Shakespeare & Co
Shakespeare and Company, on the Left Bank just across the Seine from Notre Dame (37, rue de la Boucherie). This bookstore, often confused with the one founded by Sylvia Beach on 30 Rue de l'Odéon and frequented by Hemingway, opened its doors to booklovers and emerging writers such as Allen Ginsberg and the Beats 30 years later in the ‘50s. However, both sell primarily English-language books.
What gives this bookstore its charming characteristic is the "Tumbleweed Hotel" on the second floor.
Here, bookworms--nicknamed "tumbleweeds"-- are welcome to stay the night on one of the three rather shabby beds for free. The "payment" is to read a book and leave a short autobiography, or help out with some chores, which most gladly do. The permanent residents on these beds are two housecats, who pay little attention to the comings and goings of visitors.
On the other end of the second floor, which faces Notre Dame, you will find some wooden benches next to shelves of books, stacked all the way up to the ceiling. Here, you can sit and chat with friends without feeling obliged to purchase anything. Perfect for low-budget travelers who love a good intellectual conversation!