This just might be the best bookstore in the world. It has the vibe of a warren-like country home rather than a straightforward shop, books are piled haphazardly from floor to ceiling (many of which are in English), there are benches dotted here and there, and it’s staffed mostly by college kids who are full of great recommendations. It’s also home to a rich literary history—over the years, Shakespeare and Company has played host to famous American writers like Allen Ginsberg, Ernest Hemingway, William Burroughs, and William Styron. Founder George Whitman (the shop is now run by his daughter, Sylvia) famously opened up the shop’s cozy benches and couches to artists and writers who needed a place to stay. Many of these drifting creatives—or tumbleweeds, as they became known—went on to become important literary figures in their own right.

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