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At first glance, Shakespeare and Company is nothing more than another English bookstore. But just a few steps inside the door, you start to see why the storefront is just as much a museum as it is a legendary bookshop. Between the books stacked to the ceiling, there are notes, announcements and fliers left from visitors all over the world. Since 1919, the name Shakespeare and Company has been a refuge to writers. The original bookstore was the stomping grounds of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce and others. Today, writers from all over the world come to share their work. Unknown writers have a place here, too; Shakespeare and Company lends sleeping space in exchange for a couple of hours of work in the store.
Within the humble two story house made of wood paneling, one of America's most important cultural figures not only came of age, but gained experiences that would contribute to some of the country's most memorable literary moments. The home of the erudite legend evokes a certain kind of literary nostalgia, which lingers over several nooks and crannies of the house, the very corners which served as inspiration for Twain to craft his revered stories. Part of the Mark Twain Historic District, the house doubles as a museum which plays host to myriad manuscripts, the author's original editions, interactive exhibits, treasured mementos and the famed fence featured in Tom Sawyer. An officially designated National Historic Landmark, this storied boyhood home helps keep Mark Twain's literature alive and relevant, even in today's times.
Originally intended as a small reference library, the Library of Congress is now home to the second largest collection of books and reading materials in the world, second only to the British Library. The collections comprises close to a 100 million items, including rare documents such as a Gutenberg Bible, early drafts of the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The splendor of the magnificent Main Reading Room is just one of the attractions worth a visit at the Library of Congress. Browse through the many excellent exhibits on display in the library's three buildings, participate in a guided tour, or attend any of the concerts, lectures and other events hosted here. The library's collection is open to all who hold a valid Reader Identification Card, however materials cannot be taken outside the library premises. Other than the mind-blowing collection on display, the interiors of this centuries old building is equally mesmerizing. Huge, vaulted ceilings with classic frescoes and designs, ivory pillars of Greek design and the irreplaceable heritage surrounding the place makes it one of the most iconic locations in the country.
Jane Austen's House Museum is a must-see for literary buffs. Jane Austen moved here from Southampton in 1809 and began writing again, revising Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. You can see where Jane wrote, sewed, made wine and enjoyed gardening. Her music book, a dress she wore, a quilt she stitched and the work table where she wrote her books are all on display. You can also see her donkey carriage - the door still creaks out a warning, as it did when Jane hastily hid her writing from visitors.
The Hemingway Home & Museum was the residence of the renowned author Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was known both for his grander-than-life personality and his amazing writing, including the books The Sun Also Rises and Farewell to Arms. The rooms and the collections on display give you an insight into the life of this famous writer. Keep a look out for the museum's many polydactyl (six-toed) cats that are rumored to be descendants of Hemingway's pet cat Snow White.
Les Deux Magots legendary terrace has long been the meeting-point for great writers and thinkers in Paris. Ernest Hemingway regularly popped up at the bar, and it's no wonder that Paris's best bookstore set up shop next door. The legend lives on, as the café it's often full of people sipping a Kir Royal after shopping at the nearby stores. A novel addition to the typical Parisian café-restaurant menu, there are mixed platters of salad and cold meats as well as a dish of the day like rustic chicken ratatouille and cold salmon.
Housing more than 6,000,000 volumes, the Trinity College Library is one of the largest libraries in Ireland. Although occupying several buildings, four of the main ones are located in the Trinity College Campus itself. From the four, the main drawcard is the Old Library that not only houses the 65-meter-long (213 feet) Long Room, but also houses the Book of Kells that contains the four Gospels of the New Testament. Other items in the library that are equally fascinating include the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, the Book of Durrow and the Book of Howth. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself mesmerized by the beauty and ancient charm of the magnificent library as well as the amazing collection of ancient texts. After you have toured the library, head to the Trinity College Library Shop and buy some souvenirs for friends and family.
This one-of-a-kind, boutique hotel redefines luxury. Dark wood paneling and rows of bookshelves greet guests, who are given every opportunity to engage their literary sides while staying at the Library Hotel. Each of its ten floors celebrates a category of the Dewey Decimal System, which range from Philosophy to Natural Science, and the rooms on every floor are not only decorated according to its theme but also stocked with books on the topic. Book lovers and comfort seekers alike will love breakfast in the Reading Room, respites in the Poetry Garden, and evenings in the Bookmarks Lounge. It's hard to go wrong at the exceptional Library Hotel.
Located in Tula, Russia, Yasnaya Polyana is an estate which also contains the home of iconic writer and playwright Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy has penned Anna Karenina, War and Peace, among other celebrated novels. When Tolstoy resided here, the estate of Yasnaya Polyana was spread across nearly 16 square kilometers (4000 acres) of land area, on a sloped hillside and surrounded by lush green forest and a few ponds. Today, Tolstoy's house in the Yasnaya Polyana estate is preserved the same way as it was when he died in the year 1910. The earliest structure on Yasnaya Polyana estate is Volkonskiy house. Nikolai, Tolstoy's grandfather, lived here.
Alice's Shop Oxford is an endearing store selling local souvenirs, located in the St Aldate's neighborhood of the city. The shop is believed to be the place where Alice, daughter of Henry Liddell would come to spend time browsing adorable articles. She used to live at the nearby Christ Church, and is known to have inspired the all-time classic, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This store, today, sells cute accessories like brooches, pendants, mirrors, bracelets, charms, earrings, etc and attracts numerous little girls. During Christmas, the shop sells an array of ornaments and Alice in Wonderland-themed figurines.
Sitting in all its splendor on Fifth Avenue, the New York Public Library stands guarded by its two famous lions, Patience and Fortitude. For researchers, the library is a treasure. Its many halls contain millions of volumes, tens of thousands of current periodicals and a large staff to help. Conceived in 1897, the library did not open its doors until 1911. It is architecturally one of New York's classics, both inside and out. There are also free art exhibits occasionally on display.
This building was not always blessed with the famous address of the world's most celebrated detective, its number was changed to 221b in honor of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation. The rest of the museum is also very true to the fiction. You can sit in Holmes' armchair, fiddle with his scientific experiments, and examine memorabilia from his adventures. Dedicated entirely to Holmes, his fans will enjoy their money's worth.