The best thing to ever happen to Paris has happened: Shakespeare & Company, the famous English bookstore that has kept the literary-artistic spirit alive in Paris for 64 years, has opened a coffee shop! I’m only exaggerating a little when I say this is the best thing in Paris right now. Bookstores and coffee shops go together like wine and cheese, or peanut butter and jelly, whichever cultural food reference you prefer. My first thought was – why didn’t they do this sooner?! I visited the brand new cafe as soon as I heard it was opening, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The interior is lined with bookshelves and the rough-around-the-edges décor echoes the interior of the main bookshop perfectly. There’s a collection of fun books and gifts to the right of the main door, and above the glass food case is a menu in Franglais.
The inside space is limited, but what more can you expect with such a prime location? Out the windows you can see the gothic architecture of Notre Dame cathedral. Thankfully, they placed a few large tables with stools outside. They actually ended up using the back portion of the existing building to expand the children’s section in the bookshop, which was an extremely good idea since space is so incredibly limited there, as anybody who’s visited Paris in the summer high-season can attest to.
The food selection here is provided by Bob’s Food Etc, who have already established themselves firmly in the new-wave, healthy Parisian food scene with three locations. They do juices, bagels, salads, and make copious use of vegetables and fruits in most of their food products. In other words – my kind of food. This time, I went for a cream cheese and lox bagel with some kind of juice with carrots in it. It was delicious and healthy.
One of my favorite details were the paper placemats. They listed 30 questions relating to books, thought and imagination like “what to you is the most beautiful word or words?” and “who would play you in the movie of your life?” I could see these questions turning into amazing conversations.
Shakespeare and Company Café is located right next to the bookstore at:
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris
Metro Saint Michel