‘Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.’ The Shakespeare and Company in Paris used to be a monastery in 1600s and housed popular writers like Ezra Pound, Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ford Madox Ford, and James Joyce since it was established in 1951. The bookshop used to be called The Mistral, but owner George Whitman renamed it Shakespeare and Company in 1964. (via Jennifer Liston)
The Shakespeare and Company bookshop - a “labyrinth of books” - on Rue de la Bûcherie in Paris. Opened by George Whitman (no relation to Walt) in 1951 as Le Mistral, the name was changed in April of 1964 to honor William Shakespeare’s 400th birthday. It was once the only free English lending library in Paris, and Whitman allowed traveling writers to stay in it as needed.
So, it’s been over a month since I was in Paris (and London) and I meant to post my pictures from Shakespeare and Company the weekend I got back home, but I originally wanted to post a picture of the books I bought there (Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke and Cooking with Bones by Jess Richards) and some of the amazing postcards I bought of the place. However, I just put it off way too long, and I still haven’t taken a picture of my books. So, here are the pictures I took of Shakespeare and Company (before I knew I wasn’t supposed to take pictures inside).
Unfortunately, I think I was only able to spend about an hour there (my tour group stopped at Notre Dame and I ran across the street for books) but I could easily have spent a whole day.
Shakespeare & Company are a combination of two small independent bookstores based in Paris. The stores have been in operation since 1919 and 1951, and were often frequented by authors such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce. The two stores are also known for their homey feeling, even having small nooks where customers can tuck themselves away and dive into a good book.