Saturday, April 5, 2014

Shakespeare And Company

As touristy as it is, Shakespeare and Company was one of the places I was most excited to visit when I came to Paris.  I'd heard about so many people going there and how cool the atmosphere and the arrangement of the store are.  It took me forever to finally visit but when I finally did, I absolutely loved it.

No pictures allowed inside so this is the only picture I have.

Shakespeare and Company was opened in 1951 by George Whitman.  After WWII, Whitman decided to remain in Paris rather than returning to America. He took French classes at the Sorbonne and collected books in his tiny hotel room.  A friend of his gave him the idea of opening a real bookstore with the numerous books he had accumulated and, after finding a small apartment near Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company was born.

Shakespeare and Company has so many nooks and crannies and, immediately once you step inside, you feel immersed into another world. Time moves slower and your only concern are books and the history of the place.  It helps when there aren't many tourists, which there usually are, so I'm want to return at a time when they won't be there and I can really explore the building.  

I read a Buzzfeed article recently about the community of people who work at Shakespeare and Company also live there, as their pay.  The author said that you can live at Shakespeare and Company as long as you work in the store for a few hours each day and write every day. I'm sure there are a few more details in the arrangement but that sounds absolutely amazing.  It must be such a rewarding experience, to live and work in a place with so much creative and literary history alongside others with a creative mindset. I really am going to look into how it's possible because it's something I want to do someday.

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