On a foggy December morning I paid a visit to a newly opened bookshop in Bucharest: Bastilia Bookstore (Librăria Bastilia). The moment I stepped inside I knew it would become one of my weekly stops. Located in an elegant old house, of national heritage, built in 1912, once the studio of painter Gheorghe Petraşcu, one of the most important Inter-War Romanian painters, the concept bookstore meets all my expectations: not just a place where I can find my favourite authors and latest titles, but also a lovely place to unwind and spend a relaxing time. But what I loved the most was the wonderful atmosphere, the warm welcoming and smiles of the personnel. This alone goes a long way.
I am thrilled to discover a new place for “culture lovers” in Bucharest, “for those who still enjoy reading by opening a book and not a laptop, for those who want to relax in a pleasant, welcoming, friendly place”. On the ground and first floors you can find a wide variety of books (across all subjects, from literature, history and art to cooking and children’s books), music and films, as well as a fine selection of teas and tea accessories, two reading nooks where you can peacefully browse a book, and, most importantly, you can find competent opinions and recommendations from the shop assistants.
Note: the interior was illustrated by artist Ion Barbu.
Does Librăria Bastilia aim to inspire the discovery or rediscovery of the pleasure of reading? It’s a question that immediately sprang into my mind. And the answer is yes. The discovery of the pleasure of reading in the case of children, encouraging them to read by offering a variety of books and by organizing reading evenings starting with January. And the rediscovery of it in the case of everyone captivated by literature, by the printed word, of every reader who wants more, who is continuously rediscovering the pleasure of reading.
The attic shelters the Seventh Heaven café, where you can have a delicious cup of tea (try the fruit selection), coffee or wine and where all kinds of events take place every day: book releases, exhibitions, workshops, cooking sessions and reading evenings for adults and children. Not just a pleasant way to pass an evening or a weekend afternoon, but an educational and cultural one too. Because “culture, in one word” is what visitors should expect from Librăria Bastilia.
photos: by me. The bookshop’s address is Piaţa Romană nr. 5 (5, Roman Square). You can find out more about Librăria Bastilia on their facebook page.
PS: A special thank you to the PR Manager, for her kindness and for her thoughtful answers on which this article is based.