37 Rue de la Bucherie
75005 Paris, France
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1951 – American expatriate George Whitman, born in 1913 and who used to own a bookstore in Boston, opens ‘Le Mistral’ bookshop in Paris, situated near Place Saint Michel, right in front of Notre-Dame and the Ile de la Cité.
From the very first opening night he showed a now-legendary hospitality, offering writers -called “tumbleweeds”- a bed upstairs in exchange of some help in the shop and a commitment to the craft, a tradition still ongoing today.
1958 – Sylvia Beach, owner of the original Shakespeare and Company bookshop, publicly gives George the right to use the bookstore’s name.
The veracity of this endorsement is however deemed somewhat controversial amongst biographers and scholars, but doesn’t change the fact that George modeled his bookshop after Sylvia’s and was continuing the legacy.
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