Meet Agatha, Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, Paris, France
MEET THE CAT : AGATHA
A cat snuggled on your lap, a good book and a coffee is probably our most favourite thing in the world to do here at Hotels With Cats headquarters. Ohhh, and probably going to Paris. Here at this magical old world bookstore you can combine the three! Shakespeare and Company, Paris is arguably one of the most famous bookstores in the world, and lucky for all us book and cat lovers out there they have a long history of resident cats.
Before Agatha arrived, there had been seven cats called Kitty who had gracefully patrolled the shelves in the old bookshop over the years. In 2016 after the last "kitty" passed away, 12 year old Agatha moved swiftly in to live out her retirement days. She was appropriately named Agatha, because she was found in the mystery and crime section. (Thankfully, they have a new staff member named Kitty, so they are not without one for the first time in history!) Agatha can often be found upstairs snuggling on someone's lap, and is known to get quite vocal when she hasn't had enough visitors to talk to according to Shakespeare and Co's manager, Octavia, pictured below.
"I created this bookstore like a man would write a novel, building each room like a chapter, and I like people to open the door the way they open a book, a book that leads into a magic world in their imaginations" — George Whitman
Shakespeare and Company is an independent bookshop in the heart of Paris, on the banks of the Seine. Since opening in 1951, it’s been a meeting place for writers and readers, becoming a global literary institution.
When the store first opened, it was called Le Mistral. George changed it to the present name in April 1964—on the four-hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth—in honor of a bookseller he admired, Sylvia Beach, who’d founded the original Shakespeare and Company in 1919.
From the first day the store opened, writers, artists, and intellectuals were invited to sleep among the shop’s shelves and piles of books, on small beds that doubled as benches during the day. Since then, an estimated 30,000 young and young-at-heart writers and artists have stayed in the bookshop, including then unknowns such as Alan Sillitoe, Robert Stone, Kate Grenville, Sebastian Barry, Ethan Hawke, Jeet Thayil, Darren Aronfsky, Geoffrey Rush, and David Rakoff. These guests are called Tumbleweeds after the rolling thistles that “drift in and out with the winds of chance,” as George described. A sense of community and commune was very important to him—he referred to his shop as a “socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore.”
The above information is an excerpt from the historical section of Shakespeare and Companies website. You can read more about the amazing history here.
HOW TO MEET AGATHA
Shakespeare & Company is located at, 37, rue de la Bûcherie, Vᵉ arrondissement, Paris. The bookshop is open seven days a week, from 10 am to 11 pm.
MEET MORE CATS IN PARIS BY: Meeting Heliot @ Hotel Castille Paris
Information credit: Shakespeare & Company
Image credit: James Mills