On the Left Bank, nestled behind shade trees, set back from the busy Quai de Montebello near the Petit Pont crossing the Seine in front of Notre-Dame, is the venerable English book store, Shakespeare and Company.
The first store named Shakespeare and Company was begun by Sylvia Beach in 1901 and served as a center for writers and artists for many years, finally closing in 1941 with the invasion of the Axis powers. In 1951 a new store was opened by George Whitman in a nearby location, and, with Ms. Beach’s permission, he named it Shakespeare and Company. In honor of the first owner of that name, he christened his daughter Sylvia Beach. Today Sylvia Beach Whitman runs the popular enterprise and hosts writers workshops and readings. She has retained the tradition of resident writers who work in the store.
After visiting St. Severin around the corner (Gothic, double ambulatory, venue for musical events in this university area), we stopped in at Shakespeare and Company. The lovely young woman, Jemma, who organizes the readings and events, was pleased to include my novelOfferings, partially set in Paris, in the store’s inventory, so Offerings is now available at Shakespeare and Company in Paris! I hope to send her copies of Pilgrimage and Inheritance as well.
We crossed the Seine, and headed toward St. Germain where the Daughers of Jerusalem would soon be singing the noon office.
Shakespeare & Company,37 rue de la Bûcherie,75005 Paris
Open daily 10am – 11pm, except Sunday, 11am – 11pm.