El Ateneo Grand Splendid

The Guardian has ranked El Ateneo in Recoleta as the ‘second most beautiful bookshop in the world’ (so you know, Polare in Masstricht was first at the time, though now I see it’s closed… hmm, so where does that leave El Ateneo I wonder?). Apart from its enormous proportions – 2000 square metres – it retains the theatrical staging of its origins, including dramatic crimson curtains, tiers of intact theatre boxes (now a great spot for a quiet read), lavish ornate ceiling frescoes and a lush golden hue to the whole interior, as if just before curtain-up.

It’s housed in the old Belle Époque Teatro Grand Splendid (1919) on the equally grand and splendid Avenida Santa Fe which looks like Madrid meets Paris meets New York – the fusion of architecture and space that’s so emblematic of Buenos Aires.

Over 1 million people pass through El Ateneo year each year buying over 700,000 books… not surprisingly there are few English language books on sale (not even a pocket Spanish English dictionary, sold out – Ant), but who cares, this is one hell of a grand bookshop!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Sheila Taylor says:

    Wow – divina!


    1. Wish you were here with us darling! xxx


  2. Sheila Taylor says:

    We loved BA! It is amazing – especially loved Recoleta – stayed at the Park Plaza on the second visit which was soooooo camp! Do try and go over to Montevideo if you have time. Catch the ferry – worth a look! And, if you are flying out of Santiago then catch the bus back across the Andes – via Mendoza – and visit the puma at the zoo – great shoe buying there too – Loving your journey – we have just returned from Melbourne – no comparison! Hugz Sx Ix


    1. We are loving it here as you can imagine. We may even moving here Sheila….so easy and oh so cheap! We are nipping over next week to Colonia in Uruguay for a couple of days, have a friend coming over from Syd for our mutual birthdays. We’re here for another 7 weeks (!) and living in the most enormous Casa Chorizo apartment in San Telmo. It’s heaven. xxx


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