Shakespeare & Co: A Bookshop Worth Visiting Paris For
Walking along the bank of the River Seine between the Pont des Arts and Notre Dame several artists can be seen selling their work alongside novels by well known writers. This is truly a part of Paris that represents the artistic nature of the city.
The Latin Quarter, home to the Sorbonne University, seems like a fitting place for the creative amongst us. There is a relaxed cafe atmosphere where you can spend hours composing your next masterpiece or if you would prefer, simply people watching.
Great architectural works of art, including Notre Dame and the Pantheon, where Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Rene Descartes are buried, help to generate a relaxed environment where students can be found in the streets browsing the studios and local bookshops.
One English Language bookshop, however, seems to stand out, known by Parisians and tourists alike, it is the most famous bookshop in Paris. The Shakespeare and Company bookstore can be found at 37 rue de la Bucherie.
Why is the Shakespeare and Co Bookshop so Famous?
This shop is not the original bookshop of the same name founded by Sylvie Beach but has been opened to preserve its history. The initial building was devastated by fire causing the move to take place. It is believed that Hemingway and Joyce both spent time in the earlier shop adding to its history and that Beach finally agreed to support the publication of Joyce’s “Ulysses”, leading to worldwide success for the author. The bookshop continues to offer support to young writers and poets, allowing them to sleep over the shop in exchange for some hours work.
The maze of leaning shelves, piles of books from floor to ceiling, posters and comfy cushions all add to the somewhat quirky nature of the store. Add to this the rare books, the upstairs library that hosts readings and workshops along with a space for you to write at an authentically old desk overlooking Notre Dame, any book lover would be annoyed if they didn’t visit.
Shakespeare and Company has a long-standing tradition of opening its doors to aspiring writers and in keeping with this it seemed fitting for them to host the Paris Literary Prize Awards which is open to writers from around the world who have not yet published a book.
With all this in mind, and the fact that since the autumn of 2015 a literary cafe has also opened next door, a visit during your stay in Paris is a must.
Le Petit Chatelet is right next door to Shakespeare and Company; offering fantastic food – well worth a visit.
Have you visited Shakespeare & Co in Paris? What other bookshops would you recommend we seek out?