Shakespeare and Co Bookshop

A legendary meeting place and boarding-house for many aspiring writers. Stocks everything from Shakespeare to Joyce.

TravelCurious Tip

If you’re feeling peckish after the bookstore, head over to the nearby restaurant Le Procope, once the regular hangout of such visionaries as Voltaire and Rousseau.

The Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore may well be the most famous independent bookshop in the world. It is currently in its second incarnation - the original was opened by Sylvia Beach in 1922, and became a regular haunt for a number of aspiring young writers including James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway. It closed in 1940 during the German occupation of Paris, but in 1951 George Whitman brought it back to life, opening his new store on rue de la Bûcherie in the 5th arrondissement.


As You Like It

Approaching the place today, it has all the dilapidated charm and easy homeliness that you would expect of a Beatnik Parisian cafe. Whitman once described it as a “socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore”, and it was this freethinking spirit which drew the likes of Henry Miller and Allen Ginsberg through its doors. When the sun is shining, the books spill out into the street, with battered old sets of shelves placed haphazardly around the ornate city drinking fountain in the small plaza adjoining the shop. This is also the venue for regular poetry readings and other literary events, which invariably draw a crowd.


Love’s Labours Found

The weather in northern France doesn’t always oblige, however, in which case everyone piles back inside. Here you will find veritable mountains of second-hand books arranged in some semblance of order, perused avidly by literary enthusiasts of every stripe. You can browse at your leisure, or retire to the cafe for a mug of hot tea and a slice of cake. Be sure to ask about the upcoming event schedule - Shakespeare and Co. usually has something up its sleeve!


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
Notre-Dame de Paris
Notre Dame, perched on an island in the heart of Paris, is one of the finest cathedrals in the world.
Île de la Cité
This island in the middle of the River Seine is the historical heart of Paris.
St Julien le Pauvre
Built in 1165 at the same time as Notre-Dame, this is the oldest and most charming of churches in Paris.
Place St-Michel Fountain
One of the city's most well-known meeting places, the statue depicts the archangel Michael vanquishing the Devil.
Rue du Chat qui Peche
Considered the narrowest street in Paris with only 1.80mts wide for the whole of its 29mts.
Church of Saint Severin
It is one of the oldest churches that remains standing on the Left Bank of the Latin Quarter, and it continues in use as a place of worship.

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Paris Je T'aime: Private Half-Day Highlights Walking Tour
During this fabulous four-hour walking tour of Paris, you will explore the most interesting and diverse central neighbourhoods the French capital has to offer. See the sights at your own pace and adapt your tour with your guide who will be happy to offer suggestions based on your preferences. 

On your private half-day highlights tour, you will:

  • Visit the historical heart of Paris,  Île de la Cité;
  • Walk by the Sainte-Chapelle  and the Conciergerie, the former Parisian prison;
  • Explore the wonderful haunts of the Latin Quarter, just a short walk away;
  • Learn about Paris' home of intellectual thought and see where the May '68 revolution unfolded;
  • Visit the Tuileries Gardens,  the Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Élysées;
  • Walk around the surroundings of the symbolic Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral;
  • End your walking tour at the stunning Pont Alexander III bridge.

Explore Île de la Cité, one of the two remaining natural islands in the Seine River, considered the historic heart of Paris. 

The medieval city of Paris was refounded here with the magnificent Sainte-Chapelle and the former prison, the Conciergerie. While on Île de la Cité, you will have time to walk around the hauntingly beautiful Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral.

The Latin Quarter along the Left Bank was so named because, until the French Revolution, university students in the area spoke only Latin to their professors. 

You will visit this famed neighbourhood to immerse yourself in the Parisian atmosphere of yesteryear, whilst exploring the medieval streets and meandering through fantastic shops like Shakespeare and Company bookshop, Place Saint-Michel, and its gorgeous fountain.

As the tour continues, you will learn little-known facts about the French Revolution. You will be exploring the beautiful Tuileries Gardens and the Place de la Concorde, the site at which Louis XVI was beheaded during the French Revolution. Whilst here, do not forget to look out for the magnificent Champs-Élysées, the most famous shopping avenue in the world. 

Lastly, you will stop off at the Pont Alexander III, the most beautiful bridge in Paris, where you can enjoy a splendid view of the Eiffel Tower and beyond the majestic Seine. J’aime Paris.
The Latin Quarter: Paris' Left Bank Private Half-Day Tour
The Latin Quarter is one of Paris' most quirky and interesting neighbourhoods located on the left bank of the Seine River, around the Sorbonne. It is an ambient juxtaposition of medieval backstreets, churches and grand Haussmman-style boulevards, which were built in the 19th century as part of Paris’ modernisation, the area takes its name from medieval times when the majority of local residents were clergy or students who spoke Latin. 

