Shakespeare and Company is an English-language bookshop in the heart of Paris, on the banks of the Seine, opposite Notre-Dame. Since it was established in 1951, Shakespeare and Company has thrown open its doors to all sorts of writers, artists, and intellectuals who sought refuge. In exchange, Tumbleweeds (as guests came to be called) are asked only to “read a book a day,” help out in the shop for a couple of hours, and write a single-page autobiography for its archives. The bookshop has housed an estimated 30,000 Tumbleweeds.
Throughout his life, George Whitman traveled the world as a self-proclaimed “tumbleweed,” blowing from place to place, sheltered by the grace of strangers.
Wishing to repay the generosity he encountered during his journeys, George founded the bookstore in 1951 with the motto “be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise” and threw open the doors to all sorts of writers, artists, and intellectuals who sought refuge.
In exchange, Tumbleweeds (as guests came to be called) were asked only to “read a book a day,” help out in the shop for a couple of hours, and write a single-page autobiography for George’s archives. Today, the bookshop has housed an estimated 30,000 Tumbleweeds, our shelves are crammed with autobiographies and stories of romances played out beneath the beams, and—most importantly—we have no intention of closing our doors.
If you’d like to know more about becoming a Tumbleweed, please email email@example.com with “Tumbleweed” in the subject line.
*Please note that the charm of the Tumbleweed program lies in its communal nature, so be ready to share your space with others. Privacy is not really an option!
37 rue de la Bûcherie
75005 Paris, France
Main ShopMonday to Saturday, 10am to 10pm
Sunday, 12:30pm to 8pm
AntiquarianTuesday to Saturday, 11am to 7pm
CaféMonday to Friday, 9:30am-7pm
Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am-8pm
Photo: http://www.bl.uk, http://www.biography.com