Ever long for a good bookshop?
Whilst buying books online is undeniably convenient there is nothing like the mystique in entering a shop filled with floor to ceiling books. The opportunity to hold fresh crisp books in ones hands, to skim through the pages, flicking back and forth, to pause by a particular paragraph. Imagine this experience whilst browsing books in some of the most beautiful bookshops in the world.
Come with me as I explore three of these amazing bookshops.
The luxurious theatrical bookshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina is awe-inspiring. El Ateneo, with its gold tiered levels and actual stage was in fact a theatre which opened in May 1919 and later became a cinema showing the first sound films in Argentina in 1929. It was converted into a bookshop in 2000, although it retained its theatrical features including some chairs and the original box seats. In 2007 El Ateneo welcomed over one million visitors and sold over 700 000 books.
Another converted building which now serves as a bookshop is the former Catholic Dominican Cathedral in Holland. The Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht is over seven hundred years old but was closed by Napoleon in 1794 and used as a warehouse. It was renovated in 2005 and now houses black bookshelves over three storeys as well as books along the walkways. If you need a rest and a chance to read take a pew in the cafe in the old choir section.
The architecturally stunning Livraria Lello bookshop is located in Porto, Portugal. Its Neo-Gothic facade hides a beautiful Art Nouveau interior. Built over a hundred years ago it opened to great acclaim in 1906. The main feature is the beautifully dipped wooden staircase that stretches across the shop. The wood panelling and red carpet contributes to the rich lush experience of book browsing. Of particular note is the stunning stained glass ceiling with its monogram of the bookshop’s motto of ‘Decus in Labore’ (Dedication at Work).
I hope you have enjoyed the tour. Have you personally visited any of these bookshops? I would love to hear from you. Or do yo have a particular favourite bookshop you frequent? Please let me know what makes it special for you.
“It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.”
Agatha Christie, The Clocks