Unique Activities in Paris for Literature Students
Paris is arguably one of the most literary cities in Europe. It has a rich history of poets and authors who travelled to Paris to be inspired by the city, from Hemingway to Wordsworth, the literary greats have all at one stage written in Paris. This brings the city alive for literature students, young or old, but there are far more unique and cool places to take these students than just the Eiffel Tower!
Shakespeare & Co
Along the left bank of the Seine is a small maze of bookshelves situated in a quaint Parisian home. Founded in 1951 Shakespeare & Co has gained a global reputation as a must-see bookshop for literature students. They have regular poets and authors coming for readings and also hold small educational group gatherings, like bilingual conversation nights and book clubs.
It is a gorgeous old building and inside there are countless hiding places for avid readers to tuck into their new purchases. As you walk up the creaking stairs you will arrive in a cosy living room with bookshelves for walls. But you will not be alone, their resident cat is always strolling about and eyeing the next willing visitor’s lap to make her home. She will sit on you for hours if you let her, purring softly and listening to the excited chatter amongst the guests. This bookshop will inspire the literature students who refuses to read, the student who thinks Wordsworth was a bore and the student who just came along for the cheese and wine.
Paris is known for its infamous cafe scene. Busy mums and dads, retired wine connoisseurs, francophiles that have embraced the Parisian life and the writer who sips on espressos all day spend their time gathered in small dimly lit cafes in every area of Paris. To be a part of that, to settle down in a warm corner by a window and watch the day meander by, will be inspirational. These are the places to write.
Take your literature students to a cafe, settle them down with a pen and paper and tell them to write about the conversations they hear, the people they see, the city itself, the streets, the buildings, anything. It may sound simple but it is an invaluable experience. Try Cafe de Flore to ensure you are among the great Parisian writers.
The bouquinistes along the Seine
Take a stroll along the Seine and browse the various green stalls set up that sell books, posters, trinkets and more. If you take your time you can find real gems hidden away here, from postcards written in the 1940’s to a vintage first copy of your favourite book.
Maybe ask your literature students to select a postcard each and then head to the cafes to write a creative piece based on the characters in the postcard. In Paris every experience can be the premise for a new book.
Walk through the Pere Lachaise Cemetary
A slightly more obvious choice but none the less inspiring. The Pere Lachaise cemetery is home to many great authors and artists, and their graves are beautiful and individual. It is a stunning walk with huge trees looming over the walkways and little paths leading you through to various walks and tombstones.
You could easily spend hours wondering through the cemetery so I would recommend grabbing a map at the entrance so you make sure you can see the literary greats, like Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust and maybe even Jim Morrison.