Popularized – among other things – by the movie Before Sunset (that I have yet to see), Shakespeare and Company is one of the most fascinating bookstores in Paris and possibly in France if not beyond.
Please note that contrarily to popular belief, it is not Sylvia Beach’s bookstore where Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, André Gide, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein and many more used to hang out (or at least shop for books).
Sylvia Beach’s bookstore closed in 1940 because of the German occupation, and while it was liberated by Hemingway himself in 1944 (right after or before he also liberated the Ritz Hotel), it never reopened.
This bookstore was open in 1951 by George Whitman and was renamed Shakespeare and Company in honor of Ms Beach after her death (she had offered the name to Mr. Whitman a few years earlier).
If you’re ever in Paris, make sure you stop there, but don’t forget it’s not just a cool looking and somewhat famous bookstore. Its history and what it stands for is even more interesting than its looks. To know more about it, please check Shakespeare and Company’s official site.