On your private half-day tour, you will:

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The Latin Quarter was the scene of the student uprising in May ’68, even though its medieval facade strikes a strong contrast to its liberal, intellectual and artistic side. On Boulevard St-Michel and Boulevard St Germain, you will find many cafes where the likes of Camus, Orwell, and Hemingway passed hours discussing philosophy and literature. 

The area is also rich with interesting book shops, most notably the Shakespeare and Company - a legendary meeting place and boarding house for many aspiring writers.

Your tour guide will direct you through the neighbourhood’s best cultural haunts: experience the wonders of medieval backstreets that are adorned with theatres and jazz clubs, unchanged since their post-war beginnings, and see the narrowest street in Paris. Visit the city’s oldest church in St Julien le Pauvre and see one of the most famous academic institutions in the world - La Sorbonne. 

Next stop off at the Panthéon, a mausoleum where many distinguished French figures such as Voltaire, Braille, and Rousseau were laid to rest. Then wander through the grounds of the stunning Luxembourg Gardens and Palace, the perfect place to people watch, enjoy nature, and feel like a true Parisian.
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Embark on a private introductory tour of Paris and explore the Île de la Cité and the Latin Quarter, two iconic Parisian neighbourhoods and enjoy a Seine Cruise for amazing views of the city from the water.

On your private tour, you will:

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  • End your tour with a one-hour panoramic River Cruise on the Seine, with great views of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower.

This is a fascinating introduction and orientation tour of Paris. The Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine is where the story of Paris, and the history of France truly begins. 

Begin the walking portion of your tour at the statue of Henry IV on the Pont Neuf - the oldest bridge in Paris, that crosses onto the  Île de la Cité and discover the history of the French Kings as you walk around their medieval castle, the Conciergerie - and learn how it became their brutal prison during the dark days of the Revolution. 

Learn all about the French Revolution and its most infamous execution machine, the Guillotine as you stand outside the gates of the Palais du Justice, the courts where all the trials took place. 

Admire the Gothic front of Notre Dame - and learn about its incredible 900-year history - as well as its survival during the fire of 2019, before walking off the island, into the Latin Quarter, an historical and vibrant area famed for its gothic churches, the Sorbonne university, and its fun nightlife, with a plethora of jazz bars and eateries.

Visit historical bookshops, once frequented by the likes of Hemingway and Orwell, and explore an area that is renowned for being the starting point of the May 68' Revolution as well as the home of French intellectual thought.

Next, take in the amazing sights of Paris on a return cruise down the River Seine. See the famous landmarks of Paris from the river like the Louvre Museum, Orsay Museum, and the Eiffel Tower to name just a few! Your one-hour cruise ends back at the Pont Neuf.

Important: This tour includes a 2-hour private guided walking tour followed by a 1-hour river cruise with onboard commentary on your own. Your tour guide will walk you to the cruise docking point where they will part ways with you. You can choose to take the cruise at the end of the tour or later during your stay.
Paris by Night: Private Walking Tour including Seine River Cruise
Experience the magic of the City of Lights with an evening walk through the most romantic areas of Paris: the medieval Île de la Cité and the Latin Quarter. Take a relaxing and scenic cruise ride along the River Seine with fabulous photo opportunities of famous Parisian landmarks including the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. 

On your private tour you will: 

  • Visit two of the city's most beautiful and romantic neighbourhoods;
  • Explore the famous sites on Île de la Cité where French history began;
  • See the Revolutionary Palais du Justice and the Conciergerie Palace former home of the French Kings; 
  • Hear about the terrifying trial and final days of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette;
  • Admire the magnificent Gothic facade of Notre Dame - still standing after the terrible fire of 2019;
  • Wander through the trendy Latin Quarter - made famous by the 'Lost Generation' of Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway;
  • Learn about the famous bookshop Shakespeare & Co; 
  • See the Sorbonne University and peer inside some of the oldest Gothic churches in Paris like Saint Severin;
  • End your guided tour back on Ile de La Cite, where your guide will give you your Seine Cruise tickets;
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  • See the Eiffel Tower lit up at night, or choose any other time you like with your open tickets.

Enjoy a magical tour of central medieval Paris lit up at night! Begin by the statue of Good King Henry on the Pont Neuf and follow your expert private guide around the Île de la Cité. 

This island, in the middle of the Seine, holds the founding history of Paris and France itself: it is where a Celtic tribe called the Parisi first settled, and later Clovis King of the Franks won after the fall of Rome. Learn the history of the French Kings and Queens as you gaze across to the Louvre Palace, beautifully lit at night, and walk through Place Dauphine. 

Admire some Napoleonic decorations to the Palais du Justice, and hear about some of his greatest achievements, and epic losses. As you walk around this stunning beautifully lighted medieval castle, you'll learn that it was once the home of the French Kings - and later became their prison during the Revolution. Hear about the trials, both fair and foul, and decide for yourself if Marie Antoinette was as guilty as she is painted. 

