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Shakespeare & Company, Paris

4.4
#24 of 298 in Sightseeing in Paris
Tourist Spot Library
A haven for bibliophiles, Shakespeare & Company presents an English-language collection of eclectic secondhand books, as well as Sunday tea, literary readings, and writers' meetings. Sylvia Beach Whitman, the original owner's daughter, now runs the bookshop her father, George, started as "Le Mistral" in 1951. He later renamed the store to honor the original shop owned by Sylvia Beach from 1919 to 1940. The shop became (and still is) a haven for an unconventional literary culture, and was frequented by Beat writers, including Allen Ginsberg. Filled from floor to ceiling with titles, each small room has walls peppered with quotes and postcards. Upstairs, you'll find a writer's area with a typewriter, a labyrinth of rooms, and a piano. For the price of your life story written on a sheet of paper, you can sleep upstairs in one of the 13 beds run by the bookshop, called "Hotel Tumbleweed." Using our online itinerary creator, Paris attractions like Shakespeare & Company can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
3,119 reviews
Google
4.5
  • It is a beautiful bookstore and would be fabulous to wander around if not for all the people! The store was small and had many oddly shaped rooms. On top of that, it was extremely crowded and difficul...  more »
  • As a book lover, this was a must. A very quirky shop with an amazing history and a huge selection of books to chose from (many/majority in English). However, many of the books you could buy on Amazon ...  more »
  • We happened upon this unique bookstore after stopping by a nearby café. It is small and packed with books of all kinds. The building is made up of many small little rooms and lots of people moving aro...  more »
Google
  • It was a very comforting and homely experience to hear and have a conversation in English. The staff are friendly and are glad to help you when needed. I really enjoyed the little reading nook in the second floor beside the Poetry section. The selection of books is wide and it can get quite confusing, but overall, it was like stepping into a whole other world right in the middle of Paris. I ended up going here twice during our 1-month stay.
  • There's something truly magical and captivating about this store that Barnes & Noble definitely lacks. I took my family here one evening during our stay in Paris and literally everyone found themselves reading a book in one of the many nooks in the store. (Personally, I spent 20 minutes with Aggie, the store's resident cat, who opted to curl up on my chest, purring contentedly.) After leaving the store, nearly everyone couldn't put down the books they purchased from the store during the rest of our travels which for me was amazing to see and forced me to bring them back to the store so they could spend more time there. Definitely worth a visit if you're in Paris.
  • This place is so worth stopping by. It makes me think of a tree house with all kinds of cubby spaces with books. Walking up the steps is very cool... and the room with the typewriter and older books. We visit this place any time we are nearby!
  • Absolutely lovely bookstore on the south riverbank, just in front of Notre Dame. The building has an old air to it, a bit crooked and wood-furnished, with all the walls packed of books. They have thousands of authors and literature in English, and all the staff speaks English too. It is a perfectly British refuge, so to speak.
  • This bookstore is nothing short of amazing. It really is more a "dreamer's place" than a bookstore. The books are literally everywhere, it's small, and crowded - nonetheless, an amazing experience. Someone is playing the piano while you discover your next favourite book.

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Each of the city’s 20 arrondissements, or districts, has a personality all its own. If you prefer high-end accommodations and to be in the middle of the action, look for lodging in the 1st through the 4th arrondissements. For more affordable lodging and access to major metro lines, try the 12th. The Oberkampf area of the 11th arrondissement has an edgier, more hip vibe. For easy access to tourist sites,  the 16th is within a stone’s throw of the Arc de Triomph and the Eiffel Tower, and the 17th is within walking distance to the Champs-Elysées. Avoid the 18th, 19th, and 20th, because these can be dangerous, especially if you’re not familiar with the city.
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