Hemingway’s Favorite Parisian Bookstore

In the 1920s in Paris, when the Lost Generation were taking their café au lait at Les Deux Magots, expatriate writers were habitués of an English language bookstore called Shakespeare and Company, started by transplanted American Sylvia Beach. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce were regulars. Ms. Beach stayed when the Germans arrived in 1940, but had to close the store in ’41. Ernest Hemingway made it his business to personally liberate the store in ‘45. Before Sylvia Beach died, another expatriate American, George Whitman, got her permission to name his very similar Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company. His daughter Sylvia now runs the shop. It is a warren of small, cramped rooms and precarious looking shelving barely containing teetering piles of books. The crowd was dense when we were there and it had the feel of all great bookstores–intellectual curiosity was oozing from every corner of the space.

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  1. Dear Catherine:
    Sounds like it was a lovely trip; lots of family but time to also just explore, which is my favorite thing to do on a vacation. I don’t think that is Mitchell dozing in the bookstore…..

    Comment by Donna Dixon — March 31, 2010 @ 10:10 am

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