Shakespeare and Company is an independent bookstore located in the 5th arrondissement, an icon of Paris’s creative and illustrious Left Bank. Established in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, the store became a gathering place for writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce, and the energy these great personalities left is still tangible. Specialized in English-language material, Shakespeare and Company is both a bookstore and a reading library, so don’t feel shy about plopping down and reading for an hour or two. Tucked away behind stacks of books are nooks filled with chairs and cushions, perfect for squirreling away for an afternoon. My favorite time to visit is during the week in the morning or early afternoon, when it’s quiet and almost empty. The place is small, so it can get packed rather easily. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the upstairs reading room to yourself — a desk is placed in front of a window overlooking the Seine and Notre Dame. How lovely!

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