By Holly Presswell, Christiana Jasutan and Tamara Wilson
Have you ever wondered where these gorgeous bookshops are located in your favourite movies and books? Or, if there is a real-life bookshop that inspired your beloved movies? The bookshop team has done our research and found where these hidden gems are. So sit down, take a read and start planning your future trip to your favourite Hollywood bookshops!
The Notting Hill Bookshop – 13 Blenheim Cres, London W11 2EE
"I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her." This iconic line comes from the film Notting Hill, filmed in The Notting Hill Bookshop, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. The store opened in 1979 and specialised in travel books, just like in the film itself. In 1999, the store gained recognition for the film and ever since then fans have flocked in to visit the famous film site. In 2011, the shop opened its doors to more than just travel books and now stocks for a wide range of audiences to enjoy, including magnificent leather-bound books. The store sells many memorabilia around the film such as beautiful canvas bags.
Shakespeare and Co. – 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
This world-famous bookstore already has a reputation, making its name in the Hollywood spotlight a few times. These films include Before Sunset (2004), a romance between two old friends who cross paths in Paris nine years since they first met and see what would have happened if they had acted on their feelings from the past and Midnight in Paris (2011), a fantasy romance about a family’s trip to Paris, where the father finds himself transported back to the 1920s every day at midnight – starring Owen Wilson and directed by Woody Allen. This bookstore is magical to visit and a book lover’s dream!
National Library of France – 58 rue de Richelieu - 75002 Paris
It’s hard not to fall in love with Beast’s library in Beauty and the Beast. While it is not based on a real place, there has been a lot of speculation that the library is set on the Oval Reading Room in the National Library of France, which has a circular structure and high floor-to-ceiling bookshelves resembling the library in the film. This library has a garden, terrace, cafe, bookshop and reading room, which are freely accessible to the general public. It also has a museum and guided tours, with prices ranging from €5–€10.
Livraria Lello or ‘Lello Bookstore’ – R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto
This bookstore in Portugal is said to have been the inspiration for the Harry Potter books and movies. The red staircase reminded people of Hogwarts and some said that the bookstore itself bears a resemblance to Flourish and Blotts, where young sorcerers buy their magic manuals. Since 1906, Livraria Lello has been a bookstore open to the general public. However, being deemed as “one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world” and “the Harry Potter bookstore”, Livraria Lello is always packed with tourists, despite not selling many books. Now they charge an entry fee (€5.5, which can be bought online) that can be redeemed for a purchase of a book. The bookshop opens every day from 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and there is always a huge line even before it opens.
Books of Wonder – 2 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011, United States
Founded in 1980, Books of Wonder is a cosy bookstore featuring a carefully curated collection of the finest children’s books available, as well as rare and vintage editions for people looking for long-lost treasures!
In 1997, the well-known romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail was being directed by a long-time customer of Books of Wonder, director and writer Nora Ephron. Ephron had this wonderful bookshop in mind as the model for the children’s bookshop in the movie! For months, Books of Wonder was being visited by a group of set designers and people working on the film, even Meg Ryan spent a day physically working at the shop to prepare for her role in the movie. When it came time to arrange the books on the movie set, staff members from Books of Wonder assisted so the film’s store would look authentic.
Books of Wonder is definitely a must-visit if you are ever in New York. They also have a gallery displaying original art from the vibrant world of children’s books and host regular author and artist events and weekly storytimes! To find out more information please go to their website.