A patron of the arts as well as a visionary bookseller, George Whitman, the owner of Shakespeare & Company, the legendary English-language bookstore on the Left Bank in Paris, died this week at age 98. Writers flocked to his shop to browse, mingle, and even spend the night. To honor Whitman’s legacy, we decided to take a look at Shakespeare & Company, as well as several other storied haunts of artists, writers, poets and other intellectuals, from cafés to bookstores to hotels. Click through to check out our list, and let us know which currently happening spot you think will become the next artist hangout of legend in the comments.
Shakespeare & Company, Paris, France
Though Whitman ran Shakespeare & Company for almost 60 years, he was not in fact the first owner — he took up the mantle from Sylvia Beach, the founder of the original Shakespeare & Company, which stood not far away from the current incarnation and was a favorite browsing spot for James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway. Whitman’s Shakespeare & Company also proved a haven for writers and poets, many of whom actually slept among the shelves on makeshift beds that Whitman lent out to them for as much as months at a time. Whitman also made friends with many established writers who would stop in frequently for readings or just to visit — people like Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg, Samuel Beckett and William S. Burroughs — though we can’t say if any of these were part of the 40,000-odd people he lodged there over the years.