The Unlikely Bookworm

My Literary Adventure in Paris

ParisA couple of days ago I got back from a long weekend in Paris. And alongside the copious consumption of both rich food and lots of wine I made sure I paid a trip to Shakespeare and Company, one of the French capital’s most famous bookshops.

After graduating, my initial plan was to do a master’s degree in English Literature at Kent University. The course involved spending six months in Paris, but at the time I’d had enough of studying and wanted to spread my wings; thus turning down a scholarship to do the master’s has always been a regret of mine. I had hoped to do a part-time internship at Shakespeare and Company alongside the degree and envisaged myself writing my book at street cafes in the afternoon sun with endless cups of coffee. Alas, it wasn’t to be, so I thought I’d pay Paris a visit for a spot of literary inspiration.Paris

It was every bit as magical as I remembered from my last trip there four years ago, and as a city it’s wonderfully evocative. The French lifestyle ingrained in the culture of Parisians, the architecture that dominates much of the city’s backdrop and the thriving literary scene was of particular interest to me as much of the book I’m currently writing is set in France. Thus, it was very fitting to visit Shakespeare and Company, the American-run bookshop located on the Left Bank with spectacular views of the Notre Dame. The original shop, which doubled as a library, publishers and boarding house for aspiring writers, was opened by American-born bookseller Sylvia Beach and was featured in Ernest Hemingway’s memoir, A Moveable Feast.


The shop itself is quite beautiful with stacks and stacks of books from floor to ceiling and a fabulously antique feel to it. It’s the kind of place that I could happily while away an entire day; thumbing through second-hand books, coming across a rare find or spending the afternoon reading and people-watching.


To torture a cliché, I bought Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a novel that despite not featuring on the BBC’s Top 100, I’ve always wanted to read. And with the Notre Dame glowing outside in the afternoon spring sunshine, it was a temptation I couldn’t resist.

I think it’s safe to say that by the end of my Parisian adventure I was boring anyone who cared to listen, myself included, with my hopes of moving to Paris, shopping in Shakespeare and Company and writing my book aided by endless cups of coffee and croissants. Here’s hoping that one day I can turn it into a reality…

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  1. Kate Pearson
    Posted 6th April 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Celui qui n’a pas de rêve ne peut pas bien vivre…. Good luck! Aunt xx

  2. Malene Nielsen
    Posted 16th April 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I love Shakespeare and company! I have this crazy dream about moving to Paris, and working in Shakespeare and company – but thats highly unlikely. Its a good thing that I´m visiting Paris this summer:)

  3. Posted 15th August 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Great post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I am inspired! Extremely useful information particularly the remaining phase 🙂 I handle such info much. I was seeking this particular info for a long time. Thanks and good luck.

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  • lucy Welcome! I’m Lucy, a long-standing bookworm with a passion for literature and all things bookish. As a former Londoner and current Sydney-sider, this blog will offer you a window into the life of an expat, along with weekly book reviews, travel features and blogging tips, all written lovingly from my bedroom in Bondi. Read More

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