If you love reading and aesthetically beautiful things, then these 5 book shops should be on your bucket list to visit in your lifetime. Europe is the home to many renowned book shops, which not only sell amazing books but also display them beautifully, utilizing architecture, furniture, concepts and ambiance. These five book shops have become famous because of these features, but apart from that one similarity, they are all quite different and unique in their own ways.
1. Shakespeare & Company (Paris, France)
Situated directly across the river from Notre Dame, Shakespeare & Company is a British owned book store that attracts hundreds of people every day. The reason for this is because of how beautiful the book shop is. The outside is all pastel coloured and vintage inspired (and in the spring has blossoms blooming on the trees outside), and while the exterior is extremely aesthetic, the inside is even better. The interior is all dark wood and filled with small rooms, winding staircases and mysterious hallways which are all chockablock with books of all subjects imaginable. There are hidden drawings and philosophical quotes all around the store which are fun to find, and to top everything off, all books are in English as it is a British owned and run store! There is no excuse not to go here on your next trip to Paris.
2. Livreria Lello (Porto, Portugal)
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, I wouldn’t be surprised if you have heard of Porto’s Livreria Lello before. Rumour has it that when J.K Rowling was living in Portugal as an English teacher she would visit Livreria Lello frequently. Apparently, the stunning architecture of the store was a massive inspiration for Hogwarts. Because of this, Potterheads from around the world visit the store, which has consequently made the owners reinforce an entrance fee for the bookshop! Not to worry, though, if you buy a book you get your entrance fee taken off that price. Apart from it’s Harry Potter link, Livreria Lello is extremely beautiful with its grand architecture and winding staircase – a must see if you are in the Porto area.
3. Boekhandel Dominicanen (Maastricht, The Netherlands)
In a project known as Selexyz Dominicanen Maastricht, two architects set out to make a 13th Century Dominican cathedral and convert its interior into a modern bookstore, and Boekhandel Dominicanen is the end product. The original cathedral exterior and interior is kept in place, with its feature piece being the mural painted ceiling. However, all the added furnishing, such as lights, shelves and bookcases, are of a chic and minimalist style, creating a variation of old and new aesthetics. This bookstore’s unique interior makes for an out of this world book shopping experience and is worth planning a trip to Maastricht for.
4. Cook & Book (Brussels, Belgium)
Cook & Book in Brussels is one of the book shop world’s newest stores, and yet it is already well known and visited by thousands. The reason behind this is because Cook & Book has nine themed and eccentrically decorated rooms which the books are spread out across. If you are wondering why the word ‘cook’ is in its title, its because every themed room has a themed dining area to match it – it is a must go to for any foodie and book lover! The nine rooms include themes of English, fine arts, children’s literature, cookbooks, music, travel, general fiction, lifestyle and graphic novels.
5. Atlantis Books (Santorini, Greece)
To finish off my list is Santorini’s Atlantis Books. The smallest of all these book shops, Atlantis is a quirky underground store which was founded and is owned by two Oxford University students, who, on a trip to Santorini decided, while drunk, to open their own book shop there. The shop is filled with unique and quirky bits, like ‘philosophers tower’ and ‘rent a cat’ signs, and the curved walls of the interior are filled to the brim with books upon books. If you are in Santorini, you absolutely have to visit Atlantis Books.