If you have been to Paris, whether you are a book lover or not, you must have visited Shakespeare and Company bookstore near St-Michel. Oh you haven’t? Well you should.
As an ode to Sylvia Beach, an American expat who established the first Shakespeare and Company during the 1920s, George Whitman opened up his own store in 1951. For 60 years George worked tirelessly to ensure that Shakespeare and Company remains not only a venerable independent bookshop, but also a renowned Left Bank cultural institution and a home-away-from-home for many thousands of writers and visitors from around the world. In 2006 he was awarded the Officier des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of Culture for his lifelong contribution to the arts.
Being a confirmed book lover myself, I made sure to go check this legendary bookstore during my last trip to Paris, and I was not disappointed.
The moment you step into the bookstore, you feel like you’re going back in time to an age where books were considered as treasures. You feel like going into a sanctuary. Every item in this bookstore belongs to a previous era: an old chair, a writing machine, an old phone, a piano… Everything in there breathes history.
Next to the first boutique, there is a second one called “Shakespeare and Co Antiquarian books” where rare books – including many first editions – are showcased.
Pictures are not allowed inside. Here are some photos I found online:
Shakespeare and Company has been featured in many articles about the most beautiful bookstores in the world. I really hope that modernization won’t reach this place.