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In Good Company at Shakespeare and Co.

4.18.2014
Shakespeare and Company, Paris
Shakespeare and Company, Paris
Shakespeare and Company, Paris
Shakespeare and Company, Paris
Shakespeare and Company, Paris
Shakespeare and Company, Paris
Shakespeare and Company, Paris

It's an institution this storied bookstore on the Left Bank that I finally had a chance to visit... just across the street from Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company is not only a trove of new and used English language literature, but also an intimate reading space and temporary home to aspiring writers (in exchange for a few hours of work). Once inside, it feels you've intruded onto someone's cramped but much loved labyrinth of a library,... and you want nothing but to sit back and stay the day reading.

Originally named Le Mistral by the founder, the late American expatriate George Whitman, it was renamed Shakespeare and Company as a tribute to the original bookstore with the same utopian spirit established by Sylvia Beach in 1910, the one beloved by writers of the Lost Generation, including Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Weaving your way through the tiny rooms of wall-to-wall books, you can hear the whispers of all the souls that have passed through the space.

Shakespeare and Company has become an obligatory place to visit in Paris, one I'll be returning to often to appease my reading list. When visiting, do come right when it opens though... I took these photos a few minutes after, and as soon as I stepped back outside (after buying a used Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and Ernest Hemingway ON Paris), a large tour group had already begun to crowd the entrance.


Address: 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 (5th arrondisement)
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am - 11pm, Sun 11am-11pm


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23 comments

  1. I can't believe I've never visited during my many many trips to Paris! It's going to the top of my list for next time. Lovely images - I love the cat and the cherry blossoms!

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    1. I felt the same way Isabel! Hope you get a chance to go on your next trip. The resident cat, Kitty, belonged to George Whitman (and now helps run the shop with George's daughter, Sylvia :)

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  2. What an amazing place! I love books and bookstores .... :)

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    1. As a bibliophile, you'd love it! :)

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  3. I AM SO JEALOUS. But in a good way :-) When I went to Paris this was my first stop after the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe but it was closed for the holidays when I went :( Beautiful photos... make me feel like I am there.

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    1. Oh sorry to hear that MA. Just means you'll have to return to Paris! ... and knowing you and books, once inside Shakespeare and Co, you may likely stay a night...or two ;)

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  4. Such wonderful photos of a wonderful place. We spent many hours there with the kide each one going off in a different direction in the search of hidden treasures, The last time I went it was me and 3 busloads of tourists....Have a wonderful wekend!

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    1. Thank you so much Karen... I hope to go back with both my boys next time (bet they'd find it a fabulous place for hide-and-seek ;)

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  5. When I was in Paris, I didn't a chance to visit Shakespear and company. Shucks! Loved my visit with you and Shakespear. I do love books. Love the white cat! (Must be in a loving mood!) Happy Spring!

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    1. I hope you get a chance to visit next time you're in Paris... as a book lover, you'll certainly love it! Fortunately for me, "Kitty" the cat was happy to sit for a bit while I snapped photos of her :)

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  6. Lovely! Wish I had known about this when I visited Paris. Next time... :)

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  7. Oh, yes. A favorite for sure. I wish I had understood (in my younger years) the value of uninterupted wandering, cause I would have spent hours in this spot! Just shared on another blog that our "easter" dinner today...when the kids make it over later... will consist of baguette, chesses, corichons...steak, haricot and bernaise. These are, to this day, the tastes that feel the best to my little family! Again, thanks for the gift of my visit to Paris today!

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    1. Thank you Adrienne... I hope you had a wonderful Easter with your family! Your simple dinner makes me smile, simply because those are my favorite meals too. And at the moment, my son's favorite "dish" has become a jambon/fromage baguette from the corner boulangerie :) It's so wonderful to hear the traditions you formed when living in France have stayed with you years after...

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  8. Every single post is such a treat! Love seeing this storybook setting in your life!

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  9. I like the way the branches is the first shot point to the white cat by the white window. Looks like a nice place to visit.

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  10. I didn't have a chance to visit Shakespeare and Company the last time I was in Paris (so much to see, so little time). Thanks for letting me enjoy it vicariously through you. The place looks so charming, and I can almost imagine Hemingway brusquely going through the books.

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  11. I love iconic bookstores like this and with spring, what a wonderful time to be there - wish I could be there now!

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  12. i was there about 2 weeks ago, and so funny with the white cat. from our balcony on the third floor, we saw a white cat come out his window on the 6th floor. my goodness, i don't think i'd let my cat do that!

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  13. Love the European essence to your post ~ favorite photo is the apple blossom and the white cat ~ thanks, xoxo

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  14. Thank you so much for your very kind comments ladies and gentleman ;)

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  15. Love it! Paris is at the top of my list of places to go, and I'll definitely be spending many hours at Shakespeare & Co! Especially if the cat's still there :)

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  16. I absolutely love Shakespeare and Company - such a unique space. I wrote about my experience there as one of my 1st blog posts: http://www.melindalarson.com/2011/12/shakespeare-company.html#.U1a3reZdWYl

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    1. Really great post Melinda... it's wonderful Shakespeare and Co. sparked your blogging journey! By the way, I love your new blog design :)

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