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  • Citywalk | United Kingdom
    Updated at Feb 7,2017

    Bath - Tip 2:

    Main Attractions: Pulteney Bridge, Henrietta Park, Holburne Museum, Sydney Gardens, N Parade Bridge, Queen Square, Jane Austen Centre, The Circus, the Royal Crescent, Bath Assembly Rooms, Fashion Museum, Theatre Royal Bath.

    This part of the Bath day - is, mainly, a lovely leisurely walk around the outskirts of the city. If we turn right from High Street to the Bridge Street and walk further east for 50 m. we see the Avon river and the Pulteney Bridge, a beautiful arched bridge over the scenic River Avon. Pulteney Bridge crosses the River Avon in central Bath, just upstream of a parabolic weir and lock system. The bridge is one of very few worldwide to have shops lining both of its sides, another example being Florence's Ponte Vecchio. Pulteney Bridge was built in 1774 and connected the new town of Bathwick to Bath. One side is very Georgian and the other side is a patchwork of buildings, another reason for having been compared to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. The bridge itself has several shops on it which are small and eclectic, making it a really interesting place to wander along with plenty to see and places to stop and shop or have a cup of tea. Try to walk along the river bank and see the bridge from both sides for a real treat. Boat trips (to Bathampton and back) available at down at the river banks.

    We cross the Avon river, along Pulteney Bridge, from west to east. Walk along Argyle Street. On the second intersection - we turn left (north) to Henrietta Street. The street was built around 1785 by Thomas Baldwin. The road consists of Georgian buildings and 3 storey houses. In its end resides Villa Magdala:

    Find an entrance into Henrietta Park (which extends south to Henrietta Street) and cross it from north to south - ending in Great Pulteney Street - another typical Georgian street. This is a pleasant park and heartily recommended in a bright day. It was opened to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria of 1897. It contains many fine trees, extensive shrubberies and beautiful flower beds. Furthermore, there is a Sensory Garden which is planted with many aromatic and scented flowers and shrubs. Other attractions are a pergola covered with roses, and a a white Wisteria. Today, superb bedding displays are arranged around a central pool and fountain. An oasis of peace, tranquility and beauty just minutes away from the bustle of city life:

    We walk along Great Pulteney Street, again from west to east. In its end we arrive to the Holburne Museum. A lovely surprise. The museum, actually, resides in the former Sydney Hotel at the end of Great Pulteney Street. FREE admission to the permanent exhibition and open daily 10.00 to 17.00 (Sunday and Bank Holiday 11.00 to 17.00). Bath's first public art gallery, home to fine and decorative arts. Built around the collection of Sir William Holburne. In 1882 Sir William's collection of over 4,000 objects, pictures and books was bequeathed to the people of Bath by his sister, Mary Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882). Significant acquisitions have greatly increased the Museum's collection of British eighteenth and early nineteenth-century paintings and miniatures. Several masterpieces of well known artists were donated to the museum in year 1955 like: Gainsborough, Stubbs and Turner. The top floor gallery has the works by Thomas Gainsborough including some full length portraits. The museum is a nice surprise. The main highlight are the highly-ranked changing exhibition under payment.

    Imari Collection (town in west Japan):

    Actaeon turned into a stag by Diana:

    Crouching Venus - Antonio Susini:

    Beadwork basket - Charles II's Catherine of Braganza, 1660 - 1670:

    Ester and Ahasurus, Silk, 1640:

    The Witcombe Cabinet, 1697:

    The Byam Family, Thomas Gainsborough, 1762- 1766:

    The Holburne Museum is surrounded by Sydney Gardens. Take a stroll in the gardens and return to the main entrance of Holburne Museum. The grounds here are very nice. Sydney Gardens lie south to and between Beckford Street and Sydney Street. Sydney Gardens provided a favourite walk for Jane Austen (lived at number 4 Sydney Place) who set part of her novel Northanger Abbey across from the Holburne Museum/Sydney Hotel in Great Pulteney Street. Austen lived in Sydney Place, just off Great Pulteney Street. The Kennet and Avon Canal also runs through the park via two short tunnels and under two cast iron footbridges dating from 1800. The whole area starred in several famous films. The Holburne stood in for the Devonshire villa in the 2008 film The Duchess starring Keira Knightley, and for Steyne's mansion in Vanity Fair, the 2004 adaption of William Thackeray’s novel, starring Reese Witherspoon. The museum appears in the film Change of Heart, also known as Two and Two Make Six with Janette Scott and George Chakiris from 1961.It appears in two BBC TV series, The Count of Monte Cristo starring Alan Badel and Michael Gough (1964), and Softly Softly (1969).[20] It can be seen in the German TV film Four Seasons starring Tom Conti and Michael York, and in the Bollywood movie Cheeni Kum (2006). (Taken from Wikipedia). The gardens were planned and laid out by the architect Harcourt Masters in 1795. These gardens are the only remaining eighteenth-century pleasure gardens in the UK:

    Minerva's Temple in the gardens:

    From the main entrance of Holburne Museum we continue southward  along Pulteney Road (South). On our left we pass St. Mary church

    and, on our right the Bath Bowling Club:

    We turn right (west) to the N Parade and cross the Avon River (again) over the N Parade Bridge. A marvelous view, looking at the river and Pulteney Bridge in the north:

    At the intersection of N Parade x Duke Street - get a nice view of Chapel of St. John of Beverley:

    In the most eastern end of N Parade - you have a nice view of the Guildhall Markets Building.

    We turn right (north) and climb along the Grand Parade. Here we face again the Avon river and Pulteney Bridge:

    With the Pulteney Bridge on our right - we turn back left to Bridge Street and right to the High Street. On our right is the Podium commercial centre. With the Podium to our right (east) we turn, diagonally, left to the New Bond Street. Slight right to Old Bond Street  and, turn LEFT (west) to Quiet street. Continue westward along Quiet Street, and, further, along Wood Street.

    While arriving to the Queen Square, turn right and climb up along Gay Street. The Queen Square is surrounded by beautuful Georgian houses and defined by Wikipedia as: "Queen Square is the first element in the most important architectural sequence in Bath, which includes the Circus and the Royal Crescent". Queen Square was the first ambitious development by the architect John Wood, the Elder, who later lived in a house on the square. A key component of Wood's vision for Bath - the square is named in honour of Queen Caroline, wife of George II. The obelisk in the centre of the square, was erected by Beau Nash in 1738 in honour of Frederick, Prince of Wales. It formerly rose from a circular pool to an height of 21 m, but a severe gale in 1815 truncated it:

    On your right (east), at 31–40 Gay Street, the Jane Austen Centre. A completed wax figure of Jane Austen was unveiled to the world media on Wednesday 9 July 2014, at the Jane Austen Centre. The figure being displayed in a specially created space within the Centre. Situated in an original Georgian townhouse, it tells the story of Jane’s time in Bath, including the effect that living here had on her and her writing. Open:
    Winter (November – March) - Sunday – Friday: 10.00 - 16.00, Saturday 9.45 - 17.30. Summer (3rd April 2017 – 29th October 2017) - Every Day 9.45 - 17.30. July – August - Every Day 9:30 - 18.00. Prices: Adults - £11, Seniors - £9.50, Students - £8.50, Children - £5.50. Very expensive, well-laid, sentimental fantasy:

