The World's Most Wonderful Bookstores
TV host and travel expert Samantha Brown shares her picks for the best bookstores, from Shakespeare and Company in Paris to The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles.
Livraria da Vila, São Paulo, Brazil
Located in a charming neighborhood selling trendy clothes and gelato, you can walk through Livraria da Vila and enjoy wall after wall of books. There is a charming café inside, and you could easily spend hours just getting lost in the different sections of books. Stop at one of the cozy reading areas if you find something you like.
Cook & Book, Brussels, Belgium
If you like to hang out and read with your friends, then this is place for you. Not only can you read, but you’ll be able to eat (and drink wine), too! Cook & Book is wonderfully quirky and you almost feel like you’re wandering around inside of a movie set. It’s a good idea and shows a bit where the bookstore of the future is headed.
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Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal
Imagine the biggest, oldest and most magnificent bookshop on the planet. That’s what you get when you visit Livraria Lello. It’s a very Harry Potter feeling place, and sometimes you’ll find hordes of tourists snapping selfies, but you must go and experience the magic of this one-of-a-kind bookstore.
Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France
Next time you’re in Paris, put this on your list. It is the most amusing way to kill an hour that I can think of. It was a hangout for Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Joyce, and you’ll love sitting back, relaxing and reading in the charming atmosphere. You’re almost certain to leave with an unexpected gem of a book to remember your visit.
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The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, California
Think you’ve seen it all in Los Angeles? Put this unforgettable bookstore on your list and enjoy all it has to offer. Downstairs it looks like a normal shop, however UPSTAIRS is the place to explore. The books shelves are arranged in a labyrinth with interesting nooks, and you’ll marvel at the tunnel made of books that you can walk through. If you’re a book lover, you’ll fall in love the moment you walk through the doors.
Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht, Netherlands
Here is another bookstore that screams “Wow!” Located in an old church in the town of Masstricht, this shop is loved by locals and a huge attraction for tourists looking for a lazy way to spend the day. Visit the lovely coffee shop, soak in the classical background music and enjoy the peaceful and wonderful experience of this stunning bookstore.
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA/Jose Cubillos
Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina
It’s not often you get to experience something really magical for free, but El Ateneo offers you exactly that. This amazing experience was created when the old Grand Splendid Theater was renovated to provide a one-of-a-kind bookstore, coffee shop and exhibition floor. El Ateneo has to be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world with its grand balconies, stage and lighting. You’ll definitely want to stop in to browse the shelves, have a coffee and snap a selfie!