Lire en français : 🇫🇷
Or a jump to old times
There’s a place in Paris in which one does not feel like being in Paris anymore. This place, it’s Shakespeare and Company. It was opened by Silvia Beach on the left bank of the Seine of Saint-Michel, near Notre-Dame in the 1920s. Sylvia Beach was one of the many American immigrants who left the United States in the Roaring Twenties so as to live a bohemian life in Paris and to share their artistic work. This is precisely for what purpose that Sylvia Beach opened Shakespeare and Company in the first place. Very soon, it became a must-see: the writer came to ask Sylvia Beach to introduce them to an other group and a person in particular… The very famous Gertrude Stein in her apartment in the 27 rue de Fleurus.
In Shakespeare and Co, you will find numerous books, most of which are old and second-hand. In addition, there are also sofas, chairs and even mattresses so that you could seat and read. It has kept all its 1920s look: this is a place to meet and read or talk with friends or strangers. It is as touristic as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvres. You cannot go to Paris and not pass by the Shakespeare and Company bookshop. This is probably the most Anglophone place in Paris as even the people who work there do not speak a word of French. If you do not speak English you would better not go there because you will be completely lost (books are also only in English).
However, at the same time, I would really advice you to go there if you just want a peaceful and very inspiring place to work or read your own books. This is very confortable and enjoyable. Yet, there are some times when there are too many people because yes: this place is very successful and attracts many curious people. Not everyone ends up buying books but it’s worth the visit. You really feel like you’re visiting a special place, an old house where so many writers had passed by, it’s like a free antique museum.
This place used to inspire people such as Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliott or even Ernest Hemingway among many others! They came in and discussed about art together. Hemingway even mentioned the place in his book A moveable feast. Therefore, why wouldn’t it inspire you too? It may wake the writer or the artist or both in you… It sure did for them and even today for many others.
So, if you’re a foreign and you come to Paris, you have to take a few minutes or even an hour to visit the place (you will have the chance to be near Notre-Dame and Saint-Michel and you won’t loose anything anyway). But if you already live in Paris, you have to pass by the Shakespeare and Company bookshop. It’s a little hidden by the café next to it and a little tree because it’s quite small but that only makes it even more lovely and intimate. To goes there you can take the RER B or C (Saint-Michel Notre-Dame stop) or the ligne 4 of the subway (Saint-Michel stop) and several buses (21, 27, 38, 47 and 85). This is probably the most vintage and charismatic place one would find in the City of Lights. And geographically, it is in the most beautiful and lovely place of paris. Thus, have a magical moment as you jump back to a peaceful Roaring Twenties!
The pictures do not belong to me.