Last Updated on 12th January 2019 by Sophie Nadeau
Literally translated as the “Carousel of Light” in English, Cărturești Carusel (Carturesti Carusel) is situated in a restored 19th-century building in the very heart of Bucharest’s Old town. Comprising of six floors, over ten thousand books and a bistro on the top floor, you could easily get lost for hours among its many shelves…
Address of Carturesti Carusel | Strada Lipscani 55, București 030033
Bucharest is a city best explored on foot, and the Old Town district of the city is no exception. Wander along any given street in this area and you’re sure to find plenty of cafés, shops, and independent stores. Some of my favourite places to hang out included Creamier (a cute coffee shop with incredible freakshake milkshakes) and the Cărturești Carusel, a bookstore opened in 2015.
Although the Carousel of Light may contain thousands upon thousands of books today, the building was once abandoned and left to the elements. Built in the 19th Century by the Chrissoveloni family, the impressive columns and spiral staircases once operated as the headquarters for their banking dynasty. A few decades later, it was transformed into a general store.
Unfortunately, by the 1990s the structure had become unstable and the building was abandoned. A five-year restoration project, starting in the 2000s, reinforced the structure and the store was opened once more… Only this time as a sensational bookstore!
Top tips for visiting the Carturesti Carusel
Since the invention of Instagram (and the discovery of the store through the platform), the shop has become more than a little busy, to say the least! If you want to capture the bookshop with fewer people in your photo, then make sure to head to the store earlier in the day and sometime midweek if possible.
Throughout the store today, you’ll find plenty of reading nooks and small spaces to perch and peruse the shelves- perfect for when you want to escape the crowds of the city. For more secret spots in Bucharest, check out my complete guide to hidden gems of the Romanian Capital.
Bistro Carusel, Carturesti Carusel
Aside from all of the books, inside the store, you’ll find 5000 albums and DVDs, as well as a multimedia space in the basement. On the very top floor, there’s a bistro with lovely views onto the street below. This light-filled space is full of green plants, modern furniture and the scent of good food blended with freshly printed books.
Full of quirky lighting and friendly staff, the bistro also serves vegetarian food and great coffee! Nearby, you’ll soon be able to find Bucharest’s old town, which actually happens to be the ‘newest’ old town in Europe as it only dates back to the early 2000s! Nevertheless, a wander around the bars and shops there is easily one of the best things to do in Bucharest.
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