    After climbing up 320 m. along Gay Street - we arrive to an impressively rounded landmark: The Circus. This rounded remarkable structure consists of three curved segments of limestone townhouses. The striking attraction was designed by the architecturally-obsessed John Wood the Elder, an architect also responsible for the former Queen Square. Unfortunately John Wood the Elder didn’t live to see his plans turned into reality, due to consistent opposition and his death less than three months before construction of The Circus began in 1754. His son, John Wood the Younger, completed the build-up in 1768. It was originally known as The King’s Circus. Wood was inspired by the Roman Colosseum for his design (although creating The Circus to face inwardly, as opposed to the Colosseum’s design to be seen from the outside). Looking closely at the detail on the houses' stonework you’ll recognize many details like animals and nautical symbols. It’s thought, for example, that the acorns displayed - are tributes to the ancient Druid culture, which the Woods were taken up with and that the Woods admired so much. The buildings themselves have Masonic symbols, as well, on their frontages at first floor level and this is repeated around the whole circle. In the 18th century the centre of The Circus was a pool that supplied water to the surrounding houses, but it turned out to be a garden for the residents in the 1800s. The painter Thomas Gainsborough lived at number 17 between 1758 and 1744, using the house as his portrait studio. More recently, Hollywood actor Nicholas Cage also lived at The Circus. During the Bath Blitz in 1942, part of The Circus was badly bombed, demolishing several of the houses. They have now been reconstructed and restored in the original style. There are several very old trees that mark the spot. The leafy trees are turning orange and yellow during the Autumn and late Winter. The Circus offers great pictures, especially during the 2nd half of the day (though there are too many parked cars making it difficult to get a free shot at a frontage). Wonderful Georgian, eighteenth century architecture from the hey days of Bath !

    Take Brock Street to the west (a bit north-west) and, after 3 minutes, you arrive to the Royal Crescent. The Royal Crescent was built between 1767 and 1775 to the design of John Wood the Younger, and forms a semi-ellipse of thirty terraced townhouses arranged around a great lawn. Of the Royal Crescent's 30 townhouses, 10 are still full-size townhouses; 18 have been split into flats of various sizes; 1 is the No. 1 Royal Crescent museum (see below) and the large central house at number 16 is the Royal Crescent Hotel (see below). It is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the UK. The Royal Crescent is one of the many buildings made from the distinctive honey-coloured Bath Stone. Quarried out from the hills around the city, it’s a type of limestone that was first used by the Romans and later for churches, bridges and houses all around Bath. The Georgian stone façades remain much as when they were first built. This curved terrace of Georgian townhouses arcs around a perfectly manicured lawn. Built in the 1770s, they haven’t changed much since then, on the outside at least. Most are private residences, when they’re not being used by film crews for period dramas:

    In front of the Royal Crescent is a ha-ha, a lawn with the outer face sloped and turfed, making an effective but invisible partition between the lower and upper lawns. The ha-ha is designed so as not to interrupt the view from Royal Victoria Park, and to be invisible until seen from close by.

    No visit to the Crescent would be complete without the unique insight to Georgian life and culture offered by Bath Preservation Trust and the museum at No. 1. An historic house museum, owned and maintained by the Bath Preservation Trust. The Bath Preservation Trust has been working during 2012-13 to re-unite Number One with its original servants' wing at Number 1A Royal Crescent, which has been in use as a separate dwelling for many years. No. 1 serves also as the Trust's headquarters. You can go back in time to the 18th century inside and see how the Georgians lived, complete with authentic furniture and decoration. The museum is open from 4 February 2017 until Sunday 17 December 2017: MON - 12.00 - 17.30, TUE-SUN 10.30 - 17.30. Last entry is 16.30. Prices: Adults – £10, Seniors (65+) – £7, Students (with student card) and pupils over 16 in full-time education (with ID) – £7, Children (6-16) – £4, Family (2 adults, up to four children) – £22:

    To the left of the entrance, the dining room has been recreated at the moment of the desert, with the table-cloth removed and fruits and sweets displayed on the mahogany table:

    Lady's Bedroom:

    The Servants' Hall:

    Upstairs you can see the elegant Drawing Room, where fashionable visitors took tea, or slip into a delightfully feminine bedroom:

    Royal Crescent Hotel. Two 18th-century Georgian townhouses have been merged to create a five-star hotel and spa. This luxury hotel spreads over two townhouses in the centre of Bath's showpiece Georgian crescent, with a lovely garden and four further Georgian buildings at the back of the garden house the spa, a stylish bar and the pretty Dower House Restaurant, all of which have a much more contemporary style. It has lots of period features, a hidden garden and stunning views. Double rooms start from from £265, including breakfast:

