El Ateneo-The Most Beautiful Book Store in the World

Well I guess I can stop looking now.

El Ateneo on Santa Fe Avenue in Buenos Aires is probably the most impressive book store I’ve ever seen.  in the 1920’s it was a theater that could seat over 1000 people. It was later converted to a movie theater, then back to a theater and back to a movie house again and in 2000, a bookstore.

The ceiling is decorated with Romantic Italian frescos painted to celebrate the end of World War One.

The stage has now been converted to a cafe. On some afternoons jazz bands play there and their music echoes throughout the store.

The one drawback (for me anyways) of El Ateneo? All the books are in Spanish! The English-language section leaves much to be desired. None the less it would be easy to spend an afternoon just wandering around and gawking at the elegance of this historic old store.

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18 thoughts on “El Ateneo-The Most Beautiful Book Store in the World”

  1. Geesh,Steph!

    This is beautiful!

    I’m almost happy that most of the books are in Spanish. If I was there, I could easily spend a month’s travel budget in one go…

  2. …. Amazing. I am such a book freak that it took me a lonnngg time to finally convert to the Kindle. But I still love browsing through a great bookstore.

    We just firmed up our plans and will be in BA within 10 days… cannot wait to drag Meg to this place!

  3. I spent one summer in Buenos Aires doing some research work and I used to spend a lot of time after work in that bookstore just reading anything. It is amazing and everytime I go to Baires I stop there to check on new books or to grab some coffee. You just made me miss that place badly! Have fun in Argentina.

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