Staying in the Latin Quarter, one cannot walk past and not drop into the Shakespeare and Co bookstore. Much has already been written about it so I only quote from what is written outside the shop on a blackboard that reminded me of my schooldays.


Some people call me the Don Quixote of the Latin Quarter because my head is so far up in the clouds that I can imagine all of us are angels in paradise. And instead of being a bonafide bookseller, I am more like a frustrated novelist.

This store has rooms like chapters in a novel and the fact is Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are more real to me than my next door neighbours and even stranger to me is the fact that even before I was born Dostoyevsky wrote the story of my life in a book called ‘The Idiot’ and ever since reading it, I have been searching for the heroine, a girl called Nastasya Filipovna.

One hundred years ago my bookstore was a wine shop hidden from the Seine by an annex of the Hotel Dieu Hospital which has since been demolished and replaced by a garden.

Further back in the year 1600, our whole building was a monastery called ‘La Maison du Mustier.’ In Medieval times each monastery had a Frere Lampier whose duty was to light the lamps at nightfall.

I have been doing this for fifty years. Now it is my daughters turn.

-George Whitman, 2004″