    The Royal Crescent is close to Victoria Park. The eastern side of the park borders the Royal Crescent, But, to enjoy this wonderful park - you have to walk to its western part which has a botanical garden, amazing flower beds, ancient trees, manicured lawns, tennis courts, bowling green, children's playground, skate park, duck ponds, golf course and much more. The street that is known today as "The Royal Crescent" was originally named "The Crescent." It is claimed that the adjective "Royal" was added at the end of the 18th century after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany had stayed there. A lovely expanse of green open space and cultivated gardens close to the centre of Bath. Very photogenic garden with beautiful art and flower sculptures. A fabulous way to spend even a few hours ONLY when the weather is good:

    Just in case you only sample the the Victoria Park and return to the Royal Crescent - we'll make our way, on foot, back to the Bath Spa train station. On our way back we shall visit, shortly, a couple of landmarks. Return to the Circus via Brock Street, We continue, in the same direction, eastward, through Bennet Street. On your left is the The Museum Of East Asian Art. On your right is the Bath Assembly Rooms - Elegant 18th-century Ball Room plus the Octagon, Tea Room and Card Room with marble and chandeliers. The Bath Assembly Rooms, designed by John Wood the Younger in 1769, are now open to the public as a visitor attraction. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building. The 30 metre ballroom is still adorned with the original Whitefriars crystal chandeliers. The rooms house portraits by Gainsborough, Ramsey and Hoare and is made up of four rooms - The Ball Room (the largest 18th century room in Bath), The Tea Room (used for concerts in the 18th century), The Octagon and The Card Room (both used for music and playing cards and for listening to the organ). Open: MAR OCT: 11.00 - 17.00, NOV - DEC: 1.00 - 16.00. FREE when not in use for booked functions. Georgian era and glamor brought alive. Do not miss the classy chandeliers...:

    Ball Room:

    Tea Room:

    Octagon:

    Adjacent to the Assembly is the Fashion Museum which is also situated within the building, on the lower ground floor, and is home to one of the world’s finest collection of fashionable dress, creating an inspiring venue for any occasion. Open: January - February 10.30 - 16.00, March - October 10.30 - 17.00, November - December 10.30 - 16.00. Prices: Adult -  £9.00,
    Student(Full-time with valid I.D) - £8.00, Senior(65+) - £8.00, Child(Age 6-16) - £7.00, Family(2 adults and up to 4 children) - £29.00. NO online tickets. For beautiful clothes' lovers - it is, indeed, a magnet site, a first-class museum with wonderful collections:

    We continue back southward down along Gay Street. The street continues down as Barton Street. We turn right to Beauford Square:

    Immediately after turning to this square we face the Theatre Royal Bath. Built in 1805 this wonderful Regency theatre is worth going to see just for the decorative interior. It is a small, Intimate (meaning great views of the stage from wherever you sit), ornate theatre that really shines inside far more than outside. Air of authenticity not found in modern theatres, Wide range of shows. Try to catch a Shakespeare play. Ridiculous prices for students. There are also matinee performances:

    A bit further down along Barton Styreet is the The Garricks Head Pub.

    Opposite it - the Komedia theatre.  The next turn to the right (west) brings you the Kingsmead Square with a giant plane tree in the centre of the square. It was laid out by John Strahan in the 1730s. Many of the houses are listed buildings. Number 12, 13 and 14 is made up of Rosewell House, which forms one building with Numbers 1 and 2 Kingsmead Street. The house is named after T Rosewell, whose sign, a rose and a well, can be seen on the baroque facade with the date 1736:

    From Kingsmead Square continue south-west along New Street. Turn 45 degrees LEFT (south-east) to  James Street and St. James Parade. On your right the Bath College. In the end of this street - you find the McDonald restaurant. Turn LEFT and you arrive to the Bath Spa station.

  • Citywalk | France
    Updated at Jun 5,2017

    Paris - along the right bank of the river Seine: from Place de la Bastille to Pont de Bir-Hakeim.