Admire the exquisite Gothic facade of Notre Dame - always stunningly lit up at night and hear of its extraordinary history -and survival. 

Walk around the trendy, artsy and vibrant Latin Quarter - famous for its plethora of Gothic churches, the Sorbonne University - which gives it its name as Latin was the language of Academia in the middle ages! Pass by famous the Jazz clubs on Rue de la Huchette, and the bars and cafes and bookshops - like Shakespeare and Co - that were frequented by members of the Lost Generation like Hemingway, Orwell and Gertrude Stein.  

Finally, return to the Pont Neuf where your guide will leave you to enjoy a romantic evening river cruise along the Seine. This is a wonderful way to see the great monuments of Paris lit up - including the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, and of course the piece de resistance: the Eiffel Tower! 

Important: This tour includes a 2-hour private guided walking tour followed by a 1-hour river cruise with onboard commentary on your own. Your tour guide will walk you to the cruise docking point where they will part ways with you. You can choose to take the cruise at the end of the tour or later during your stay.
Paris in the Second World War: Private Half-Day Walking Tour
Learn about life under Nazi Occupation during the Second World War on this walking tour of Paris. You'll hear about the French Resistance, the terrifying invasion of Nazi tanks, and the horrific arrest and deportation of the Jews - exactly where it all happened. Learn of quiet daily acts of courage, and how Hitler's generals defied him at the last which ultimately led to the Liberation of Paris. 

On your private half-day tour you will: 

  • Explore areas of Paris that were particularly marked by the Nazi Occupation and eventual liberation of France on this 3-hour walking tour;
  • Begin at Metro Saint Paul, with a tour of Le Marais and the Jewish Quarter where you'll learn about daily life under Nazi Occupation;
  • See the moving Holocaust Memorial, the Museum of Jewish Art and History and walk down Rue des Rosiers as you hear about the persecution, chilling round-up, and deportation of the Jews to Auschwitz;
  • Walk to the Prefecture de Police opposite Notre Dame Cathedral where you'll see evidence of shelling and shrapnel;
  • Stop off at the famous bookshop Shakespeare and Co, and hear how its founder Silvia Beech refused to sell her books to the Gestapo;
  • Take the metro to the Tuileries Gardens where you'll hear all about the Monuments Men
  • Visit two famous hotels nearby on Place Vendôme and Rue RivoliThe Ritz and Le Meurice;
  • Enter Place de La Concord, where peace was declared;
  • - Walk part way up the Champs Elysees, the famous road along which both the Nazis and the Allied Forces marched; 
  • End your tour at the statue of General Charles de Gaulle, hero of France, next to Le Grand Palais and Le Petit Palais both of which were used as hospitals during the war, and with a grand view stretching all the way up towards the Arc de Triomphe. 

From Nazi Occupiers and Collaborators to French Spies of the Resistance, from famous military heroes to quiet acts of daily courage, from the horrors of the Holocaust to the final triumphant Liberation of Paris, you will discover some of the neighbourhoods and monuments that saw key events take place on this fascinating walking tour of Paris during the Second World War, with an expert and passionate guide. 

You'll learn about the hardships of life in Paris under Nazi occupation, like food rationing, poverty and blackouts, as you walk through the charming neighbourhood of Le Marais. Stand in the Pletzl (Yiddish for 'Little Square') the hub and heart of Jewish culture in Paris to hear the horrifying stories of the Holocaust. 

You will see evidence of shelling and shrapnel at the Police HQ and hear how the bells of Notre Dame stopped tolling throughout the Occupation, only to ring out once more at the Liberation. Hear about the French Resistance working in underground tunnels, and the role of the Eiffel Tower in disrupting communications. 

Learn about Silvia Beech who refused to sell her books to the Gestapo at Shakespeare and Co, Josephine Baker, the nightclub dancer who became an Allied spy; or rumoured collaborators like Gertrude Stein and Coco Chanel. 

Hop on a metro to the Tuileries, and walk to Place Vendôme. The Ritz, like all hotels, was requisitioned by the Nazis and was favoured by Hermann Göring who filled his Imperial Suite with stolen artworks. Later Ernest Hemingway announced the liberation of Paris from the Champagne bar, which he proceeded to drink dry... 

The Hotel Le Meurice became the Head Quarters of the military governor of Paris. It is where the German officer Dietrich von Choltitz failed to carry out Hitler's order to level Paris, and lied when Hitler asked "Is Paris burning?" All with consequences that you'll hear about as you reach Place de La Concord and the statue of General Charles de Gaulle on the Champs Elysees that saw the eventual, triumphant liberation of Paris. 

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