(Disclaimer: Today I felt like doing a little reminiscing. Forgive the indulgence.)
In all my travels, one of the places that remains nearest and dearest to my heart is the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris. Situated on the left bank directly across the street from the Seine, this bookshop has been a literary haven for Anglophones in France since before my generation was born.
I stayed for less than two weeks, but somehow, it made an almost physical impression on me. And it certainly did nothing to diminish my overly-romanticized understanding of Paris.
We did the whole shebang: red wine by the Seine, late-night city walks, riding around on a moped through the crazy Parisian roads, eating a baguette and cheese for breakfast, chess games on the cobblestones, bathing only once or twice a week, watching buskers at the foot of the Notre Dame, and reading and writing and reading and writing all the damn day.
The shop and its owner, George Whitman, both have an impressive and fascinating history. But that aside, this place simply feels CHARGED, if you know what I mean. Like anything is possible, everyone is a genius, and everything, including tragedy, is beautiful.
37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris. Next time you’re in town, go there. I urge you.
(Images from the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore website.)