Friday, November 7, 2014

Shakespeare and Company: book heaven

If you want a treat, read the following article in this month's Vanity Fair about Shakespeare and Company, the famous bookstore opposite Notre Dame in Paris, one of my favourite places in the world. It's a wistful portrait of a time when books mattered, when writers were honourable vagabonds, when someone like George Whitman could not just exist but flourish and make a difference to countless creative souls. A million thanks to him for being the generous book-loving eccentric that he was, and to his strong and beautiful daughter Sylvia for keeping the whole shmear going against the odds. Can't wait to visit again.

One of my fondest dreams - that one day one of my books might be found there. I know, the chances are almost nil, but you never know. Keep your fingers crossed.

The magazine's pictures of the store are in the print version. Below are mine from my visit in 2009, including one of the famous beds where vagabonds sleep, and someone madly playing the piano upstairs.


  1. Your photos take me there, Beth. It's a wonderful place with an inspiring history. A friend who was one of those vagabonds, who slept there, recommends Jeremy Mercer's Time Was Soft There, which I've been meaning to read, and now will look for....

  2. It's wonderful, Theresa, as small independent bookstores fold all around us, that so many still exist in Paris - because they're subsidized by the government. Yes, I found that out when I was there - all those obscure bookstores, and this famous one, are given grants by the state to keep them in business. If only here, eh? Will look for the book.