Paris’ most famous independent bookstore, dating back to 1919, Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is renowned as the one-time haunt of literary icons like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford.
The legendary Shakespeare and Company store was opened by American ingénue Sylvia Beach, who fashioned the shop into a creative haven where penniless writers congregated to share ideas, borrow books and even crash down on the shop floors. Sylvia even made history by publishing James Joyce's 1922 Ulysses when every other publisher refused. Situated in the art district of Paris' Left Bank, the original bookstore was located on Rue Dupuytren, before moving to larger premises on Rue de l’Odeon in 1922, then finally shutting its doors in 1941 during WWII German occupation.
The legacy of the bookstore now lives on in George Whitman's Shakespeare and Company bookstore on Rue de La Bucherie, which opened up in 1951 under the name of Le Mistral but soon changed its name in tribute to the historic bookstore. In the heart of Paris, just a short stroll from Notre Dame, the bookstore soon regained its popularity, hosting an incredible roster of famous literary figures over the years -- beatnik poets Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso; writer and painter Henry Miller and celebrated French author Anaïs Nin, have all passed through.
Now run by George’s daughter Sylvia (named after the original proprietor), the iconic bookstore is a literary paradise for book lovers, with two floors crammed with classic volumes, second hand novels and modern titles, and the small library space hosting weekly readings, workshops and regular gatherings of fledgling writers.