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Shakespeare and Co.

Iconic bookstore for book lovers in Paris

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Welcome to our comprehensive travel guide for visiting Shakespeare and Company, a destination known for its unique blend of cultural richness, history, and educational value in Paris, France. Here, you will find detailed insights into what makes Shakespeare and Company such a unique cultural attraction.

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Details

37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France

+33 1 43 25 40 93

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Monday - Saturday: 10AM-8PM, Sunday: 12-7PM

Cultural Heritage Review

How We Evaluate

1. Universal Appeal and Cultural Authenticity
We assess Shakespeare and Company for its universal charm and the authenticity of its cultural offerings. Our data comes from a mix of traveler reviews, expert opinions from travel publications, and insights from local cultural institutions. This helps us gauge how Shakespeare and Company resonates with both local and international visitors.

2. Cultural Richness and Educational Value
At ViaTravelers, we believe in the transformative power of learning through travel. Shakespeare and Company is evaluated for its educational content, which is sourced from collaborations with educational institutions and local cultural organizations, ensuring that visitors receive a deeply enriching experience.

3. Preservation and Integrity
We collaborate with conservation experts and local preservation bodies to understand the efforts made towards maintaining Shakespeare and Company and it’s local impact on Paris. This criterion ensures that the site remains intact and true to its historical and cultural significance.

4. Accessibility and Visitor Engagement
Accessibility is key to inclusive travel experiences. We analyze visitor facilities, engagement activities, and accessibility features through feedback from actual visitors and accessibility-focused platforms. This ensures that every traveler to Shakespeare and Company enjoys a welcoming and engaging visit.

Commitment to Authenticity
Please note, the inclusion of Shakespeare and Company in our guides is based solely on personal visits by ViaTravelers or our community members, which can be seen through our unique travel photography. This ensures that all information we publish is genuine and directly experienced-based.

Universal Appeal and Cultural Authenticity
Cultural Richness and Educational Value
Preservation and Integrity
Accessibility and Visitor Engagement

Overall Rating: 4.6 / 5

Global Influence

  • Shakespeare and Company is globally recognized as one of the most famous independent bookstores, attracting visitors from around the world.
  • The bookstore is a significant tourist attraction in Paris, drawing international visitors interested in literary history and culture.
  • It has profoundly influenced global literary and cultural movements, serving as a sanctuary for progressive and avant-garde writers and artists.
  • Shakespeare and Company has been involved in international literary events and collaborations, fostering connections between writers, artists, and thinkers from different countries.

Historical Impact

  • Shakespeare and Company played a pivotal role in Paris’s literary and artistic scene in the 1920s and 30s, hosting notable figures such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce.
  • The current building, located on the Left Bank of the Seine, holds historical significance as a gathering place for expatriate writers and intellectuals during the interwar period.
  • The bookstore has contributed to preserving local and national literary history, particularly by supporting aspiring writers and promoting English literature in a predominantly French-speaking city.
  • Notable historical figures associated with Shakespeare and Company include the founder, Sylvia Beach, and George Whitman, who revived the bookstore in the 1950s.

Preservation Efforts

  • Current preservation efforts at Shakespeare and Company focus on maintaining the historical integrity of the building while continuing to operate as a functioning bookstore and cultural hub.
  • Organizations such as the Shakespeare and Company Project at Princeton University are involved in documenting and preserving the historical and cultural significance of the bookstore.
  • Preservation efforts are supported by funding from literary and cultural organizations and contributions from bookstore patrons and supporters.
  • The community, including local residents, writers, and artists, actively participates in preservation efforts through events, readings, and advocacy for the continued existence of Shakespeare and Company as a literary institution.

Shakespeare and Co. in Paris: A Cultural Landmark

Historical Significance

Shakespeare and Company holds a rich historical significance. It was established in 1951 by George Whitman, continuing the legacy of Sylvia Beach’s original Shakespeare and Company, which was a gathering place for notable literary figures such as Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald in the 1920s. The store was named after Sylvia Beach’s original bookstore, which was a haven for expatriate writers in the 1920s.

