image

Five Literary Destinations for the Traveling Bibliophile

Imagine being in the perfect place and having all the free time to do what you love: finally breaking open the book that’s been burning a hole in your bookshelf, visiting the location of your favorite novel, or maybe even finding solitude to do some writing of your own. Where can I go to do such things, you ask? We’ve found a few. Okay, so maybe we can’t give you all the time you’ll want to get away (or predict the weather when you’re there – looking at you, Russia), but when the time comes, these five spots are a guaranteed to delight every literary tourist.

 

27 Rue de Fleurus – Paris, France

Image courtesy of LibraryThing

People spend their lives trying to discover every house and cottage that was home to famous authors even temporarily, in hopes of understanding the goings-on of these inspired individuals. For those with a distinctly American bent, no spot is more essential than the salon at 27 Rue de Floris. In the early 20th century, the house where Gertrude Stein wrote, held soirees for the Lost Generation, and critiqued the works of many famous writers including Ernest Hemingway.

Explore nearby: Buy a book at the original Shakespeare and Company and read it over a drink (or more) at the expatriate writers’ famed watering hole, Les Deux Magots.

 

Children’s Book Museum – The Hague, Netherlands

Image courtesy of InHabitat

Traveling with young children? Do those children really love northwestern Europe? Then the Children’s Book Museum is your ideal destination. This beautifully designed museum has games and workshops to inspire their imagination through reading and writing. If that’s not enough, the museum has constructed a wall made out of more than 40,000 old books. For everyone’s safety, we recommend asking before trying to pull one out of the wall.

Explore nearby: Feel the spirit in the house of philosopher and Biblical critic Baruch Spinoza and, if you’re around in November, celebrate literature and music at the Crossing Border Festival.

 

Sennaya Square – St. Petersburg, Russia

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It’s going to be a long flight to St. Petersburg, which will give you just enough time to start Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s iconic Crime and Punishment—largely set in this eerie open space. Explore the nearby area, which has been built up from its early years as a hay market, and see for yourself if the ragged descriptions of dubious activities are as true today as they were in the 1800s.

Explore nearby: While you’re on your Dostoyevsky kick, visit his memorial museum before a cooldown at – where else? – the Literary Cafe, once frequented by Russian lit forefather Alexander Pushkin.

 

Hiiragiya-Ryokan – Kyoto, Japan

Image courtesy of Shalimar Debru/TravelHer

Haiiragiya-Ryokan is, as Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata wrote, a place that recalls “that sense of tranquility that belonged to old Japan.” This traditional inn conjures up everything you’ve ever envisioned it to be with delicately painted screens and verdant walking gardens—plus: it has been family-run for generations. It offers the perfect bit of peace where you, like Kawabata, may find your muse.

Explore nearby: Don’t even consider passing on the Kyoto Imperial Palace or The Golden Pavilion, quintessential Kyoto landmarks that double as settings of famed Japanese novels The Temple of the Golden Pavilion and The Pillow Book, respectively.

  

Jane Austen Centre – Bath, England

Image courtesy of Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe

Disregarding the fact that she scorned the frivolous social scene in Bath while she was living there, the Jane Austen Centre has made its home in the English countryside—a setting that the author used in many of her books. The city itself offers not so much a single experience, but an immersion in the fashion of the period. Explore the Centre’s Georgian-styled house or walk through the gardens of the Holburne Museum, as the venerated author did, and “take the waters” in the Grand Pump Room.

Explore nearby: Get a room at the White Hart Inn as Dickens’ and Austen’s characters had, and get the full “Reading Spa” experience at Mr. B’s Emporium, a personal favorite of The Reading Room.

 

Featured image courtesy of LiveLongAndTravel