Shakespeare & Company
If you are an American or a Brit in Paris then you probably know about this place but I’m going to blog about it anyway because, hey, beautiful things should be talked (or written) about right?
Shakespeare and Company is the most adorable bookshop that one could possibly imagine. Hidden behind some trees opposite Notre Dame (with a view to die for), it contains all manner of books: old classics, new favourites and some obscure ones thrown in between.
You can find more about the history of the store here but it was founded by a wonderful American called George Whitman in honour of the original Shakespeare and Company where great authors like Ernest Hemingway used to write.
I created this bookstore like a man would write a novel, building each room like a chapter, and I like people to open the door the way they open a book, a book that leads into a magic world in their imaginations. —George Whitman
As you walk into the tiny little crammed shop the smell of fresh books (a personal favourite of mine) sets a kind of magic in the air. There are books literally everywhere you look; bookshelves stretched back into little passages, shelves upon shelves holding the weight of paper. As you wander through the shop there is a staircase that you can meander up, with images of famous writers painted on the wall in a quirky cartoon style.
Upstairs a typewriter sits on a desk in front of the window. In the next room there is a piano that anyone can play, and I often hear melodies floating through the air. Beds line the walls and the books up here are part of a lending library: you are invited to pull one down, get comfortable and start reading.
Unfortunately they have a strict no photography rule on the inside so you’ll have to take my word for how wonderful it is, but next time you’re headed to Paris it’s definitely a place to stop and have a browse. Book lovers will feel like they are returning to a long lost home; the haven of stories embracing them in it’s grasp.
If could afford all the books inside I would surely buy them, but for now I had to settled for three. It’s time to put the kettle on and hunker down for a good read.