When my husband surprised me with a trip to Paris one of my first thoughts was, “I get to go to Shakespeare & Company!” Because that’s what book
nerds lovers do. They get excited about visiting independent bookstores while on vacation.
Did I gasp when I saw the Eiffel Tower? The glass pyramid at the Louvre? The Arc de Triomphe? NO. Did I gasp when I first laid eyes on Shakespeare and Company. Yes. Yes I did.
I planned my day around this visit, knowing I would most likely have a bag of books to carry around afterwards. I knew that I wanted to buy something by both Hemingway and Fitzgerald, choosing to stay in The Lost Generation section of the store.
There were signs all over the store asking for “No Photos.” Without saying a word, my husband silently took out this phone and followed me around the store secretly taking pictures. We’re rebels like that.
There were so many books to look at, I could have spent all day. It was fun finding the new release Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky, one of my favorite reads of the summer.
As far as independent bookstores go, this one totally lived up to the hype. My only complaint? Too many other people. Oh to have been the only one in the store. If only…
One of the traditions at this store is to have your book inscribed with the classic Shakespeare and Company stamp which has been a tradition since the 1950’s. When I got up to the counter and the woman checked me out asked, “Would you like your book stamped?” I couldn’t help but laugh. Uh, yeah, I want my book stamped. Who wouldn’t?
In the end, I was careful with my book purchases, considering I had to get them all home. I couldn’t decide on a Hemingway so I bought two by Fitzgerald instead, including a beautiful copy of Gatsby (which I’m embarrassed to admit I have never read.) I also bought a blank journal (Husband: What are you going to write in there? Me: I have no idea.), and a tote even though I needed another tote like I needed a hole in my head. I am so grateful that I was able to visit this iconic store and maybe one day, if I’m lucky, I can go back when no one else is there.