Shakespeare and Company

On saturday, I went to visit Shakespeare and Co. After having read of Hemmingway’s visits in ‘A Moveable Feast’ during La Belle Époque, I was very excited about seeing this bookshop. It was exactly how I imagined it – full of books!! The original shop closed during the German occupation of Paris and never reopened, so this one was opened much later in 1951 by George Whitman in the 5th arrondissement on the left bank. It was a small shop full of different little spaces and passages, white washed walls and exposed wooden beams. Books were piled up on every table and every shelf, you’re totally surrounded and feel as though they are cascading over you in waves… 

It is mainly classical english literature, but also specialized subject books and an upstairs which features a reading room of old books and also a discussion group which come together every week to discuss a book.   The shop was very busy, and hearing english spoken all around you was an odd feeling after being surrounded by french for the past month. I was suddenly very conscious that most of the people there could understand everything I was saying! It would have been nice to buy a book, but they all seemed quite pricey about 11 euros plus mainly. The internet with the likes of Amazon now allow us to access any book from all over the world so there is less of a need for foreign book shops like these. But I was happy to see that it still seemed popular, and people still flooded there because of its history and of course iconic sign and shop front. 

 

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