Whether or not you're a bookworm, you're sure to fall in love with the quaint and charming Shakespeare and Company bookstore on Paris's Left Bank, just steps from the Seine river. This two-story reading library, which first opened in 1951, is named after another, older bookstore that played a large role in the art and literature scene between World War I and World War II.
This first Shakespeare and Company bookstore was opened on rue Dupuytren in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, a New Jersey native who lived most of her life in Paris. She was one of the leading figures of the expat community at the time, befriending the likes of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot and Gertrude Stein. In 1922, Beach moved the bookstore to a larger space on rue de l'Odéon. In 1941 she was forced to close the shop during the German occupation of Paris.
The bookshop you can see today was opened by another American, George Whitman, as a sort of tribute to Beach's original store. Pop in here to peruse thousands of new and second-hand books that line the walls and corridors. Visit the bookstore and you'll also notice a few beds tucked in-between bookshelves and under staircases. That's because in true Sylvia Beach spirit, Shakespeare and Company houses aspiring writers and artists in exchange for their help around the shop.
Whitman died in 2011 at the age of 98. He was in his apartment, which was located just above the bookstore. He was survived by his only child, whom he named Sylvia Beach Whitman after the original bookstore owner. She and her husband still run the shop to this day.
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Rue de la Bûcherie