Paris Travel

Shakespeare and Company

This enigmatic English-language bookshop is housed in an early 17th century building which was originally a monastery, located in the heart of Paris on the banks of the Seine opposite Notre-Dame, whose address is at Kilometer Zero; the point at which all French roads begin.

Shakespeare and Company was opened in 1951 by American George Whitman and has become a Left Bank literary institution since then visited by writers, artists and intellectuals including the likes of poet Allen Ginsberg and writers Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin.

Shakespeare and Company old

The bookstore is a marvelous place to spend time for English-speaking expats and visitors with an interest in literature and Parisian history just as many ‘Tumbleweeds’ – so named by Whitman after the rolling thistles that ‘drift in and out with the winds of chance,’ with among them many who went on to become well-known artists; Ethan Hawke, Jeffrey Rush, Darren Aronofsky, to name a few – who have come through and sometimes slept here between the shelves.

Shakespeare and Company sells a wide array of international fiction and non-fiction books on subjects such as Science, Art, Politics and of course Paris and William Shakespeare, and has a special collection of early editions of famous works – pick up a first edition original burgundy cloth, dust jacket ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey for a cool 800 euros . .

Shakespeare and Company cafe terrace

The store  hosts at least one free literary event a week and boasts a café with charming terrace serving freshly squeezed juices, as well as organic food and a must taste: George Whitman’s lemon pie! Thus visiting Shakespeare and Company can be as intellectually as appetizingly satisfying.

37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris
00 33 1 43 25 40 93