Shakespeare & Co

Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France.
Luciano Mortula /

If you’re a lover of books, you probably have a special nook in your home dedicated to reading; a cozy hideaway where you can get lost in a fictional wonderland as you turn the pages of a great novel. As a child who loved reading, there was nothing more magical than entering a bookshop and seeing the rows and rows of spines boasting both mysterious and familiar titles. For many adults, that wondrous feeling of perusing a bookshop still exists, and happily, there are countless independent bookstores worldwide that heighten that feeling by providing an atmosphere that is as whimsical as the content of the book in your hand.

Of course, even the most well traveled people would have difficulty checking off every world-renowned bookstore from their list. Here are some highlights from Buzzfeed’s list of 16 bookstores you have to see before you die, and they are absolutely stunning:

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Unlike enormous chain bookstores, the Grand Splendid may overwhelm you, but in a good way. Its name is indicative of the store’s splendor: once a large theater, the space was converted into a bookstore but still carries the grandeur of the former theater’s architecture. Rows and rows of books are kept where the 1,500 audience seats used to be, although much of the rest of the original theatre is intact. The bookshop is a stunning mix of design and practicality, and there are countless nooks to settle into to enjoy a wonderful book.


Bookstores are like candy shops for bookworms.
Image: Shutterstock

Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France. This quaint bookshop is where you might imagine early twentieth century poets would gather. Indeed, it was once the stomping grounds of the likes of Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce among others, and still carries the essence of an intellectual salon. It is small and romantic looking, with dark wooden shelves holding books that extend from floor to ceiling. Many movies have filmed scenes at Shakespeare and Company, and it is considered a must-see if you’re ever planning a trip to Paris.

Popular Kid’s Republic, Beijing, China. If ever you wanted to reawaken your inner child, this incredible bookstore might just be the place to do it. The store is dedicated to children’s picture books, and the whimsical, bold design is the perfect setting to inspire imaginative journeys through reading. There are vibrant pops of color scattered throughout the store, which contrast the stark, clean white that is the base color for this bright space. There are reading nooks everywhere; instead of overstuffed chairs tucked away into corners, there are circular nooks built right into the walls as part of the store’s design. Kid’s Republic might just be the most magical children’s bookstore in the world.

What do you think of these incredible bookshops? What are some of your favorite bookstores around the world?