Behind the curtains at Shakespeare and Company book store

You might know the Shakespeare and Company bookshop from popular films like Midnight in Paris or Before Sunset.

You might know it from your last visit to Paris… heck, you may have even bought a book here.

But what really goes on at the iconic and mysterious Shakespeare and Company?

Is it true that they let writers sleep here for free? (Yes) Is it true they’re removing the roof and renovating its insides? (Well, yes and no). And can you get a copy of my new memoir there? (Amazingly, yes!)

Today’s podcast guest is Adam Biles, the book store’s events manager. We recorded inside the upstairs reading library, which features George Whitman’s private collection.

Adam has lived in Paris for 15 years and worked at the book store for over three years. We chatted about books, Tumbleweeds, Notre Dame, and how the lockdown has affected the shop. 

Here’s the chat again, this time via Spotify.

Oh yes, and while we’re typically not allowed to take photos inside Shakespeare and Co, Adam was kind enough to let me snap away for this post. Here’s a look inside.

You can the Notre Dame Poetry book Adam mentioned here for €6 and grab my book, Paris On Air, from the book shop here for €20. Visit their website here.

Lastly, if you’re enjoying The Earful Tower, why not become a member and catch my live walk shows from around the Eiffel Tower on Tuesday. I’ve been living in the neighbourhood this whole week and I’ve got some special tourist-free treats to share 🙂

3 thoughts on “Behind the curtains at Shakespeare and Company book store

  1. Liked this. Some years back when Sylvia first came to be permanently at Shakespeare & Co. she initiated a travel writers festival. I came, all the way from Minneapolis, and spent 5 days with the shop as the center of all activities. Renowned travel writers spoke, mingled and sold books in a white tent set up in the nearby park. The event continued on with a two-day writers workshop in the store. Managed by Traveller’s Tales, London. We wrote. Walked around Paris and wrote more. Plus lovely dinners ensemble nightly. George Whitman was still alive then as well. Interesting but a bit bizarre then. In his 90’s. It was a great week. I do remember having to climb a fairly steep red stepladder to get to the 2nd floor. There seems to be a red stairway there now. Quite an experience. I bought so many books that I had to ship them home. An unforgettable week.

  2. Loved this interview on Shakespeare and Company, “as if the moon had split in two,” and lots of interesting comments about interviewing people. Loren Stephens

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