Book A Stay

Book A Stay
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On a typical night at Shakespeare and Company, you might find someone curled up with a book on a little bunk above the Children’s Section or a spot marked for sleeping near the Poetry Nook. These are the “Tumbleweeds” of the bookstore. At Shakespeare and Company, you are welcome to stay free of charge; you only need to follow the eternal tenets of the bookstore: work around the shop a few hours, write a one-page autobiography, and read a book every day. Established in 1951 by George Whitman, this literary sanctuary at 37 rue de la Bûcherie along Paris’s Left Bank has sheltered over 40,000 people and continues to host regular literary events.

Whitman started letting out his shop to all sorts of guests, or “Tumbleweeds”, to pay back for the generosity he received from strangers during his travels. There is a Writer’s Studio on the first floor with a small bed wedged above the staff lockers where you can sleep. Don’t expect privacy here, but be ready to share your space with strangers, all united by their love for books. At the entrance to the library, a reminder hangs: “Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers Lest They Be Angels in Disguise.”

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