Gadgets for book lovers

Biggist Bookish Wish Came True… May 29, 2009

Filed under: Book Shops — Kim @ 1:49 am

I have many bookish wishes. Usually those wishes are about books I want to own one day. My biggest wish is about a place I wanted to visit. Probably the most famous bookstore in the world… Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France. If you do not know what I’m talking about, read this post I did a couple of years ago.

Last week, I took my mom to Paris to make one of her big wishes come true. To visit the city and Versailles in perticular. I got the chance to visit Shakespeare and Co and I was blown away. It was exactly what I imagined it to be… When my mum rang my dad the next day, he asked if we managed to visit ‘my’ bookstore. She said that we did and that I ‘had the biggest smile and my face and could not stop smiling’.

I just thought I went to heaven. It was so special to finally visit this bookstore I have been longing to see for such a long time. Since I know a lot of you are also very passionate about this little shop, I took as many photo’s as I could to show you. Click on ‘more’ for the photo tour.


Photo Tour of Shakespeare and Company, Paris


Obviously, this the the front of the shop. I just loved all the bookcases outside and all the people hovering around. Or just sitting down with a book and a cup of coffee. Possibly even meeting new people, who also have warm feelings for the shop…

The shop is located perfectly. You can find it opposite the Notre Dame, appropriately at the Rue de Bucherie. It’s easy to reach by underground/tube. There are a lot of cafés next to it, so you can sit down and look trough your purchases with a nice glass of wine…



This is where my tour begins. The first thought you have when you enter the store is that is absolutely packed with books. And the atmosphere! It feels so serene. So calm. You can just feel the love. The love for books. For people who read them. A sanctuary for book lovers. And those are present. From every country you can think of…



This photo is taken with my back to the previous photo. You get a good look of the entry and the cashiers desk, on the left. Don’t you just love the chandelier? I later ran in to the elderly gentleman and his dog when I was upstairs. First the dog came up the stairs. Then the man came crawling up. Really! Later I realized this must have been mr. Whitman himself. Since I do not know what he looks like these days, I am still not 100% sure…



The shop has fantastic features all over the place. Besides the books. Why this well is in the middle of the shop, I do not know. I wonder if books ever fell in there. On the chair sits my mother, holding the book I picked for my husband. If you like, they even put a stamp in it as a souvenir. Even though I hate putting things into books permanently, as you know, I had it stamped. My husband was very happy with this special gift…



The decoration of the shop definitely adds to its charm. Like the light fitting you’ve seen before, this wonderful chair just belongs there. For shoppers to sit and read in. Or in this case, to put books in. As you’ve probably noticed by now, the books are everywhere.



We climbed the stairs and have gone upstairs now. There you are greeted by this note. I was amazed. Where in the world can you find a bookstore that does not sell the majority of its stock?! Shakespeare and Company is all about the love of books, which this note proves.



When I turned left, I noticed this huge noticeboard. People from all over the world have left a little note here. And often passport photo’s. I went through my pockets in hopes to find a piece of paper. And could not find any. But that was okay. I thought that posting the photo of it here, would be my souvenir.



Don’t you just love this phrase?! It must be one of George’s lines. (Again, if you do not know what I’m talking about read the post mentioned above…) By the looks of it, people are still welcomed with open arms. You’ll see what I mean later on… During my visit people were reading to each other in the room in the back. Their voices and the literature filled the little space upstairs. The next picture is taken in the alcove to the left of the reading girl…



In this little space I found this. Books, more books. Loads of books. And a typewriter. Like somebody, an angel in disguise, was working their a minute ago. Writing great things inspired by the vibe in the shop, by the people who work there. And the lady who runs it…



This is just round the corner from the message board, still upstairs. The dim lit room probably is that way on purpose. It is a bedroom too. The books are lying on a bed. The resting place of an artist who gets a place to sleep in return for their work in the shop. Opposite this bed is another one.

Two American tourist were sitting on that bed with their mouths open. One of them taking pictures. When he greeted me, I asked him: “You do know you’re sitting on somebodies bed, right?” He pulled a guilty face and said: “Yes, I know…” Another fan of the store…



We are downstairs again. Even though the shop is crammed with books, there is a method to the madness. It is surprisingly easy to find your way around the store. All the books are very neatly placed into categories. There are quite new books there, but very old ones too. The one thing they have in common is that they are all in English. And that the price is written in pencil on the first page.



