CraSh Williams' Blog

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When did Bookshops become cool…

Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on January 29, 2011

Today saw Shelley and I visiting el Ateneo which is an incredible bookshop located on Av. Santa Fe 1860.

al Ateneo, Buenos Aires

No other words can describe this place, it’s truly stunning and without doubt the best book shop I’ve ever been to, which is about four so far.  Completed as a theatre in 1919 and was known as, The Grand Splendid. Ten years later it was redesigned as a movie house before being turned into a bookshop early 2000. It has a fantastic Cafe which is located where the stage used to be and it’s little surreal being sat there wondering about past stars who have graced that exact same spot, which other than their being books rather than chairs, is unchanged.

You can also sit in a box to peruse whichever book you’re thinking of buying.


The Guardian newspaper in 2008 said that el Ateneo was number 2 bookshop in the whole world, narrowly beaten by Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen which is in Maastricht. However, given how fantastic this place is, the lack of English books is a tad disappointing – all they have is trashy throw away novels whereas I really did expect a much greater selection, particularly given the amount of tourists visiting. Though Av. Corrientes which is several blocks away, does have a great number of second-hand bookshops – though it is a bit of a treasure hunt trying to locate a decent book.


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