Kapoors Year 3B: Mexico/Chile/Argentina travel blog

This Poster Explains That The El Ateneo Bookstore Was Selected As The...

What A Delight To See So Many Great Books In Such A...

I Hate To Think What Might Have Happened To This Opera House...

The Stage Has Become A Delightful Coffee Shop - We Enjoyed A...

The Balconies And The Box Seats Loom High Above The Main Floor

This Is The Electrical Panel For The House Lights - To The...

There Are Escalators To The Lower Floor Where The Children's Books Are...

Beautiful Hardwood Flooring Has Been Restored On The Balconies

The Old Box Office Has Become The Bookstore Nerve Centre

A View From The Upper Balcony Looking Down To The Main Entrance

The Beautiful Ceiling Was Just Too Huge To Capture In One Frame



As soon as our French friend Julien told us about a beautiful bookstore located inside an old opera house, I knew we had to made a visit there. We headed to the Microcentre to purchase tickets for our flight from Buenos Aires to Bariloche on April 28th, and then we walked around some of the neighbourhoods where our friend Ann Dawrant used to live. We had already visited the Edificio Kavanaugh but we wanted to see the Ave. Arroyo where she lived from the age of fifteen until she left to travel to London to marry her husband Geoffrey.

From there we walked along Ave. Santa Fe to the El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore several blocks away from Ave. Neuve de Julio. There were many high-end stores along the route and it was entertaining just to look at all the beautiful displays in the window. At last we spotted the bookstore and crossed the street to enter through the large glass doors. Even though I knew the building had been an opera house, I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful it was inside.

We stayed for a couple of hours, enjoying the atmosphere and having lunch in the café located on the stage. It was thrilling to sit and relax and look out through the curtains, imagining what it must have been like to perform on the stage, looking out into such a beautiful theatre.

I read that on January 11, 2008 the Guardian newspaper published its ranking of the ten most beautiful bookstores in the world. The first was the Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Second place went to the most unique, the El Ateneo Grand Splendid right here in Buenos Aires. Third place went to the Livraria Lello en Porto, in Portugal, fourth place to the Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles, USA and fifth place to Borders in Glasgow, Scotland.

I later spoke with some who weren’t aware that they had such an unusual bookstore right here in their hometown. I am so thankful to Julien for telling us about this incredible building.


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