With the pandemic making international travel difficult and many people opting to stay local rather than voyage abroad, it seems a good moment to share a few of my favorite bookshops from around the world. I should start by mentioning that I’m a sucker for a good bookshop. Give me creaking wood floors, old windows with a view onto something worth seeing, and rows of bookshelves with the latest or oldest selections. Just walking into a bookshop feels like coming home. Here’s hoping these shops inspire you to visit when the time is right.
Shakespeare and Company, Paris
This bookshop offers a glorious combination of history (hard to keep track of the number of famous authors that have passed through its doors) and charm. Located just across the Seine from Notre Dame, this is a booklover’s paradise. The shop features a “library” of older titles upstairs and a plethora of newer offerings downstairs. On a previous visit, a customer skillfully played the shop’s piano and provided the perfect addition to the already warm and cozy atmosphere.
Daunt Books, Marylebone, London
Daunt has a few locations in London, but this is my favorite. I’ve spent hours in here and never leave empty handed. Located on a lovely street filled with other shops you’ll want to browse, Daunt has a beautiful façade with window displays and, inside, and an inviting mezzanine that’s hard to resist.
Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal
I’d never had to wait in line to enter a bookshop before visiting this one, but it was absolutely worth the wait. The gorgeous art nouveau exterior gives way to a spell-binding interior that’s rumored to have provided inspiration to J.K. Rowling herself. Be sure to climb the magnificent central staircase, and feast your eyes on the elaborate woodwork that features throughout the shop.
Livraria Lello and Shakespeare and Company images © E.W. Andersen; Daunt Books image © inProgressImaging / Shutterstock.com