Shakespeare and Company

Transient

On our second to the last day in Paris, I decided I needed to buy a book from Shakespeare and Company, which has to be the best bookstore in the world. I can't even describe it, but to me it's more than just a shop. It's living and breathing and houses the spirits of writers -- past, present, and future. Maybe it's because I'm an English major, and that's why I think this way. But when you walk to it and through it, you feel inspired. It makes you want to write a poem or a novel. In fact, there's a typewriter upstairs that anyone is free to use. You're encouraged to write your stories and read the stories written by others.

Also, Shakespeare and Company has that perfect old bookstore smell. Is it strange to enjoy that scent?

I wandered around the store and explored upstairs where the "tumbleweeds" stay. I want to be a tumbleweed one day.

I ended up buying a copy of Sound by T.M. Wolf. It jumped out at me from the shelf in the middle of the store. And as I was checking out, the neatest thing happened. I paid with a credit card that had "UT" on it, and the bookstore clerk asked, "Is that University of Texas?" I told him no. It was Tennessee.

"I was just in Tennessee a couple of months ago," he said. "I was helping friends move art in the States, and we stopped in Murfreesboro late one night. We were hungry, and we went to a Waffle House. And while we were there, some homeless man came up to us and tried to sell us crack. When we said no, he asked if we wanted to buy his girlfriend. Man, Tennessee is an interesting place."

The world is small, isn't it?

After a very pleasant visit to Shakespeare and Company, we decided to have a literary-themed dinner and walked through Saint-Germain-des-Prés to eat where Hemingway used to eat.