    Tip 1Main Attractions: Place de la Bastille, Bassin de l'Arsenal, Pont Morland, Pont de Sully, Pont Marie, Hôtel de Sens (detour), Pont Louis Philippe, Église Saint-Gervais (detour), Hôtel de Ville, Pont au Change, Place du Châtelet, Tour Saint-Jacques (detour), Pont d'Arcole, Pont Notre-Dame, Pont Neuf, Pont des Arts, Pont du Carrousel, Pont Royal, Pont de la Concorde, Pont Aleexandre III, Pont des Invalides, Pont de l'Alma, 

    Distance: approx. 14 km. Weather: Bright day ONLY. Duration: 6-8 hours. Our suggestion for lunch: quite late in this route - near Alma Bridge. Option for extension: continue southward from Bir-Hakeim bridge, along the Seine to Pont de Grenelle or Pont Mirabeau (additional 900 m. / 1.4 km..). Not included in this itinerary: all the iconic attraction near the Seine: the Louvre museum, Musée d'Orsay, Eiffel Tower etc'. They are all included in other Tipter blogs.

    Start: Bastille Metro station. End: Bir-Hakeim metro station (or Javel metro station with the extension option).

    General orientation: a brilliant idea for your last, concluding day in this wonderful city. It contains most of the famous, iconic sights and attractions in central Paris. Our suggestions: do this itinerary from east to west. The sun will be on your back. The photo ops are better - if you start at the morning and complete the route during the late afternoon hours. The major part is along the Seine river - but, we included several short detours - deviating from the water front. Many part are even shaded with linden and plane trees along the river banks. It is a flat, convenient roue for pedestrians. ONLY the last section, along New York avenue - just before approaching the Bir-Hekeim bridge (near Tour Eiffel) is under reconstructions. This section is unfriendly for walkers. Be careful when you cross one or two bustling roads leading (from the south) to Avenue New York. Anyway, your last spot would be, in this itinerary, the Eiffel Tower. The closest metro station, to the tower, is Bir-Hekeim (approx. 500 m. from the entrance (under strict security measures) to the famous tower. Most of the restaurants, along and close to tis route - are expensive and tourists traps. The only solution is to get off from the river promenades, into the city alleys, and find a cheaper one - probably near Alma bridge or, better, near Place du Châtelet, on the right bank of the river Seine, on the borderline between the 1st and 4th arrondissements, at the north end of the Pont au Change, a bridge that connects the Île de la Cité, near the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, to the right bank (the closest métro station is Châtelet).

    Remember: there are many bridges over the Seine. One very good way to see them is to undertake a river cruise. This allows you to see the ornate stone work as well as ornamental work. Spring is the best time of the year. Late afternoon is the best time during the day.

    We start at the Place de la Bastille. It is called the Bastille square - but, no vestige of the prison remains. It was destroyed during the French Revolution, between 14 July 1789 and 14 July 1790. The capture of the Bastille, on July 14, 1789, marks the start of the French Revolution. It is celebrated each year as the Bastille Day, which was also declared the French national holiday in 1860. Two days after the crowds had captured the Bastille - the fort or prison was demolished. As a consequence of its historical significance, the square is often the site or point of departure of political demonstrations.

    The square borders 3 arrondissements of Paris, namely the 4th, 11th and 12th. Not so much to see around. The original outline of the fort is also marked on the pavement of streets and pathways that pass over its former location, in the form of special paving stones. Some stones of the former foundation are visible in the Bastille metro station, at line no. 5. 

    The July Column (Colonne de Juillet) stands at the center of the square and commemorates the 1830 revolution, during which king Charles X was replaced by king Louis-Philippe.  The bottom half of the column is plastered in advertising billboards...:

    Another notable attraction in the Bastille square is the imposing Bastille Opera. The Bastille Opera building was opened on July 14, 1989 during the bicentennial celebrations of the French revolution. It was part of the 'grand projects' initiated by the former French president François Mitterrand. The massive building was meant to be a modern and democratic opera building, as opposed to the aristocratic Palais Garnier. A metro exit as well as shops are integrated in the building, reinforcing the idea of a 'people's opera'. The Bastille Opera is by far the largest opera building of the two. Its auditorium seats 2700 people. The design by Carlos Ott, chosen from 750 entries in an international competition, contrasts starkly with its environment. The square is home to concerts and similar events. The north-eastern area of Bastille is busy at night with its many cafés, bars, night clubs, and concert halls.

