On my 6 week trip around Europe, I obviously encountered a couple of bookshops..well 5 or 6 is more like it. Three of these bookshops are considered to be quite famous. I thought I’d do a mini review of the bookshops that I visited. I would recommend you visit them all if you are in the cities, but some of them were a little disappointing for me personally. So without further ado, here we go..
Shakespeare & Company, Paris
Shakespeare & Company in Paris has been on my list of places and more specifically, bookshops, to visit and so as soon as we booked our accommodation in Paris, I informed Myles that we would be visiting, and visit we did! I love the vibe in Shakespeare and Co., it felt old but also so lovely. It was also organised and tidy so I was able to find books easily, although I did have to wander a bit to find the YA section. I did expect a larger YA section in a such a famous and well-known bookshop, but the adult section did take up the rest of the bookshop. There were some areas for you to have a sit and there was also a cafe attached to it, which was cool! Although we didn’t actually go into the cafe because we needed to save our money for the rest of the trip!
All in all, I think Shakespeare & Co. is one of my favourite bookshops and I’m super glad we got the chance to go. I would like to visit again in the future, but I doubt I’ll be going to Paris anytime soon! Here is me in one of the nook and crannies of the shop on the typewriter although I didn’t actually type anything!
Libraria Acqua Alta, Venice
This was a funny one. I’m sure you’ve probably heard of this bookshop. As you can see in the picture below, it has the stairs made out of books. It also has a gondola in the middle of it. I wasn’t totally thrilled with this shop. I was excited to visit it because the idea of a Gondola in the middle sounded so cool, but this shop is quite small inside and with the amount of people that were shuffling about in there while we visited was enough to make anyone get a little frustrated with the lack of space. It was also super messy. I saw one YA book and that was Half-Bad by Sally Green. The plus side was that they had a delightful section of bookmarks and pictures and that there was seating right in front of the canal, as you can sort of see in the picture above. I love the little doodle instructing you where the fire exit is!
I was a little disappointed by the shop, however I wasn’t disappointed by the book stairs, although in my head, I had thought that the book stairs actually led up to the bookshop but it doesn’t – the stairs are in fact out the back of the shop and you can look just over this wall onto one of the many canals of Venice!
Cook & Book, Brussels
By far the biggest disappointment of the bookshops we visited. I have often seen this in the ‘top bookshops in the world’ posts on Pinterest and buzzfeed. Known for it’s flying books attached to the ceiling, when we visited, we saw no such thing. I think this must’ve been in one of the many rooms that this bookshop had. We thought we visited all of the rooms, however we must not have done as I saw Alwyn Hamilton had visited a week or so after we got home and I saw her pictures of the room that had the flying books. Also, for such a famed bookshop, I couldn’t find any English books (I can’t speak any languages so english it is for me), however, I did see the French editions of Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom and A Darker Shade of Magic! Perhaps I will have to go back to Brussels for a day just to visit this bookshop again and see the flying books!
We did visit a few other bookshops on our travels, however I forgot to take pictures! I did enjoy the American bookstore in Amsterdam as well as the Waterstones there too. It was just nice to see some bookshops that I had heard about on the internet or via Instagram and I’m super lucky that my boyfriend wouldn’t complain about being in the bookshops, no matter how long we were in them for!