I will treasure!
I’ve visited it too:) imagined myself living there:) but there was no cat at that time #farawayfiles
…what a fabulous place!
That looks like an awesome place. I love browsing in used bookstores as I never know what I’ll find.
That is so cool. I would love to go there.
The funny thing is that I did a blog on a famous bookstore in Berkeley of the same name, near the Cal campus http://csuhpat1.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-bards-favorite-bookstore.html. Sadly it closed in 2015 after 51 years.
Thanks for this.
Shakespeare & Company is one of my favourite bookshops. I always visit when I’m in Paris and I recently introduced my book loving son to it. He got so comfortable in one of its reading corners that he didn’t want to leave! Did you know that you can actually sleep in the bookshop – there are beds beneath the books upstairs. Aspiring writers can earn their bed by working for a few hours each day in the bookshop. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles
Hi, Clare! I did read that people can spend the night there. I didn’t know you can earn your bed by working in the store. What fun! Maybe your son can do that on one of your visits!
I’ve seen this bookstore in Paris. It’s charming, indeed. It was my brother-in-law’s favorite place every time he traveled to Paris. He took us thee too. #TheWeeklyPostcard
I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest Shakespeare fan when it comes to reading, but I don’t mind seeing the plays. What I do love is old historic buildings and this one seems very cool. I have also visited his birth place in the UK! Thanks for sharing #theweeklypostcard
This place is such a throw-back! That typewriter is everything. And the cat, of course. I’m always amazed at how such places have survived all these years, especially with the advent of e-books and Amazon. I’ve been to old bookstores like this in Quito and London and the owners are always the most friendly and knowledgeable. Hoping that this bookstore stays there for many more years to come!
What a gem! I have been here actually, on a business trip to Paris. Since I had my financial hat on at the time, I couldn’t help but marvel how such a place has survived despite what must be sky-high real estate rental prices in this part of Paris. Let’s hope that the financiers stay away and that this jewel of a bookshop remains just as it is for many decades to come! #CityTripping
Oh my! Your post title caught my eye and the photos drew me in…and I found a little virtual slice of paradise. LOVE, love, love book shops like this one!
We loved Shakespeare and Company – I took my daughter there on her 10th birthday and we bought a copy of Hamlet because her class in Copenhagen had just been to Kronborg Castle, which the Danes claim is Hamlet’s himself. I was too nervous to take pics in there though because of all the little signs that say – no photographs! Wish I had snuck a few! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin
This bookstore has been on my bucketlist since I was VERY young. I’ve been to Paris twice now and I still haven’t been! Your pictures are lovely, can’t wait to finally see it in person 🙂 #Farawayfiles
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