Knock yourself out at Shakespeare and Company Bookshop

Brenda in her corner at Shakespeare and Company

Brenda in her corner at Shakespeare and Company

Only a few blocks from our apartment is an enchanting place called the Shakespeare and Company Bookshop. It’s a wonderful spot to spend a rainy cold afternoon browsing three floors of books, most in English, stacked floor to high ceiling. One is literally encased by books! There I am in my nice soft chair tucked under a stairwell engrossed in an art book, “Paris Line By Line” by Robinson. All is well until I realize too much time has passed. Quickly I stand up forgetting that I am sitting so far back under the stairs. Yep, knock yourself out at Shakespeare and Company! “Les Etoiles” is French for ” the stars” I see after hitting the top of my hard head on the stair tread.

Although Shakespeare and Company is a long standing venture, it’s actually the reincarnation of an even more famous bookstore by the same name. In the 1920s a free thinking American named Sylvia Beach started Shakespeare and Company on Rue de l’Odéon, also in the Latin Quarter, as a haven for American writers who flocked to Paris after World War I. Earnest Hemingway, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound were all known to have frequented Sylvia’s original store.

Below is a link (sorry we could not embed it) to Shakespeare and Company’s short video that details some of the fascinating history of the store. George Whitman, who started this bookstore died in 2011 but his daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman carries on the tradition of encouraging young writers.


  1. What a special place ” Shakespeare & Company”. Loved the You Tube Video. I think I could literally spend hours in there!!!

  2. Jan Harrison says

    I would LIVE in that bookstore! I so enjoy your posts. You’re so generous to share your adventure, which is at once extraordinary and ordinary!

  3. Ed Forman says

    There is a wonderful B&B in Newport, Oregon called the Sylvia Beach Hotel. It has theme rooms, each dedicated to a different author and a fabulous restuarant called “The Book Ends” – reservations required and worth it. Not exactly Paris but definitely a treat.

    We are greatly enjoying your blogs, green with envy and delighted for your adventures. Keep the news coming.
    Pat Bennett-Forman

    P.S. My friend Martha says she and Terry hope to see you in Amsterdam soon. What fun.

  4. Daniel Fischer says

    Lots of history. Interesting

  5. Daniel Fischer says

    I have been reading about human evolution in and the art work of France, Spain and Europe dte back 40,000 years.

  6. Dianne Rodway says

    How’s your head? I hope you are fine now!

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