Sylvia says, “We sell books for a living, but it’s the books that are our life.”
Shakespeare and Company, situated in the heart of Paris, is the best-known bookstore in the world. The bookstore is exclusive because it specializes in English literature and has an extremely important supply of rare books, many of books have the reasonable price which is easily affordable.
Shakespeare and Company are the names of two independent bookstores on Paris’s Left Bank. The first was opened by Sylvia Beach on 19 November 1919 at eight rue Dupuytren, before moving to larger premises at 12 rue de l’Odéon in the 6th arrondissement in 1922. During the 1920s, it was a congregation place for writers like as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford.
The second is situated at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, in the 5th arrondissement. Opened in 1951 by George Whitman, its original name was “Le Mistral” but after renamed to “Shakespeare and Company” in 1964 in tribute to Sylvia Beach’s bookstore. Today, it works both as a consistent bookstore and as a reading library, specializing in English-language literature.
Shakespeare and Company also has a fabulous publishing history. The reputation of Shakespeare and Company lives on as one of the most visited bookstores in the world and has even been contained in films like Midnight in Paris. Time has not separated the love-in between literature and Paris’s Left Bank. The Shakespeare and Company bookstore has long been a meeting of the situation. The original shop, which doubled as a library, publisher and boarding house for hopeful writers, was opened by American Sylvia Beach and was included in Ernest Hemingway’s memoir, A Moveable Feast.
In World War II the store was closed, and George Whitman was reopened in its recent representation in 1951. When you’re done browsing, retire with reading matter and enjoy to the nearby restaurant Le Procope. Its walls are decorated with author-signed title pages, addressed like so many love letters to “Le Procope.” The well-appointed set of the menu is labeled “The Philosophies.”
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Nowadays Sylvia runs things. Confidential, there’s an extensive stock of second-hand books. Sylvia is buying another bit of the jigsaw too so that the shop can open a café next door. In the shop thousand books are arranged two rows deep on the wall after wall of curved shelves in rooms full of old chairs with loose joints and thin cushions, rooms filled with the natural prolongation of a sound of more English than you use to hear. It is, as it ever was, a place where passionate people can read, write, learn, teach, work, and live. And on a morning when any number of people may be reading a book on their tablet on the streets below, it’s nice to know not everything is changing.
Many people come to the rue de la Bucheries to buy a stamped copy of Ulysses or The Sun Also Rises and take a picture in front of the famous storefront of Shakespeare & Company, the famous Paris English-language bookshop. It has changed locations, transferred owners, developed its clients, and weathered shifts in the publishing industry, but in the second story reading room with the windows open over the Seine, these changes seem distant and minute. Even at present, this bookstore is world’s best shop for exclusive and productive literature.
Why to Visit Shakespeare and Company?
The Shakespeare and Company are foremost tourist magnetism. As it has been for a very long time, what it has been for even longer, although not by much, is an operational bookshop providing English-language reading material and interaction for the people of Paris.
The books are assembled over two floors – the ground floor dark and open, stacked with new and in-print titles, the upper level a habitat of second-hand volumes, anything from Gibbon to Hemingway.
There are adequately of readers who are not writers, there are no writers who are not readers, and one of the prodigious gifts of this beautiful bookshop is to keep authors and readers on the same creative field. Writers are not reduced to small-time semi-celebrities, and readers are not utilized as consumers.
At any time there are six or more young people from the area points of the world, reading, talking, thinking, boiling spaghetti in the kettle, running across the road to the public showers, stacking, carrying, selling, stock-taking, and all in a soul of energy and enterprise that is not to be found in any chain bookstores.
If you are a published writer, then you can be able to stay in the little shell of the writers’ room at Shakespeare and Company.
Another magnetism of Shakespeare and Company is that the literary festival now runs twice-yearly.
Shakespeare and Company is one of the few places to remain open in the face of the traditional French observation of the Sabbath.
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Why to Admire Shakespeare and Company?
“It didn’t matter. That stuff doesn’t matter. Books, people, ideas, that’s what is important.”
George used to read books a day, and gets very cross if he heard that anyone is wasting his time. The essence of the place has to be honored, and there are no allowances.
Thousands of people have come through his shop doors, slept in his shop, eaten at his table, and many of them still write to him or return. There’s nothing cute or historical liked about Shakespeare and Company. The values, the culture, and hospitality, don’t change, but the shop goes forward with the times.
There is a reading room above the shop, where the books are not for sale, more steady customers spend their Sundays.
Every Monday night at Shakespeare and Company, there’s a free reading by a published writer, while writers-in-progress, as George calls young hopefuls, can meet in the library to read their work.
There’s a library space for sitting and reading because this shop isn’t a pay-n-go Anglo-Saxon business model, it’s a place for the browser and the flâneur. You can pass the time here, in the company of books.
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