The exterior of Shakespeare and Company does not do justice to it – and the exterior is in fact an art form of its own. It is much like the cover of a bestseller; heavy with mischief, secrets to be uncovered, and testimonials to whet your desire. What makes Shakespeare and Company so alluring is the full package of literary promise it offers, and the books displayed at its front are an assurance of the treasures that await within.
Shakespeare and Company is an English bookstore located on Rue de la Bûcherie, Paris and it is arguably one of the most famous bookstores in the world today. The store sits at the center of Paris, facing the Seine River and close to the Latin Quarter as well as Place Saint-Michel. The bookstore, which was founded in 1951, takes its name from an older store which was started in Paris in 1919, by a lady called Sylvia Beach. Many have compared the store to a temple of some sort and it is no surprise why; the literary experience of this cozy, traditional bookstore is something that can be compared to the divinity of the spiritual experience.
As a book lover in Paris, your Parisan experience is not complete until you visit Shakespeare and Company. Not only are many literary events held here, the bookstore has been featured in classic romance movies like “Before Sunset”, “Julie & Julia” and “Midnight in Paris.” The ambience lulls you into the nostalgia of finding home on a quiet street in a foreign land. It is the overwhelming happiness of being a kid in a toy store or a bread lover in a pastry shop. A place where you can smell the paper and the old wood.
Inside, you would discover a literary labyrinth with twists and turns and layers and steps, all covered with books from top to bottom. From books on chairs, to books on beds, it is a reader’s fairytale punctuated with chaos. The wall of words is the tourist’s dream – a litany of signatures, poems, and messages in diverse languages that puts to perspective the truth that we all would have something to say if given the chance to do so. You get to meet the store’s cat and read a book of your choice before purchase. On purchase of your book, you can also get it stamped with the Shakespeare and company official stamp in order for you to remember the experience.
For the reader, it is heaven on earth.