What you see here are drawings, photographs and other artwork of the shop. I asked if they had any artwork of the shop for sale. Unfortunately they have not. I would have loved to buy one for my library. I thought the idea of the frames was very interesting. I might even find a spot a home to copy the idea…



This is the other side of the cashier’s desk, which is on the right this time. I made my way to it after this picture. Of course I had to buy something as a souvenir and as a gift for my husband. You take your books away in a brown paper bag with the company name on it. I know it’s silly, but I kept the bags. They stand proud in a corner of my library.



23 Responses to “Biggist Bookish Wish Came True…”

  1. trav Says:

    This is FANTASTIC! It looks to be everything I envisioned. It’s amazing how many of my books mention that shop.
    I’ll just end my comment here before I break into a rant about how jealous I am!
    Thanks for sharing the pics!


  2. This is a famous quote from the Bible, Hebrews 13:2. In the King James Version, it is: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

  3. That is a fantastic old fashioned style bookstore. The closest thing I can think of to it might be Green Apple Books in San Francisco which I would go to when I was growing up. It has that classic air which comes from piles of books on tables and tall wooden bookcases overstuffed with books.

  4. koen Says:

    Hi, Kim. Look what I found when I was in Paris.

  5. Martin Says:

    Je moet helemaal gek geworden zijn daar! Ik wed dat je nu al de inrichting van je bibliotheekkamer aan het wijzigen bent!

    I guess you went crazy there! And bet that you are changing your own library room right now!

    • Kim Says:

      I did not go wild on my shopping spree. I had to take them home in my suitcase too, you know.

      I did buy something for myself you might be jealous of… Or you might have it already. Since I’m such an Anglofiliac, I bought a three volume reprint of the Domesday Book published by The Folio Society.

      That took some rearranging of my table, because they deserved to have a spot there 🙂 Even more so since I have an English style library, as you know…

  6. h. Says:

    It’s a living library. We visited it in april 2009 and there was only one problem: we couldn’t stay there for more than 4 hours…

  7. Dewi Says:

    The store looks so cute! If I’m ever in Paris, which I’ll hopefully visit one day, I’ll certainely visit that little bookshop.

    And nice to read a blog of you, I’ve been missing them.



    • Kim Says:

      I’m sorry! Your comment actually made me sit behind my computer right now to make some posts. Thank you for that!

  8. Kylie Says:

    I would love to visit that bookshop. I’m so envious of you!

    And I don’t think it’s silly at all that you kept the brown paper bags. They are definitely a souvenir in their own right.

    I’m really happy for you that you got to fulfil your dream of visiting Shakespeare and Company.

  9. Roberta Says:

    Wow! I’ll bet it felt you’d died and gone to heaven! Those are terrific photos, btw. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Jennifer Says:

    Wow! Thanks for taking me on a wonderful tour. I’m so in love with this book store.

  11. […] the post I did recently about the Paris based bookshop Shakespeare and Company? (If not, click here.) It has been brought to my attention (thank you Ineke!) that there is a book about Shakespeare and […]

  12. […] recently been to the shop, I could picture the adventures of Mercer in this shop vividly. (Click here to read the post about my visit to the […]

  13. Debra Lynn Says:

    What a wonderful way to spend the day. I would love to visit this quaint bookstore. I could get lost in there and not want to be found…..

  14. Bhaikon Borthakur Says:

    Great blog,thanks.I am thinking of opening a small bookstore to cater to select readers in Assam ,India.Kindly suggest.

  15. […] (2.085) Top 3 of Kimbooktu’s favorite posts in the last year: (Click on the title to read) 1. Biggest bookish wish came true 2. Kimbooktu writes for Bookstore Guide 3. Kimbooktu’s library at night Total of comments until […]

  16. […] and company. This is a pretty famous English bookshop near the Notre Dame in Paris. See these photos to get an […]

  17. Helene Hibbert Says:

    Shakespeare & Co. Je vous aime. Helene H.

  18. […] de winkel heeft bezocht en er een mooi verslag van heeft gemaakt, alsmede naar een fotoverslag van Kimbooktu. Op de site van Shakespeare and Company zijn voorbeelden van het archief te […]

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