Shakespeare and Company

Away from all the hustle and bustle of the city and the busy metro system sits a building full of books just off of the Seine. This bookstore is filled with stories that transport readers to new places and allows them to gain knowledge about the world around them. It has been a safe haven for numerous writer and readers trying to escape to a new place and enjoy peace and tranquility. This bookstore is called Shakespeare and Company.

This is a place that Ernest Hemmingway called “warm” and “cheerful”(Page 328). It’s a place that writers, readers, others looking for a peaceful spot can go to. Here you don’t have to worry about what is going on around you but just live in the moment and take a break from reality. Hemmingway mentioned in his novel, A Moveable Feast how Shakespeare and Company had “shelves of books, new books in the window, and photographs on the wall of famous writers both dead and living” (Page 328). Today it is still the same with shelves upon shelves of books. You can find books about poetry or novels that transport you to the past. There are also areas filled with children’s books, cook books, and more!

Upstairs there are many spots that readers can sit to take some time out of their day and read. Readers can be found enjoying their books on chairs, benches, or just sitting on the floor leaning against the bookshelves. Everyone looks so immersed in their read that they could stay there for hours. While walking along the halls of the bookstore I saw a couple sitting reading books. After a little while the man asked the woman if she wanted to go to Notre Dame which is just across the street. The woman’s response was “just a few more minutes” as she continued to read.

Shakespeare and Company is a place that individuals can go to experience a different side to Paris, the literary side. They know that they can always see the monuments and must sees around the city, but are also able to experience this special place which has been visited by so many others.

As people enter this bookstore some know what they want to get, but others just walk the halls and grab what stands out to them. You will see people leave with piles of books that they have found and absolutely can’t let go of. As you buy your books they will stamp the front page with a very special stamp that says Shakespeare and Company Kilometer Zero Paris to let all others know that that was the place you got the book, not just any bookstore.

Individuals know that this bookstore will always be there for them. With its ceiling high book shelves, creaky floors, and its narrow walkways it is home to many. Sylvia Beach once said “Shakespeare and Company remained open. The war went on” (Page 428). This shows no matter what happens there will be a place for writers and readers alike to go and experience a sense of peace.


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