When it comes to independent bookstores, there’s only one that can really take the crown as queen of them all: Shakespeare and Company in Paris. This legendary bibliophile heaven located in Paris’s artsy left bank is more than just a bookstore; it’s a free library, literary events space, and an inn for aspiring writers and artists. Founded in 1919 by American expat Sylvia Beach, the bookstore played host to many legendary witers over the decades, from Ernest Hemmingway and James Joyce all the way to Dave Eggers and Zadie Smith. Although the store’s current incarnation opened in the 1950’s (after Beach’s original bookstore closed during the Nazi occupation of France), it stays true to Beach’s vision and has old-world charm bursting out of every corner—think dangling chandeliers, brocade couches, and towering stacked bookshelves. There’s even an antique piano and beds wedged between the shelves (those aspiring artists have to sleep somewhere). Their book stock includes everything under the sun, from trendy modern classics like Sally Rooney’s Ordinary People to pricey but beautiful vintage finds, like J.G. Ballard’s The Crystal World. When you take your books to checkout, you can get accessorize them with a Shakespeare & Co. stamp, a spritz of perfume, a pocket-sized poem tucked between their pages, or a memento note left by one of the store’s countless visitors. And after your buys, you can pop by their adjoining Shakespeare and Company Café for a latte and a cinnamon roll. And, you know, maybe never leave?
Shakespeare and Company
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, Paris
Open Monday-Saturday 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Sundays 12:30 PM to 8:00 PM