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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
The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter represents the essence of intellectual Paris, a place to unwind amidst the rarefied atmosphere of the 5th and 6th arrondissements.
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.
La Sorbonne
Founded in 1253 to give impoverished students the opportunity to study theology, this is one of the world's most famous universities.
La Conciergerie
Once a royal residence, the Conciergerie became a prison during the French revolution, a notable prisoner being Marie-Antoinette.
Place St-Michel Fountain
One of the city's most well-known meeting places, the statue depicts the archangel Michael vanquishing the Devil.

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