Along the Seine, a stones throw away from Notre Dame lies one of the  oldest and most humble English book stores in Paris.  This bookstore has a fairy tale history; the original shop was owned and run  by an American, Sylvia Beach but was closed down by the Nazis during the  war and became the meeting point for Hemingway’s “Lost Generation.” It was  then taken over in 1951 by George Whitman and moved to its current location  on rue de la Bucherie seducing artists and writers all over the globe.

There are all sorts of benches and tables to sit outside and  “Paris Wall Newspaper” written on chalkboard:

Even when it was run by Beach, it not only served as bookshop library but  also served as post office to expatriates, and as bank to destitute writers. In  the back of the shop a door led Beach’s friends and guests to a kitchenette  fully equipped with a gas stove and running water. Next to it was a small bed  she kept to accommodate artists, far away from home, who needed a warm  place to stay for the night.

To this day the store holds her legacy, and at night its couches turn into beds  where writers stay for free in exchange for working in the store.

In this room, an old piano sits ensconced amidst piles of books that seem to even creep out of the stained glass window bay:

Walking into the store you can’t help but be drawn into this warm, intimate and  whimsical space, with stacks of books from every genre filling every nook and  cranny. This is truly a gem in Paris.

Shakespeare & Co. also get an award for best website with its collage style effect atop an antiqued mirror:


  1. […] and signings. Though the original shop closed during WWII, George Whitman later named his bookstore Shakespeare & Company (not to mention naming his daughter Sylvia), after Beach’s incomparable contribution to the […]

  2. […] Famed literary figure and Shakespeare & Company bookstore owner George Whitman passed away on Wednesday. [NY Times] See the shop here, a true dream bookstore. [Untapped] […]

  3. […] often visited Shakespeare & Co.,  Sylvia Beach’s bookstore and lending library, which was originally located at 12 Rue de […]

  4. […] many Anglophone writers in Paris, I’m obsessed with Shakespeare and Company, the English bookstore situated across the Seine from Notre Dame. But did you know there’s […]

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