Click on images for enlarged views.
I posted about Shakespeare & Co in the first post on this blog back in April 2006. Don't confuse this bookstore with the bookstore chain in NYC that is not connected but borrowed the name. My daughter happened upon it this summer.
This one is across the Seine from the Notre Dame cathedral on the Left Bank. Mr. George Whitman is a character and a half in his 90s who has lived in Paris most of his life. He owns this quirky bookstore and keeps it as earthy and vibrant as he seems to keep himself. (Does he really "trim" his hair with flames from a candle?)
George Whitman (photo from the Shakespeare & Co website)
If you click and enlarge this image of a blackboard, you can read what George Whitman has written.
He and his daughter Sylvia run the place. They invite nomadic writers and students to sleep in a bed upstairs and sweep up or tidy piles of books for their keep (and you must read a book a day).
They also invite famous writers to read from their works, Henry Miller among them some time ago.
In May 2006 I visited the bookstore as I do whenever I visit Paris. This time I joined a poetry group upstairs for a reading. The stairs are treacherous. There were probably 30 people in this little room. The pew I sat on against the wall was falling apart. I met a film attorney from LA who said she'd come speak to our film students, and listened to some terrific poetry.
Upstairs room for readings
Cecilia Woloch and a group of her poetry fans and students. (Click on her name and read a poem or two on her site; she's very good.)