Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, Paris


Shakespeare and Company is an independent bookstore located in the Latin Quarter which for centuries has been the center of Parisian creativity and intelligentsia.

Originally established in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, in the 1920s the bookstore was a gathering place for writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, William S. Burroughs, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford. Shakespeare and Company serves as both a bookstore and a reading library, specializing in English-language literature. The current store is named after and in honor, of the earlier store which closed during World War II.

In 1951, another English-language bookstore was opened in Paris’s Left Bank by an American George Whitman, under the name of Le Mistral. Much like the original Shakespeare and Company, the bookstore served as a focal point for literary culture in Bohemian, Left Bank Paris. The bookstore’s name was then changed to Shakespeare and Company.

George Whitman calls the bookstore “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore”. Since 1951, the bookstore has stubbornly kept its utopian ideals in a changing world. Many who knew the store back in their youth return as adults to find an institution that has not been altered by the passing years.

George Whitman’s daughter, Sylvia, now runs the shop. The store continues to operate at rue de la Bûcherie, near Place St. Michel and steps from the Seine River and Notre Dame and the Île de la Cité.

Regular events that are ongoing in the bookstore are Sunday tea, poetry readings and writers’ meetings.


written by lihooi on 2011-08-05 #places #bookstore #europe #location #writer #paris #france #select-type-of-location #art-and-culture #shakespeare-and-company


  1. kiteflyin
    kiteflyin ·

    Nice article. It sounds and looks like a nice place to hang around.

    This shop was on the Craig Ferguson show last night, too.

  2. baijiu89
    baijiu89 ·

    haha lihooi ive been there too!

  3. lihooi
    lihooi ·

    thanks @kiteflyin !! :)
    arrr @baijiu89.. how cool!! miss you!! :)

  4. luthien
    luthien ·

    Oh my! I would really love to go there some day

  5. nicx
    nicx ·

    Mmmmm... books!

  6. sarah-addison-dobard
    sarah-addison-dobard ·

    I make it a point to go here anytime I visit. It's amazing how many people from all over the world have walked through the same green doors I have, and will continue to do so in the future. It makes me feel connected somehow. And it's a nice reprieve, to speak English for a bit.

  7. lihooi
    lihooi ·

    aww that's very nice of you.. :)

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