Sylvia Beach Whitman, the owner of Shakespeare And Company
James Joyce, Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier in the original Shakespeare & Company,1920
If you are on the hunt for an English bookstore in the City of Light. SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY is the one.
Shakespeare and Company is right in the middle of where you want to be on your first visit to Paris. Located at 37 rue de la Bucherie in 5th District. The nearest metro station is the Saint-Michel. It´s directly across the Seine from Notre Dame, in the Latin Quarter. And open for visit every day from noon until midnight.
This is where all the Bohemian Hipsters and Literary Giants have been coming for nearly a century to share ideas while seeing and being seen. You too, can become part of that history with a visit to Shakespeare and Company.
In 1951, American expat George Whitman opened his bookstore, then Le Mistral, with some of the books he had collected while a student at the Sorbonne. In 1964, Whitman changed it to Shakespeare And Company assuming the storied name from another American’s bookstore in Paris.
Today, Shakespeare and Company is owned and run by his daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman. Her father passed on the store to her in 2003. Three years later, George Whitman was awarded France’s Officier des Arts et Lettres in recognition of his contributions over many decades. He died in December, 2011, just two days after his 98th birthday, in his apartment above the bookstore.
The unique thing about this bookstore is that it still allows writers to stay the night for free in exchange for some helping out in the bookstore. There are 13 beds available for guests who can stay as long as they want.
The bookstore also hosts regular events, readings, workshops and festivals continuing its long-standing tradition of supporting artists in Paris.
It´s definetely a visit to put on your bucket list !