Probably my favorite of the Disney Princess classics, 1991’s Beauty and the Beast features a gorgeous castle library and a bookworm heroine. What’s not to love?
I know I wasn’t the only kid whose mind was blown every time they saw the animated library revealed in sweeping angles when the Beast gifts it to Belle. I couldn’t imagine ever having enough time to read all those books, and definitely thought, “But how do you even reach the ones on the high shelves?” If the Beast had been cooped up there all those years, at least he had no shortage of stories to read.
While a lot of libraries were probably used as inspiration, some point out the similarities between the library in the Disney film and that of Admont Abbey’s in Austria. It’s the world’s largest monastery library and is home to 70,000 books. (Also, you might recognize the ceiling artwork as being similar to the ballroom’s in the film’s “Beauty and the Beast” AKA “Tale As Old As Time” scene.)
Belle spoke for us all when she said, “I’ve never seen so many books in all my life!”
The B&tB library is clearly well-loved: In my google-searching, I came across this insane LEGO set custom-created out of 25,000 pieces by flickr user Sarah von Innerebner:
Okay, I’m off to go dream about having a reading room even one-tenth the size of this one in my home someday. In the meantime, we can make like pre-castle Belle and hit up our (eventually reopening) local libes.