Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company is an English-language bookshop in the heart of Paris, on the banks of the Seine, opposite Notre Dame. The bookshop was founded by American George Whitman in 1951 and since then it has been a meeting place for anglophone writers and readers. Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Henry Miller, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, James Jones, Anais Nin, and James Baldwin were among early visitors to the shop.

From the first day the store opened, writers, artists, and intellectuals were invited to sleep in the shop, among the shelves and piles of books, on small beds that doubled as benches during the day. An estimated 40,000 young and young-at-heart writers have accepted the offer over the last six decades, and the program is still going strong today. These residents are called Tumbleweeds after the rolling thistles that drift in and out with the winds of chance. A sense of community and commune was very important to George Whitman, who referred to his shop as a “socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore.”

Sylvia Whitman (George Whitman’s only child) took over running the bookshop in 2006. Since that time she has introduced several new literary endeavors, including a literary festival, The Paris Literary Prize, and a publishing arm which we’re planning to launch next year. We also hold weekly free literary events in the bookstore. We work very hard at keeping the communal, eccentric, bohemian spirit at the heart of Shakespeare and Company alive in the 21st century.

Shakespeare and Company
37 rue de la Bucherie
75005 Paris, France
Telephone +

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