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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