    Not much to see in this congested and polluted square. It is NOT one of Paris' most beautiful spots.In case you prefer to skip the Place de la Bastille and start our route with the Bassin de l'Arsenal - you can arrive to one of the following metro stations: Quai de la Rapée (50 m. walk to the southern end of the basin) or Sully – Morland (500 m. walk to the basin).

    The large area behind the past fort has been transformed into a marina for pleasure boats, the Bassin de l'Arsenal or Port Arsenal, to the south, which is bordered by the Boulevard de la Bastille. Port Arsenal is the main reason for starting our route in the Bastille. It is a pleasant walk along its banks - until we arrive to the river Seine itself. To the north, a covered canal (and further north, an open one), the Canal Saint-Martin, extends north from the marina beneath the vehicular roundabout that borders the location of the fort, and then continues for about 4.4 kilometers to the Place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad. Your best bets are Thursdays and Sundays (08:00-14:00): a large, open-air market occupies part of the park to the north of the Place de la Bastille, along the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir. Locals and tourists find fresh fruit, fish, meat, cheese and breads and, mainly, typical flea market items. Note the "crayons" (home-made saucisson/sausages' snacks) with different flavors.  Many cafés and some other businesses largely occupy the close-by Rue de la Roquette and the Rue Saint-Antoine passes directly over it as it opens onto the roundabout of the Bastille.

    From the Place de la Bastille - we head southward along Boulevard Bourdon (it deviates from Avenue Henri IV) along the Bassin de l'Arsenal.  We walk 650 m. along the pleasant east bank of the Arsenal port until we meet Boulevard Morland. From here we get a nice view of the whole arsenal port/canal with the (remote) Colonne de Juillet in the Place de la Bastille:

    No tourists around. Very calm and pretty place to relax from the hassle of Paris. The canal tour company Canauxrama (their centre is in the Bassin de la Villette - and they have a small stall also in the Arsenal port) runs a daily 2.5hr cruise (with possibility of lunch and dinner à la carte) along the Canal Saint-Martin which departs 09.45 and 14.30 from the charming Arsenal Marina to the Parc de la Villette or inversely. It costs €18. Bar on board:

    The Bassin de l'Arsenal (Port de l'Arsenal) links the Seine river with the Canal Saint-Martin. It is bordered by the Boulevard Bourdon (4th arrondissement) on the westerly side (Where we walk) and the Boulevard de la Bastille (the 12th arrondissement) on the easterly side. The arsenal basin derives its name from the name of the neighborhood, Arsenal, bordering the westerly (4th arrondissement) side of the basin. The destruction of the Bastille created the fossé (ditch) in the foreground. This fossé was later converted into the Bassin de l'Arsenal. During the French Revolution, the Bassin de l'Arsenal was excavated to replace the ditch that had been in place to draw water from the Seine to fill the moat at the fortress. During the nineteenth century and most of the twentieth, the Bassin de l'Arsenal was a commercial port where goods were loaded and unloaded. The port was converted into a leisure port in 1983 by a decision of the Paris City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and it is now run by the Association for the Leisure Port of Paris-Arsenal. Since that time, it has been a marina (port de plaisance), for approximately 250 pleasure boats.

    As we said before, we end our walk in the Arsenal Basin with facing the Pont Morland. We cross the Avenue Morland and Blvd. Henri IV and turn north-west along the Seine river. It is 550 m. walk, along Quai Henri IV, to the next bridge - Pont de Sully. The view of Notre-Dame Cathedral from Quai Henri IV:

    When we approach Pont de Sully - we see the southern edge of Île Saint-Louis:  one of two natural islands in the Seine river (the other natural island is Île de la Cité):


    We see the Pont de Sully from the east. Actually, there are two separate bridges meeting on the south-eastern tip of the Île Saint-Louis. They link the 4th and 5th arrondissements of Paris along Boulevard Henri IV, and they connect, also, to the eastern end of the Boulevard Saint-Germain. it connects the Pavillon de l’Arsenal on the Right Bank to the Institut du Monde Arabe (Left Bank). Sully-Morland is, again, the nearest Metro station. The current bridge was constructed in 1876, as part of Haussmann's renovation of Paris, and opened on 25 August 1877. It is named in honour of Maximilien de Béthune, duke of Sully (1560-1641) and minister to Henry IV. The two bridges were built with an angle of about 45 degrees to the river banks. The view from the south (where we appreoach the bridge) is more beautiful since the southern section is comprised of  three cast-iron arches. From the south-east - Pont de Sully offers one of the loveliest views of Ile Saint-Louis and Notre Dame Cathedral:


