If you’re a literature lover, following in the footsteps – literally – of your favourite authors is an inspiring experience. Below, we cover 10 top spots where famous writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Emily Bronte, Ernest Hemingway (and more) could once be found!
1. Eagle & Child – Oxford, UK
Nestled in the heart of Oxford, the Eagle & Child pub has is origins in the 17th century and is where ‘The Inklings’ – a writer’s group that included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, among others – would once meet to discuss their works in progress. This place has been open to the public since 1650, and the Inklings themselves referred to it as ‘The Bird and Baby.’
2. Vesuvio Café – San Francisco, US
In San Fran’s Little Italian neighbourhood of North Beach, the Vesuvio Café houses memories of visits from notable figures like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Dylan Thomas. Famed for being one of many homes to the artists of the Beat Generation, Vesuvio first opened in 1948 and is still a thriving spot for artists, locals and travellers today.
3. Les Deux Magots – Paris, France
Reputedly one of the oldest cafés in Paris, Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés is one of the most famous literary cafes in the world. Why? It regularly saw the likes of writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.
4. Emily’s by De Luca Boutique – West Yorkshire, UK
Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë have long held their place in 19th century literature and today (in addition to the home/museum at Haworth) you can now visit the house where they were born – and grab a cup of tea! The cottage where the three sisters came into the world was recently transformed into an Italian café and deli in Bradford. Visitors can dine here as well as explore the rooms of the house and its surrounds.
5. Carousel Bar – New Orleans, US
Inside the beautiful Hotel Monteleone of New Orleans sits the Carousel Bar – a decadent destination where writers like Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty, William Faulkner and Truman Capote once sat. More recently, authors including John Grisham and Anne Rice have also stopped by here. Today, it’s an incredible place to visit regardless of how literary (or not) you are. Oh, and as you 05/have guessed – the Carousel is a revolving bar!
6. Café Montmartre – Prague, Czech Republic
This café has been around since 1911 and over the years, it’s become known as a hotspot for literary and cultural gatherings and discussions. Café Montmartre sits in Prague’s Old Town and is known for attracting writers like Franz Kafka, Jaroslav Hašek and Max Brod. These days, the café doesn’t particularly stand out in Prague’s otherwise stunning cityscape, but it’s worth hunting down if you’re a fan of Czech literature.
7. Davy Byrnes Pub – Dublin, Ireland
James Joyce is well known for hanging out at a bundle of cafes and pubs around Dublin, and one of the most famous is Davy Byrnes. Joyce frequented this cosy spot on a regular basis (and even knew the owner), and subsequently went on to mention the pub in both Ulysses and The Dubliners. If you go there today, sampling the seafood is a must, as is keeping up with the writing events and competitions.
Find it at: 21 Duke St, near the corner of Duke Lane Upper, Dublin
8. Literaturnoe Kafe – St. Petersburg, Russia
This quaint café in St. Petersburg, on the left side of the Nevsky Prospekt, has been offering up tea and meals since 1816. This is the place where poet and writer Alexander Pushkin apparently ate his last meal before being killed in a duel when he was 37 years old. Today, a bust of Pushkin sits on one of the tables in tribute and the old-world décor, along with the traditional meals, make this spot a great place to seek out.
9. Antico Caffe Greco – Rome, Italy
If you’re near the Spanish Steps or the Via Condotti, keep your eyes peeled for this amazing and popular establishment. It’s the oldest cafes in the city (it opened in 1760) and more impressively, it has seen a wealth of literary figures grace its seats – from Goethe, Lord Byron and Keats to playwright Henrik Ibsen and even fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen. In addition, famous composers like Liszt, Wagner and Mendelssohn also visited this cafe.
10. Charles Dickens Coffee House – London, UK
Fans of Dickens will adore this little spot, which can be found in Covent Garden. The coffee house was once the head office of his publication, All The Year Round and the rooms upstairs were where he lived and wrote novels like Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities. These days, the place isn’t overly fancy, but it’s a small price to pay to sit where Dickens once sat and marvel over his works. A true literary gem in the bustling city of London.