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A Bibliophile's Delight - Bertrand Leveiros is the World's Oldest Operating Bookshop

Bertrand Leveiros - The World's Oldest Operating Bookshop (Photo by Sona Schmidt-Harris)

As a former voracious reader and persistent bibliophile, I thought I had died and gone to heaven when walking into Bertrand Leveiros - the world's oldest operating bookshop. Though most of the books are in Portuguese, it was no barrier to my joy.

Bertrand Bookshop is located in the Chiado District of Lisbon--an upscale neighborhood not far from what the Lisboans call "The River." "The River" is actually an estuary where the Tagus River mixes with the Atlantic Ocean.

Bertrand Leveiros was the haunt of many of Portugal's famous literati including Alexandre Herculano, a romanticism enthusiast, political activist, and author of the ambitious Historia de Portugal.

Customers enjoy the ambience at Bertrand Bookstore (Photo by Sona Schmidt-Harris)

The store was opened in 1732 by Frenchman Peter Faure who then transferred management to the Bertrand brothers. An earthquake destroyed most buildings in Lisbon in 1755, and the bookstore was relocated to its current location in the Chiado District.

Bertrand Leveiros would be a great setting for a play or novel because there are so many nooks and crannies in which one can "hide" even on a busy day. The space gives one a feeling of both activity and repose--difficult for any space to accomplish.

I purchased and English version of Fernando Pessoa's, Forever Someone Else - Selected Poems, and had the official stamp of the bookstore put on the title page--a treasure indeed.

During my time in Lisbon, I will return, peruse, and rest in this treasured corner of the world.

Photo by Sona Schmidt-Harris

Photo by Sona Schmidt-Harris

There are many places to "hide" at Bertrand Leveiros (Photo by Sona Schmidt-Harris)

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