The so-called “Before trilogy” that consists of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight is one of my favorite pieces of film production ever. When I was in Vienna, I’ve checked filming locations from the first movie Before Sunrise. On my recent trip to Paris I’ve visited couple of locations from the sequel Before Sunset, with one bookstore on the top of my list.
The movie starts in the Shakespeare And Company bookstore where Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is doing a reading from his bestseller This Time, a novel inspired by his and Celine’s (Julie Delpy) day in Vienna.
The bookstore was opened in 1951 under the name of Le Mistral, but was renamed to its current name in 1964 in tribute to Sylvia Beach’s store Shakespeare and Company, which operated in Paris from 1919 to 1940. Today, it serves both as a regular bookstore, a second-hand books store, and as a reading library, specializing in English-language literature. Regular activities are Sunday tea, poetry readings and writers’ meetings.
During the Covid-19 pandemic the celebrated Parisian bookstore told readers and visitors that it was facing “hard times” as the pandemic kept customers away. So, if you decide to visit Paris (again), be sure to check Shakespeare and Company. Seeing Before Sunset is a must though. And if you’re into classical literature and you need to write some Shakespeare research paper you’ll probably find a cozy and inspirational place inside this book shop.