Paris Day 15: A Magical Evening at Shakespeare and Company, the Ghost of Hemingway and Other Wonderful Things

After our evening with The Wild Child, Judith and I took Saturday to try and get in as much as possible.  We knew that on Sunday we would have a full day  with The Wild Child and meeting their manager Harry and his wife Jesse at their home in Paris and then she was leaving on Monday, soooo, we HAD to go shopping! We went back to our favorite places so Judith could pick up those last minute things, we bought books – old and new, ate lunch at our favorite cafe, had some wine, and took photos.

Shakespeare and Company Book Store in Paris

The day led us to a final glass of wine at Place Saint Michel to watch the Saturday shoppers –  what  a spectacle!  We saw every color, shape, size, and style, of a human being you can imagine.  It was wonderful!  We reflected on our time together there and were a bit melancholy about Judith leaving.  Our last stop before walking back toward Germain Saint de Pres was to a place we had wanted to go  last year, but never made it – the Shakespeare and Company Book Store.  Now this is no regular book store!  You can see by the pics that this place has been around for a long time and has quite the history!  The gathering place of contemporary writers that can actually “bed down” while visiting Paris, and a history of such notable writers of our culture as Allen Ginsberg and Earnest Hemingway, to name only a few.  Read the history here.

Shakespeare and Company Book Store in Paris Circa 2012All I can say is that it felt like I had been there before, a familiar hiding place where art and creativity is tenderly nurtured and expressed.  It reminded me of my small play spaces when I was a child that became my secret world of creativity – to play, hide, and dream in. Small rooms that seemed to wind around an old building being held up by nothing but the floor to ceiling books and shelves.  There were private alcoves for reading and writing – complete with padded cots, typewriters and boards on the wall that were covered with notes from  aspiring writers and intellectuals from all over the world.

Shakespeare and Company Book Store in Paris

I climbed the rickety stairs and entered into one such room and up against one of the book lined walls was an old upright piano with stained yellow keys.  It looked like something you would see in an old Woody Allen movie.  I sat down to just take it all in and snap some pics with my iPhone when this man comes in and sits down and begins to play…..I couldn’t help but follow along on a couple of lines of this classic blues song…

After exploring the building and the rooms and buying more books, we went outside to hear the street performer sing and play old blues songs – quite well I might add.  The sun was down and there was this orange evening glow about the whole street.  We didn’t want to leave.  It’s as if we could feel the lingering spirits of the old writers and hear them talking about new projects and discussing and arguing politics, it was magic!

On the walk home we decided to walk over to Notre Dame ( it is just across the Seine River from the street where our apartment is on Rue Dauphine) and see it in the evening light.  We had no idea that so many things would be going on, and that there would be so many people.  We later learned that this particular weekend there were an extra 300,000 people in the streets of Paris for the 2012 Techno Parade!  Watch some of the fascinating videos here.  It made it all the more fun.  (No, Judith and I did NOT go to the Techno Parade, although I know I would have loved it – dance lover that I am!)

technoparade-2012-photo-Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris at sunset

Inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

The Cathedral lit up at night is a beautiful site.  The streets and courtyard around the Cathedral also attract all kinds of street performers, and spectators who attempt to participate.  This was my favorite photo of the night:  a street performer blowing gigantic bubbles for the kids, and this particular child who was intent on chasing AND catching this illusive but beautiful bubble – sound like anyone you know?!  ; ))

The bubble boy at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Another beautiful scene we came across was a bride getting ready to get married – there was love everywhere that night!

Bride getting married outside of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Bride and her flower girl at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

It was a beautiful way to end a lovely day for sure!  We lingered around the Cathedral for a while watching all the sights then headed back to our little apartment, but not without stopping for ice cream!  Look at this, they even take the time to make a flower out of their scoops….you gotta love it!Amazing gelato

You know, Paris is a lot like real life – you never know what’s right around the corner.  There is always something there to enjoy, you just have to grab it in the moment.  There is always something beautiful to see, you just have to take the time to notice it.  And there is always, always love, in so many different forms and in so many ways for you to experience and express, you just have to put away your fear and let your heart take the lead!

Love and Peace,
Sandy

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