Shakespeare & Company Bookstore and Cafe

On my first trip to Paris in 2010 I had the pleasure of staying at The Hotel Esmerelda on the Left Bank across from the Notre Dame.  Little did I know that it would literally be sleeping atop the famed Shakespeare & Company bookstore.  I fell in love with this bookstore and couldn’t wait to take my friend Manuela there.  She has been going to Paris for many years and had never visited so I knew she was in for a treat.  I was initially reluctant only because I had heard that the bookstore, which reeks of charm and age, had opened an adjoining coffee shop.  I hoped that S&Co. had not sold out in order to go all Starbuksy on us.  My heart couldn’t take that.  If it was that BAD I figured Parisians would have revolted and stormed the bookstore so I had high hopes. It would be a great respite from the rain so, I had to see the change for myself.

Well, people I am happy to report that the bookstore’s footprint has changed very little if any at all.  And the ridiculously tiny coffee shop is equally as charming and full of lovely young staff brewing up the best cup of coffee I had in Paris.  (And I drank a fair amount of Joe while I was there so I consider myself an authoritay.)

Please go there.  Please buy a book as a souvenir and a cup of coffee while you overlook the Notre Dame and the bustling city.  You will surely leave smarter than you came merely by immersing yourself in history and looking at all of the covers.  Need a break because you have put too many miles on your feet?  Relax in any number of small comfortable nooks and crack a book like Hemmingway in the same place people have done so on the Left Bank for almost 100 years!  (Never mind a few location changes due to the war…)

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38 thoughts on “Shakespeare & Company Bookstore and Cafe

  1. When I retire at the end of 2018 Paris is on my Travel List and I will be sure to visit this wonderful bookstore. When I was attending Marymount Manhattan College in New York there was and still is a Shakespeare & Co. bookstore in Manhattan. Our professors used to send us there to purchase textbooks. Students from nearby Hunter College would also stop by. Brings back fond college memories.

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  2. Great photos, I love the ones of the steps and the mosaics. I think I said on one of your posts about Giverny that my mum had bought be a storybook about Monet’s garden when I was little. It was called Linnea in Monet’s Garden and I’m pretty sure she stays in the main character stays in the same hotel above the bookshop! We’re moving house at the moment so the book’s in storage and I can’t check but I have a strong memory of it.

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  3. Good call! That’s a great Parisian spot. Did you hear the story behind the closure of the first one? Supposedly an SS officer wanted to buy the last copy of Ulysses, and the original owner refused to sell it to a Nazi, so they closed her down. But she respected the current owner so much she let him open a new version, which has stayed entirely true to the spirit of supporting upcoming authors. So glad you enjoyed it too!

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  4. I loved your blog about Paris and the Shakespeare café. The photos is so beautiful. I always wanted to go to Paris now looking forward to your blog about Paris makes me feel a little closer to being there. Thanks!

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    • Thanks for the comment! I bought that book while I was there and I haven’t had time to read it yet unfortunately. If you ever go back you should very much go. It was one of my favorite places to visit. I can also recommend the hotel directly above it. Thanks for your comment. You are very welcome to visit my site any old time. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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