My Bookstore Bucket List

Ten bookstores in ten years seems do-able, right? The catch is they're all over the world. Here is my bookstore bucket list. 

1. Shakespeare & Co. 

Paris, France

If you can make it Paris, this should be on your literary bucket list. The Lost Generation, the Beat Generation, Zadie Smith and countless other writers have passed through the shop. This left bank bookshop is housed in an early 17th century building and the second floor offers visitors an inspiring view of the Seine.

 

 2. Daunt Books Marylebone 

London, England

If you have wanderlust, start with a quick trip to London’s most beautiful Edwardian bookstore. Specializing in travel books, the oak balconies, viridian-green walls, skylights, and stained-glass windows of Daunt Books will certainty inspire the next stop on your journey. 

 

3. Boekhandel Dominicanen 

Maastricht, Netherlands

Coffee and stroopwafel in hand, browsing 200 feet-tall bookshelves under gothic arches, ancient frescoes, and stained-glass windows certainly sounds like a celestial experience. At this 13th century Dominican church, it can be your reality. 

 

4. El Ateneo Grand Splendid

Buenos Aires, Argentina 

In the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, you will find a hundred-year-old theater converted into a book-lovers heaven. The early 20th century red velvet curtains, balconies, and soft theater light all remain, only, now, the beautiful building is packed with shelves of books. 

 

5. The Albertine bookstore 

New York, New York 

You don’t need to be a lover of French literature to enjoy a trip to the city’s only French bookstore. With celadon-painted shelves, massive hanging lamps with ivory, silk shades, leather couches with emerald green velvet details, and most strikingly, a ceiling decorated with a night sky and zodiac motifs inspired by those of the Italian renaissance, you won’t feel like you are in New York City anymore. 

 

6. Book and Bed 

Tokyo, Japan

We know that the mix of jetlag, a warmly lit room, and a good book equals some good zzz’s. This “accommodation bookshop” near the Kamagawa River in Tokyo allows book-lovers to read themselves to sleep, crawling into the hidden beds within the shelves for cozy night dreaming of Darcy and Rochester. 

 

7. Cafebrería El Péndulo 

Mexico City, Mexico 

Spend a lazy Sunday reading, lounging, and eating in this all in one café, forest, and bookstore. The two-story building feels like a dream with its living plants lining the shelves and big wooden balconies with curvy green railings.  

 

8. Livraria Lello

Porto, Portugal

This neo-gothic bookstore has been around since 1906, inspiring some of the world’s most renown authors, including J.K. Rowling as she wrote Harry Potter. Once you see the wood carvings, ladders, rails to move the books, and a stained-glass ceiling, you’ll understand why it was a Rowling favorite. 

 

 9. Libreria Acqua Alta 

Venice, Italy 

Running a bookstore in a Venice is not so easy a task given the frequency of flooding. But the “Book Store of High Water” has found a solution, keeping its whimsical floor-to-ceiling stacks in bathtubs, waterproof bins, and even a full-size gondola. 

 

10. Atlantis Books 

Santorini, Greece

Started by two college friends vacationing in Santorini, the hobbit-hole bookstore in Oia is jam-packed with bright and beautiful books. Out on the terrace, you can listen to a reading as you look out onto Aegean Sea.