Bookworms rejoice as this week’s find is all about ditching those ubiquitous internet and high street retailers of the printed word and celebrating the now seemingly old-fashioned bookshop. Is it the design or the rare titles stocked within that make these unique destinations so special? Probably an unbeatable mixture of both.
Shakespeare and Company on Paris’ Left Bank is possibly one of the most photographed bookstores in the world — and for good reason. Frequented in its heyday by Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, the disheveled store façade is only a taster for the shambles that awaits customers within. Piled high with claustrophobia-inducing stacks and rows of books, most of them antique or second hand, the place is the ultimate hunting ground for unique finds. Beds scattered throughout offer the weary reader a place to rest.
Livraria Lello in the city of Porto in Portugal is among the oldest in bookshops Europe. A true gem of rich gothic architecture, complete with the most incredibly ornate wood paneling, stained glass ceiling and meandering staircase; it’s worth a visit purely for its interior.
I love losing myself in El Ateneo on the Avenida Santa Fe in Buenos Aires, which occupies all three floors of a renovated early 20th century theater. Countless Spanish, English and foreign language editions are spread out over 21,000 square feet of space in a fantastical setting.
Situated in a former factory in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, the Plural bookshop makes clever use of minimum space with an ingenious raised floor — which serves both as auditorium seating and a staircase simultaneously — in between two walls of bookshelves, for a modern and dynamic result.
Although only about twenty years old, the original Daunt Books location in Marylebone exudes Edwardian charm and remains one of the favorites among Londoners. Cozy and quaint, they specialize in travel literature, so every title is divided alphabetically not by author but by the country in which the novel is based.
So whether you're looking for your next page-turner or just need a new spot for an Instagram photoshoot, these picks won't disappoint. For more fab and hidden finds, check out my latest curated guide.