There’s nothing like a cosy reading spot to make you feel at home.
When my family and I arrive in a new country, we check three things off our list: nearest supermarket, the doctor and where we can find a good book. Books appear on our family’s primary hierarchy of needs, partly because we have a daughter who adores reading and we know that finding her a source of books will help her settle and be happier during the transition. But there’s another reason.
Finding a library or book collection is also a way to find a community.
There is something about being surrounded by books and surrounded by others who also love books, that helps you settle in. Here’s the Little English Bookworm list of places that have helped us call the Duchy and the greater region our home.
The Luxembourgish: Cité Bibliothèque, Lux-ville
Our first stop in Luxembourg was the city library, or Cité Bibliothèque, which was founded in 1968. Here you can find books, audiobooks, films and periodicals in French, German, English and Luxembourgish for adults, teenagers and children. Comprehensive!
Registration is available for people residing in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg or in the Greater Region. A valid ID card or any other official document is required in order to obtain a user card for the library. For children under the age of 14, the registration form card must be signed by the person who has parental responsibility for them. Registration entitles the user to free loans of:
4 books for a period of one month (renewable once)
2 audiobooks for a period of one month (renewable once)
2 movies for a period of one week (renewable once)
2 language learning methods of one month (renewable once)
All adult registered users are entitled to free use of the 12 internet access terminals in the “Cité-Bibliothèque”. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Use of the internet access terminals is limited to one hour a day.
Venue: Cité Bibliothèque, 3, rue Genistre L-1623 Luxembourg (map) Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday : 10 a.m. – 7 p.m; Saturday : 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed Sundays and Mondays Contact: Tel: 4796 2732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Website
Good for: Those wanting to support their new home’s central library.
For the highbrow: Café Littéraire Le Bovary, Weimerskirch
A new discovery is the wonderful Café Littéraire Le Bovary. Opened in November 2015, the café is owned by Lili Fouet who sees books as an excellent way to allow people to meet, socialise and become part of a community.
The café has a wonderful warm and inviting atmosphere and drinks and food are served. Tapas and typical Luxembourgish dishes are prepared by the chef and we can vouch for the excellent muffins. The café has several rooms, so if you want to organise a special evening or something for work colleagues, this is all possible – just contacting Lili!
Venue: Café Littéraire Le Bovary, 1, rue de Laroche L-1918 Luxembourg (map) Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:30 to 14:30 and again from 17:00 to 23:00. Closed on Sundays, unless there’s a literary brunch on. Contact: Tel: 2729 5015 or contact via their Facebook page. Website
Good for: Those wanting to mingle with the true literati.
The Family-friendly: Il était une fois, Gasperich
The Reading Corner at Il était une fois is primarily a place for families of different cultures, where parents can enjoy a fun time with their children. The library provides the ideal balance between learning and fun with books available for ages 0-12 and workshops and sing-along sessions for children in many languages available. Check out what’s happening this month here.
There is an annual membership fee which entitles a family to access the facilities and borrow 2 books per child for 2 weeks. The library is run by friendly volunteers and is really a fantastic way to find books in your own or adopted language and to meet lots of parents and children.
Venue: Il était une fois, 6 rue Tony Bourg Luxembourg-Gasperich L – 1278 Luxembourg (map) Opening Hours: Monday and Tuesday from 9:00 to 11:00; Thursday from 9:00 to 11:00 and 15:00 to 17:00; Saturday from 14:00 to 18:00 Contact: email email@example.com or via their Facebook page Website
Good for: international families wanting books and brilliant workshops.
The Sleep-over: La Reduiste, Belgium
We recently ventured a little further afield to explore ‘Belgium’s Book Village’, Redu. A mere 60 minutes away, this is a wonderful day out and a way of finding more books and bibliophile communities. The village boasts 24 bookshops and craftsmen, 8 restaurants, and a large choice of secondhand books and comics. When we visited we had the good fortune to walk into an atelier where the owner happily showed our children the art of making paper out of cotton and leeks!
We also stopped at a great new-to-Redu café, La Reduiste, where our cake was served fresh out of the oven – perfection! A well as selling drinks, cakes and second-hand books, the café also offers accommodation so that you can sleep surrounded by books. They also organise yoga sessions, smaller events for writers in residence, Greek and Latin reading sessions, and a poetry festival.
Venue: La Reduiste, Rue de la Prairie 36, 6890 Redu, Belgium (map) Contact: Tel: +32 61 50 41 78 or via their Facebook page
Good for: those who know it takes a village. Of books.
The Holy: Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht
A little further afield but also worth a visit is one of the most beautiful bookshops in Europe, the Selexyz Dominicanen. Dating back to the 13th century, the structure was a Dominican church until Maastricht was invaded by Napoleon in 1794 and the group was forced out of the country. Since that point it has been briefly used as a parish, a warehouse, an archive, a giant parking lot for bicycles (not such a terrible idea) and finally made over into a bookstore.
Led by architecture firm Merkx + Girod, the new installations comprise a towering, three-storey black steel book stack stretching up to the stone vaults. The highest shelves are reachable by lift or by a set of stairs within the sleek, well-made stack. The views provided from the top shelf along the nave of the church are nothing short of uplifting.
Venue: Dominikanerkerkstraat 1, 6211 CZ Maastricht, The Netherlands (map) Opening Hours: Monday 10:00 – 18:00; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 09:00 – 18:00; Thursday 09:00 – 21:00; Sunday (yes! Sunday!) 12:00 – 17:00 Contact: via their contact page Website
Good for: those who think that books are sacred.
We hope that these ideas provide you with some great new books, ways to meet people and wonderful experiences. Books really are wonderful things aren’t they?