Take a leisurely stroll along the left bank of the Seine, past Notre Dame and go into the Shakespeare and Company bookshop. Climb the narrow wooden stairs, pick out a dusty old tome, take a seat on a worn but comfy sofa in the corner next to the contented sleepy black cat and peruse it at your leisure.
It is a quirky bookshop crammed full of all kinds of hidden gems - right opposite Notre Dame. You may recognise it from the Before Sunset film with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. The extremely hospitable owner loves putting up wannabe artists and writers in the rooms above the shop (and friends of the staff - me!).
English bookshop in the heart of the latin quarter, Shakespeare & Co. is an "icontournable" for English speakers. Having lived in Paris for over a year, I spent many hours in the bookshop, reviving my love for English and American novels. Like a small cave with walls built with unending stacks of books, it has a spirit of its own. Photographs of great writers, and literary classics surround a well in the centre of the shop's ground floor. If you miss speaking English, S. & Co. customers are mainly English and American tourists, most of them too amazed by the beauty and wealth of the place to buy anything. You can find almost any book you've dreamt to read, and even write a few lines about the place, on the typewriter on the first floor, also surrounded by books of all sorts. Guarded by a black cat, the place also has a children's book section, as well as German, Russian, and some French literature, stuffed under the staircase. Many photographs recall the visit of some famous writers; Lawrence Ferlinghetti, among others. It is a passionate trip through time and literature. I've spent many rainy Sunday afternoons, just reading through this goldmine of knowledge and great minds. It's not too expensive, so you can come back from Paris with more English books than mini Eiffel Towers!
Another amusing fact, in the time I was there: one of the employees looked somewhat strangely like the great William himself!
37, rue de la Bûcherie, 5th district. Metro stations: St Michel, or Cluny-Sorbonne. Phone: +33 (0) 143 254 093.
Geoff Dyer’s novel is meandering and atmospheric and gives a real feel for the city. Or for non-fiction, go for New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik's wonderful Paris to the Moon, quite the most cultured and intelligent work by a Paris correspondent to be published in recent years.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com