«I created this bookstore like a man would write a novel, building each room like a chapter, and I like people to open the door the way they open a book, a book that leads into a magic world in their imaginations.»
Shakespeare and Company, Paris. The perfect bookstore Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France. “Young writers are invited to stay at Shakespeare and Company without any form of payment, as long as they work in the bookstore for a couple of hours every day and commit to reading and writing every single day.”
On this day in 1919, Sylvia Beach, the visionary pillar of the Paris expat scene and usherer of James Joyce’s Ulysses into the world and supporter of many of the great female voices of the century like Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein and Mina Loy, opened Shakespeare and Company.
12. Mar. 17 // three days ago was my 21st birthday and today I celebrated with my family; I thought I might share with you the bookish presents I got 🤓
- my brother was in Paris on a school trip, so he went to ‘Shakespeare and company’ and got me this beautiful bag and notebook
- my cousins gifted me 'the Goblet of Fire’, 'the Order of the Phoenix’ and 'Quidditch through the ages’ so I can add them to my english Harry Potter collection
A/N: This took so long, my god. Please enjoy it as much as I do because I put so much love into this, I want you to enjoy it as much as I do. Also the bookshop and places mentioned all exist and are things I put in from my own trip to Paris last year. This is kind of how I wish it had gone lmao. ——————————————-
The bookstore was temporarily closed. Technically they were open but because of the reading you weren’t allowed inside unless you were buying the author’s newest book. You should have lied and said you were, just to get inside, but when the girl at the door had said the author’s name the word ‘who’ left your lips before you could stop it. Now you were stuck outside the store shivering in the parisian winter air, wondering how long this was going to take.
Of course it didn’t really matter how long it would take, you’d stay until you got inside. Shakespeare and Company was a well known bookstore and a must stop on your trip. It was your goal to see every unique and famous bookstore you could find and this was your first stop.
You looked around at the bookshelfs outside the shop and decided to sift through the one left of the door for better access once they opened up again. You sighed, pulling your scarf up and began reading spines, trying to decipher if there was anything worth a second look. You reached out for an old copy of ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ just as the man next to you did the same.
“oh. Sorry” You turned to give him a slight smile as you apologized. The man was tall and slender, with a trendy,shock of grey hair under what looked like a plush beanie. He had dark rimmed glasses and a large scarf around his neck. His cheeks were pink from the cold but his face was covered in embarrassment.
You smiled and watched the color in his cheeks deepen. He didn’t say anything, so you simply raised your eyebrows before turning to browse a new bookshelf.
Nothing was really catching your eye and you weren’t sure if it was because the selection was sparse or because you were too cold to concentrate. But just as you were debating going back to your apartment and coming back the next day, they finally opened to the public. You walked in and let the warmth of the crowd and building envelope you as you slowly stripped your layers away.
The shop was small and had floor to ceiling shelves of books. It was beautiful. You made your way through towards the middle of the shop noticing the books were alphabetized by author. You started with the A’s looking for the familiar titles of Jane Austen, when you felt a tap on your shoulder. You turned around and found yourself face to.. well chest with the man from outside. You looked up at him questioningly.
“Um, I think you dropped this.” He held out your scarf in one of his large hands.
“Ah. When did…” you checked your bag, you must have missed when you were putting it away,”Thank you! I didn’t even notice.”
You took your scarf from him as he replied “You’re welcome” in a deep, accented voice.
You smiled at eachother once again before returning to your mindless browsing.
Somehow you ended up meeting him again. It was a small shop but you couldn’t help but giggle at the extreme coincidence. You smiled at him and this time he returned it with a smile full of dimples and deep chuckles.