Bookstores Worth Visiting Europe For

After my college career officially ends with (hopefully) a PhD, I want to take a backpacking trip to Europe and explore the wonders and charms of all the exciting bookstores that continent has to offer.

That’s right, I said it, bookstores. And when I say backpack, I mean this:

Ah yeah, look at the rolling capabilities on this baby.

Because I’m going to buy way too many books to carry on my back.

My bucket-list of European bookstores starts with Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France, not just because of the name, or the fact that I love wine and cheese, but, well, because this:

It would feel like I’m reading a book in a beautiful hobbit hole.

and this:

Did anyone else have a bookgasm while looking at this photo?

My next stop in Europe would be Maastricht, Holland. While Holland is known for having beautiful cities on the water, the place I’d want to go is Selexyz, a bookstore that mixes beautiful architectural arches and ceilings with modern sleek bookshelves.

I love the mix of old and new – it kind of represents Europe as a whole. Did I just blow your mind?

After my stop in Holland, Amsterdam, Netherlands would be next on my list. No, not for the red light district (although, I hear it’s hilarious) or for the legal pot cafes, but rather for the Mendo bookstore.

Talk about sleek and modern – it looks like Amsterdam isn’t only socially forward, but rather ahead of their time when it comes to design as well.

With a quick hop, skip and a jump after Amsterdam, my next stop would be in Brussels, Belgium at the Cook & Book to check out their floating book decor.

Because having books on shelves and tables is not enough.

And, of course, no trip through Europe would be complete without visiting Rome, Italy, or the bookstore in Rome, Italy called Bookàbar Bookshop:

This kind of feels like a futuristic hospital to me, but it has books and it looks cool, so I’ll go there, someday.

or taking a boat ride over to England to check out the Daunt Books Marylebone in London:

Someday bookstore, I will be that girl in the sweater pawing through all of your books.

And while I’m boating around Europe now, I might as well go over to Porto in Portugal to check out the Livraria Lello. This is where I would end my trip, not just because I love this bookstore so much I want to put in an application to work there, but because Spanish and Portuguese food is some of my favorite food in the world (plus they have good wine).

I want to call this place home.
I’m really not the only one that wants to live here, right?

So after I finish planning my road trip across the Americas to hit some interesting bookstores, I’ll have to map out a definite route and somehow learn some seamanship for my future European bookstore extravaganza.

– Amanda Riggle


  1. Sharon

    Shakespeare & Co. in Paris is definitely worth visiting, though I have to say, I’ve never seen it quite that empty! Usually you’re stepping over people to find the book you want. Have you ever seen the movie BEFORE SUNSET with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy? It starts in that bookstore, and then follows them all over Paris. Great movie, too.

    I don’t know if you read French, but if you do, you should also check out the Librairie Gibert Joseph on the Boulevard St.-Michel, just south of the Seine. (In fact, it’s not far from Shakespeare & Co.) Architecturally, it’s nothing special, but it’s six floors, and you would be hard pressed to leave there without finding something to read!

  2. thepandabard

    I haven’t seen that movie but it’s on my list of movies to check out (and might be in a future blog post about literary movies to check out other than 50 Shades). I don’t speak French but my experience is that most bookstores around the world have an English section or at least a few books that are in both the native language and English. Even if I can’t find those, it’d still be cool to have a book of Shakespeare Sonnets in French (I collect Shakespeare’s Sonnets from bookstores around the world. Thus far I have two).

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