Shakespeare & Company
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Shakespeare & Company information
Lonely Planet review
This bookshop is the stuff of legends. A kind of spell descends as you enter, weaving between nooks and crannies overflowing with new and secondhand English-language books. The original shop (12 rue l’Odéon, 6e; closed by the Nazis in 1941) was run by Sylvia Beach and became the meeting point for Hemingway’s ‘Lost Generation’. Readings by emerging and illustrious authors take place at 7pm most Mondays; it also hosts workshops and festivals.
American-born George Whitman opened the present incarnation in 1951, attracting a beat-poet clientele, and scores of authors have since passed through its doors. In 2006 Whitman was awarded the Officier des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, recognising ‘significant contribution to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance’. Whitman died in 2011, aged 98; he is buried in division 73 of Cimetière du Père Lachaise. Today his daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, maintains Shakespeare & Company’s serendipitous magic. It's fabled for nurturing writers, and at night its couches turn into beds where writers stay in exchange for stacking shelves.