Shakespeare and Company is probably the most photographed bookstore in all of Paris.
Located along the left bank of the Seine, directly across from Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company was founded in 1919 by Sylvia Beach and quickly became a place for writers to gather. Joyce, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and many others were all known to hang out in Sylvia’s store and borrow her books.
In addition to owning the store, Beach was also an author and publisher. She famously published James Joyce’s Ulysses when no other publisher would. Though the current incarnation and location is an offshoot of the original, it has tried to maintain the spirit of its predecessor.
Throughout the store, there are several beds squeezed between shelves that were used by struggling writers and artists throughout the store’s history. Beds have famously been offered to travelers who can’t afford a hotel, in exchange for helping out.
It’s encouraged to sit around the store and read. In fact, it’s required for some titles, as several of the rooms contain books that aren’t for sale, and in order to read them, you must remain in the store.
Oftentimes, there are seminars, lectures, and readings that take place. Just like in Sylvia Beach’s original, Shakespeare and Company which has become more than just a store, but a gathering place for writers, readers, and artists alike.
Shakespeare and Company
37 Rue Bûcherie
75005 Paris, France
01 43 25 40 93