This post is the third in a four-part series on why bibliophiles find France and England compelling destinations that feed their love of books and literature.
England and France are two countries that boast a culture rich in literary traditions, fueled by centuries of a system that supported patronage for poets, playwrights, novelists, and essayists. Such a rich history steeped in traditions means there are many fascinating literary locations to visit. From famous gravestones of authors to cafes where, perhaps, one of your favorite essayists spent his/her days scribbling notes over an espresso, there is a destination for every traveler.
Trips built around showcasing highlights of an activity you enjoy, such as reading, can make the trip that much more special. If you enjoy learning a bit of history, and if you just might consider yourself a bibliophile, then some of these destinations should move to the top of your “to see” list on your next trip.
Literary Landmarks in England
England has always been a hub for those who enjoy literature. From the childhood homes of famous authors to popular bars of others, it’s hard to narrow down to just a few places as “must see.” It would be easy to build an entire trip around a literary tour de England, but if you only have a brief opportunity then we have a few special recommendations.
Charles Dickens Museum – This is where Dickens wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickelby, though he only called it home for two years. The house serves as a historical site and a place for researchers to come and work, showcasing furniture, original manuscripts, and much more.
Shakespeare’s Globe – A literary tour of England must include a visit to the Globe. The original Globe was built in the 16th century, though the replica you will visit is a 20th century landmark. Building on historical information and full of exhibits, the Globe will not disappoint any Shakespeare fan. You can even catch a play if you time your trip just right.
The Home of Samuel Johnson – The man we have to thank for the dictionary, Dr. Samuel Johnson’s house stands as a historical symbol of a large shift in our literary world. And the museum allows you to try on costumes, relax in the library, and enjoy some well-curated exhibits, too.
The Poet’s Corner – This famous memorial of many artists is an absolute must see. It’s located in Westminster Abbey and is where literary greats such as Chaucer were laid to rest. For those who enjoy Victorian literature, there are memorials for the Bronte sisters, Austen, Tennyson, and Dickens. Plus, visiting the Abbey is worth the trip alone, but the Poet’s Corner is not to be missed.
Literary Landmarks in France
Many travelers know the joy that is art all across France, from museums to public installations and street artists painting the historical buildings. But the literary landmarks sometimes go overlooked. If you’ve visited Paris before, but haven’t had the opportunity to indulge your bookish love, then we have some top spots to visit. Even if you are planning your first trip to Paris, you might just find one of these literary landmarks to be the highlight of your trip.
The Bouquinistes – Here you will find long lines of tables and booths were booksellers have gathered their best to sell to passersby. Running along the Seine in Paris, this is a fabulous spot to browse with a cappuccino in hand. And some version of this market has been ongoing since the 16th century.
Montparnasse Cemetery – French literary and philosophy giants were laid to rest here such as Baudelaire, Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir. You can also visit the sites of Samuel Beckett and Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the man who designed the statue of liberty. As a bonus the cemetery is truly beautiful.
Le Rosebud – This little watering hole is for the Hemingway and jazz fans. The speakeasy served many a famous author, from Hemingway to Henry Miller. But it’s perhaps best known as where Hemingway and Fitzgerald first met.
Victor Hugo’s House – If you are a Les Miserables fan then this stop may be the perfect one for you. Transformed into a museum, the house has numerous exhibits of original manuscripts, Hugo’s large art collection, and much more.
At BellaTerra, we love making your European dream come to life by designing custom trips that suit your particular hobbies, passions, and interests. If you’re a bibliophile looking to tour Europe’s literary culture and history, contact us today and we’ll get started.