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Prague: ARTĚL Style

Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...

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A Café Break with Books, Toys, and Play

Published on March 05th, 2015 in Shopping

  • Neoluxor exterior (photo courtesy of firmy.cz)

  • Neoluxor cafe (photo courtesy of zomato.com)

  • Chloe playing with Tatra dump truck

  • Igráček chimney-sweep figurine

  • Igráček Doctor figurine

  • Little Mole (Krtek) duplo blocks

  • Board game

 

As a long-term expat I thought I'd pretty much seen everything. But Prague is an entirely new city when you become a parent. You are constantly in need of a potty break or pit-stop in the unlikeliest of places. And if that place happens to be tourist central, a.k.a. Wenceslas Square, good luck!

 

I have previously written about A Well-Kept Café Secret in the area and was pleasantly surprised to discover another one: the top floor of the flagship NeoLuxor bookstore, the Czech answer to Barnes & Noble, in the middle of Wenceslas Square.

 

Not only can you push your stroller right into a roomy elevator not far from the entrance, once the doors open you will discover a "Children's World" which houses a spacious café with a kid's table and, towards the back of the store, a play area with a Lego table and playhouse.

 

And that's to say nothing of the huge selection of books and educational toys.

 

 

Left: Igráček chimney-sweep figurine   |  Right: Igráček racing crew figurines

 

The range of classic Czech board games for the smallest enthusiast up to teens, was particularly impressive, as were the Czech-made wooden toys, blocks, puzzles, and Igráček figurines. Igráček were made during the Communist era as a knock-off of the German brand Playmobil and feature a range of different occupations. (While they have been modernized and may be of better quality, the exclusion of retro professions like the coal miner and road worker is, in my humble opinion, a great loss!)

 

Also lots of Little Mole (Krtek) gear including sets of Duplo-esque stacking blocks – a new one to me – and classic orange Tatra dump trucks. I recently purchased a vintage edition of this toy for my daughter and while I must say the older model is much sturdier, this is a fun find for tourists.

 

 

 

Chloe playing with her Tatra dump truck 

 

For local parents you will find a great selection of English-language board games and international novelties like PlayMais and PlayFoam, things you may have ordered from Germany in the past.

 

To boot, there is a small stationery aisle with colored paper, gift wrap and bags, a party favors section with paper hats and horns, and even an arts and crafts display that sells, among other things, felt shapes, glitter, and colored Popsicle sticks, which are a hard to come by item in the Czech Republic.

 

Naturally, this being the biggest bookstore chain in Prague, there is a lovely selection of traditional Czech picture books and a handful of cute bath books. The only thing you won't find here are English language books – for that you will need to go to the basement floor where they stock a fairly decent selection of English titles for children (another pleasant surprise for me).

 

 

 

 Czech picture books, Left: Hrajeme si celý den (We play all day) by František Hrubín | Right: Veselá zvířátka (Cheerful animals) by Josef Lada

 

I must say that the café fare is a bit underwhelming. I stopped by late one morning and there were only three varieties of cake and packaged biscuits and chocolate to choose from. But if you need a bathroom break (ask for the key at the cash desk) or to replenish a child with a juice or yourself with a coffee it is entirely doable and the prices are a real deal for downtown Prague.

 

The historical building itself is a local functionalist treasure and whether you have children or not you won't regret stopping here to browse and enjoying a refreshment.

 

 

Palác knih Luxor

Václavské náměstí 41, Prague 1
http://neoluxor.cz/
tel +420 296 110 384
hours Mon –Fri 8:00–20:00; Sat 9:00–19:00; Sun 10:00–19:00
metro C to Muzeum or A/B Můstek
 

 

 

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