    It is 500 m. walk to the next bridge - Pont Marie. We walk, now, along the Quai de Celestins. Leaving the Pont de Sully, we pass near Square Henri-Galli on our right. It is triangular in shape and is framed by boulevard Henri-IV , quai Henri-IV and Quai des Célestins. In the corner formed by Boulevard Henri IV and Quai Henri IV there are vestiges of one of the eight towers of the Bastille prison. Arriving to Pont Marie - we start walking along Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville. The bridge links the Île Saint-Louis to the Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville and is one of three bridges designed to allow traffic flow between the Île Saint-Louis and the Left and Right banks of Paris. The bridge is one of the oldest bridges in Paris. The Pont Marie links the Right Bank and is the counterpart of the Pont de la Tournelle which is hardly seen from the distance, on our left, and built along the same line but serves to connect the Île Saint-Louis with the Left Bank. The Pont Marie derives its name from the engineer Christophe Marie, who proposed its construction beginning in 1605. Actually, the bridge was approved for building by the king only on 1614, at which point Louis XIII laid the first stone as part of a formal bridge building ceremony. The Pont Marie's construction was spread out over 20 years, from 1614 to 1635. Around 50 houses lined the bridge in the 17th century, but were later demolished. Since the 18th century, the structure has seen little change. The Pont Marie connects the Marais with the Ile Saint-Louis. Closest Métro station: Pont Marie. Arriving to the Marie bridge is a good excuse to stop here and take lots of pictures of Île Saint-Louis and the river. It's just the right place for taking pictures for TV teams and romantic couples. You won't regret coming here during the sunset and night hours:

    Allow time to make a short detour at the Gardens of Hôtel de Sens, 7 Rue des Nonnains d'Hyères, a superb 15th-century building, on the right (east) side of Pont Marie. Hotel de Sens is one of only three medieval residences remaining in all of Paris. It is a a stately medieval castle, complete with turrets, spires and grand stone arches. The castle was built between 1475 and 1507. The Hotel de Sens is most famous for having served for several months as the residence of Queen Margot who moved into the building in 1605 after her marriage to King Henri IV. The Hotel de Sens was confiscated during the French Revolution and began a long chapter of misuse and neglect. The City of Paris bought the building in 1911. In 1929 it was turned into the Bibliotheque Forney, a textile and graphic art library and museum, with an extensive collection including 230,000 prints and 48,000 museum catalogues. From 2011, the castle was once again cleaned and renovated. Nowadays, the hotel still houses the Forney art library:

    The gardens are BEAUTIFUL with magnificent floral creations and very relaxing:

    Our next bridge is Pont Louis Philippe - 330 m. walk from Pont Marie, along Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville. Pont Louis Philippe links the Quai de Bourbon on the Île Saint-Louis with the Saint-Gervais neighborhood on the right bank. King Louis-Philippe laid the first stone of a wooden suspension bridge on July 29, 1833 - marking his accession to the throne after the Revolution of 1830. This unnamed bridge was opened to traffic on July 26, 1834. It was burned during the Revolution of 1848, but was fully restored. It was eventually named Pont de la Réforme, a name it kept until 1852. The bridge was opened to traffic in August 1862. The bridge leads into the Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe. Closest Métro station: Pont Marie. One of the most sought-out spots in Paris, by the Seine river, to enjoy the sunset:

    View to the Notre-Dame Cathedral from Pont Louis-Philippe:

