Shakespeare and Co.
A full year and a half after my very FIRST post I come back to my old friend Shakespeare and Co., with good reason.
On the 14th December 2011, the legendary George Whitman, owner of Shakespeare and Co passed away. He left behind him a legacy and an international admiration for his passion for literature and tirelessness over more than half a century. He was a contemporary and friend of some of the greatest writers and booksellers in Paris during the latter half of the 20th century, notably Sylvia Beach, Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, Samuel Beckett, James Baldwin and Lawrence Durrell.
And so, my second post for the Literary Scene in Paris…
Now run by George’s daughter Sylvia, Shakespeare & Co. continues as George left it. As well as attracting thousands of tourists every month and lodging passing artists, the famous bookshop also offers readings and performances on a weekly basis in the upstairs reading room where so many great writers spent their time.
♥ ♥ ♥ Why I love it
If you go to Shakespeare & Co., you will immediately be seduced by the wall-to-wall bookshelves, organised sort-of-alphabetically, and then further entranced by the rickety stairs leading to the quieter reading room where so many great minds formulated great work, and still do today. But this is to only see the passive half of the Shakespeare and Co. experience. To really understand what George set in motion, the trick is to go on one of the evenings where there is a reading and to squeeze yourself onto one of the benches or perch on the stairs. Be it a cookery book or poetry reading, the atmosphere is unbeatable. During the Spring and Summer months, the bookshop also attracts musicians who set up shop outside. To know what’s on, the website has an up-to-date event list.
For example, this Monday (April 2nd), they are hosting TRAVAILLER JAMAIS (oh, if only…), an evening of “songs of love, loss and liberty with Tom is a British writer and editor of The Idler, an annual periodical that campaigns against the work ethic and promotes liberty, autonomy and responsibility.
ukulele apparently, and if that isn’t a good reason to go, I don’t know what else is.
Where do I go??
37 rue de la Bûcherie
(Sat + Sun opens at 11)
If addresses mean nothing to you, go to Notre Dame, face it, and then look right (approximately 2 o’clock). It’s there, to the right of a little park, set just off the main road. Watch out for the roadworks.
Go in (door on the right), veer to the far right of the shop and go up the stairs. If you’re early, get a seat. If you’re late, stand or sit on the stairs. They put speakers everywhere, so you’ll be able to hear.
Claim to fame
I used to work there (only for about 3 months)
Thanks for reading