Cultural Importance

Shakespeare and Company is deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of Paris and beyond. It has been a haven for writers, poets, and intellectuals, contributing to the city’s literary heritage. The bookstore has played a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community among writers and book lovers, and it continues to host literary events, book readings, and discussions, thus enriching the local arts and literary scene.

Architectural Style

Shakespeare and Company’s architectural style exudes a charming and eclectic ambiance. Housed in a 16th-century building on Paris’s Left Bank, the bookstore features a mix of historical elements and cozy, bohemian interiors. Its unique design elements include cozy reading nooks, creaky wooden floors, and shelves brimming with literary treasures, creating an inviting and nostalgic atmosphere.

Visitor Experience

Visitors to Shakespeare and Company can expect a truly immersive experience into the world of literature and history. While there are no guided tours, the store’s ambiance itself provides a captivating journey through literary history. Visitors can explore the extensive collection of books, attend occasional literary events, and engage in conversations with fellow book enthusiasts. The general ambiance is cozy, with a sense of intellectual curiosity and creativity permeating the air.

Accessibility and Amenities

Shakespeare and Company is accessible to various groups of people, including families and disabled individuals. The store is equipped with amenities such as restrooms and offers a comfortable environment for browsing and reading. While there is no cafe or gift shop within the bookstore, visitors can find nearby establishments for refreshments and souvenirs.

Best Time to Visit

  • Weekday Mornings: Visiting on a weekday morning, particularly around 10:30 AM, typically results in shorter wait times and a less crowded atmosphere, allowing for a more relaxed browsing experience.
  • Early Saturday Morning: Arriving early on a Saturday, around the store’s opening time at 10 AM, can help avoid the peak weekend crowds, providing a more pleasant visit.
  • Winter Visits: During the winter months, the bookstore tends to be less crowded overall, making it an ideal time for those looking to explore with minimal interruptions.

Ratings and Reviews

Shakespeare and Company consistently receives high praise for its unique ambiance, rich literary history, and the sense of community it fosters. Visitors often commend the bookstore for its welcoming atmosphere and the opportunity to immerse themselves in a world of literature. Common complaints are rare, but some visitors note the limited seating space during peak hours. Compared to similar attractions in the area, Shakespeare and Company stands out for its historical significance and authentic literary charm.

Photographic Opportunities

Shakespeare and Company offers numerous photogenic spots, including the iconic storefront facing the Seine River and the cozy interior filled with books and reading corners. The exterior of the building, with its historic facade and charming window displays, offers excellent photo opportunities. The warm glow of the interior lighting during the evening also provides a captivating backdrop for photographs.

  • Universal Appeal and Cultural Authenticity: Scoring this criterion at 85, Shakespeare and Company maintains a high level of cultural authenticity. The bookstore stays true to its literary heritage and the spirit of its founders, making it a beloved spot for book lovers worldwide. Its unique ambiance and the tradition of stamping books help in preserving its original charm.
  • Cultural Richness and Educational Value: With a rating of 90, the bookstore excels in cultural richness and educational value. It continues to serve as a hub for literary activities, including book readings, discussions, and events. This enriches Paris’s cultural and intellectual landscape, making it a valuable educational resource.
  • Preservation and Integrity: Scoring 80, Shakespeare and Company’s preservation efforts are commendable but face challenges due to its high foot traffic. The physical structure and historical aspects are well-maintained, although many visitors can sometimes detract from the intimate atmosphere the bookstore is known for.
  • Accessibility and Visitor Engagement: Rated at 75, the location is somewhat accessible but faces challenges with crowd management. The bookstore’s popularity means it can get quite crowded, which impacts the visitor experience. Despite this, the store offers unique ways for visitors to engage, such as reading spaces, the piano, and book stamping, making each visit memorable.

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