Looking to get bookish in Basel? You’re in luck. Much-loved book shop brand Orell Füssli has just moved its main Basel branch to a new location. The new store will remain in the buzzing heart of the city’s shopping district, switching from the spread-out premises at Freie Strasse 32 to a sleeker, more relaxed setup at Freie Strasse 17. It might be just 100 steps away, but this is a distinctly different store with a fresh identity.
Long heralded as the place to go for English language books in Switzerland (across a whopping 32 branches around the country), Orell Füssli’s new Basel branch continues the trend with a smart modern interior spread over three storeys. As you’d expect, the store boasts an extensive selection of English language books, from travel to crime to non-fiction to children’s titles. There’s even a family department featuring a fantastic wooden playhouse for the little ones, meaning they can choose a book themselves and read in comfort.
Photo: Aragorn Frey
Thanks to its popularity with expats (and Swiss locals, of course!), the shop also acts as an informal community space and meeting point. And if you are meeting there, make sure you visit Barfüssli, a thoroughly cosy café serving light bites, sweet treats and lots of good coffee.
The shop also hosts regular events and readings. Coming up soon are readings from authors Tom Hillenbrand, discussing artificial intelligence, and literary duo Mitra Devi and Petra Ivanov. Or get your thinking cap on at talks from Josephine Lischer (speaking about understanding people through psychophysiognomics – that’s reading features like body language and facial expressions, in case you’re wondering) and Iris Meier (discussing the art of graphology and interpreting handwriting).
Orell Füssli’s new branch also stocks tons of DVDs, gifts, toys and stationery, or if you just want to sit back and read – this is a book shop, remember – then simply sink into the venue’s specially selected comfortable seating or park up at one of the reading tables.
Photo: Aragorn Frey
Our advice: take a page out of Orell Füssli’s book when you’re in Basel. You’ll be glad you did.
Looking for more cool spots to spend your hard-earned cash? Here’s where to find the best shopping in Switzerland.