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Sunday, 18 December 2011

Shakespeare & Company



"On Wednesday 14th December, 2011, George Whitman died peacefully at home in the apartment above his bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, in Paris. He died two days after his 98th birthday."
— from shakespeareandcompany.com
On my first visit to Paris, my mum took me to see Shakespeare & Company. In a lovely spot overlooking the Seine, this is no ordinary bookshop. Tucked in amongst the rows of shelves, beds and blankets wait for any stranded writers who may need a place to lay their head. In exchange for this unorthodox accommodation, visitors simply have to give a few hours of their time, helping in the shop. I've always sort of wanted to stay there, just for the romance of the idea, even though I can perfectly well afford a more comfortable bed in a hostel or hotel.

So it was sad to hear of the passing of George Whitman, who founded this Parisian institution. However, his daughter is continuing to run the shop in the same manner, and for as long as the tradition continues, I'm sure George won't be forgotten by the literary community. And if you're in the city, why not pop in and enjoy the atmosphere for yourself?

7 comments:

Yenta Mary said...

One of my favorite pictures is of the storefront of Shakespeare & Co. that I found at a photographer's stand at an art fair. The scribbled chalkboards, the character, the history (as someone who celebrates Bloomsday, this place is hugely significant!) ... a truly cherished place.

Rachel said...

It sounds delightful - yes, on the list for the next visit to Paris...

Lilian Nattel said...

A great tradition--someday i want to visit.

travellersyarn said...

I was shown Shakespeare & Co on my first trip to Paris, and it is a favorite place to visit (not the least because it is a reliable source of reasonably priced english text books).

Kazzy said...

Very cool guy. I am forwarding this post to my writer, Shakespeare-teaching husband.

Charlotte said...

Oh, I wish I had known about this place when I recently visited Paris--sounds right up my alley!

carma said...

what a neat concept. So generous of him to help out stranded writers.

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