    Again, we make a break and spare 1 hour for visiting an overwhelming museum - The Shoah Memorial. Turn right to Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, turn left to Rue de l'Hôtel de ville and climb, immediately, to Rue des Barres - a charming small alley. On our left is the Église Saint-Gervais.  Saint Gervais church, 13 rue Barres is the oldest church in the north of Paris. It is named for brothers and Roman officers who were martyred by Nero. The Saint-Gervais Church sheltered one of the most famous families of French musicians during more than two centuries since 1653: the Couperin family. On the side of the church still remains the house of these famous organists and composers as well as a plate commemorating their address. The prestigious organ of Louis and François Couperin exists still today inside the Church. It was rebuilt in 1212, in 1420 and in 1581. Its very high Gothic vaults are as bold as they are elegant. The church of Saint-Gervais possessed stained glass windows by Jean Cousin and Pinaigrier which still exist in part, paintings by Albrecht Dürer, Champaigne and Lesueur:

    Inside, the building is richly decorated. A stone crown adorns the keystone of the chapel of the Virgin. The stained glass windows of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste chapel date back to 531 and illustrate the Wisdom of Solomon:

    Leaving Église Saint-Gervais - we continue walking northward along Rue des Barres and turn, immediately, right to the Alee des Justifis (or: rue Grenier sur L'eau) to meet the secured yard and building of the Mémorial de la Shoah: a whole complex (multimedia center, library, reading room, memorial monuments, exhibitions and documents of the slaughtered French Jews during the Holocaust. For those who are remembered forever. The museum is mesmerizing, evocative and moving and totally in contrary to romantic and joyful Paris - particularly the crypt with the eternal flame. This location had been chosen since Le Marais had a large Jewish population before WW2.  Be prepared for VERY tight security procedures and for unforgettable experience inside. A must. Amazing restraint and dignity in this sobering memorial. As you enter, you go through walls with the names and birth dates of the victims. Inside, the most bottom floor is dedicated to the permanent exhibition: the events that lead up to the holocaust. There is special room with photographs of the murdered children. On the middle floor -  a temporary exhibit of the years after-war. On May 2017 - the trial against Klaus Barbie - the "Butcher of Lyon". We found the museum, during our unplanned visit - FULL with French young students and researchers. Please pay tribute to the murdered ! Free admission. NO photos inside:

    We rturn via Rue Geoffroy l'Asnier to the Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville and continue walking along the Seine and Quai de l'Hôtel de Ville westward. We, quickly face, on our right, the Paris Hôtel de Ville. It has been the headquarters of the municipality of Paris since 1357. It serves multiple functions, housing the local administration, the Mayor of Paris (since 1977), and also serves as a venue for large receptions. The northern (left) side of the building is located on the Rue de Rivoli. The nearby Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville (BHV) is a department store named after the Hôtel de Ville. one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris. There are numerous statues on and around the building. The architecture is grand and the interior is splendid. Note: in front of the Town Hall big courtyrad are TWO "Paris Water Springs" to refill bottles: the water is free, fresh and perfectly drinkable. What a treat !   Closest Metro station: Hôtel de Ville:

    Continue walking north along Quai de l'Hôtel de ville. Cross Place de l'Hôtel de Ville. On our left is the Pont au Change. It connects the Île de la Cité from the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, to the Right Bank, at the Place du Châtelet. The current bridge was constructed from 1858 to 1860, during the reign of Napoleon III. The bridge bears the letter N which is the imperial insignia of Napoleon III. It owes its name to the goldsmiths and money changers who had installed their shops on the bridge in the 12th century. It provides a pretty view of the Seine on either side. This bridge was also featured in Les Miserables...

    Our next attraction is the Place du Châtelet. The public square stands on the land that was once the site of the medieval fortress of Grand Châtelet. The fortress was built around 1130 by King Louis VI at the Pont au Change (a bridge) to defend the Île de la Cité, Paris's historic center. The area around the fortress was one of the city's most dangerous and criminal. During the rule of Napoleon, in the year 1808, the whole neighborhood including the Grand Châtelet was destroyed in an attempt to eradicate the criminality. After the area was cleared, the idea for a public square was carried out. The first thing we will notice,  approaching Place du Châtelet, is the large fountain that stands in the center. Known as the Palmier Fountain, it was built in 1808 and erected to pay homage to Napoleon's victory in Egypt. A golden winged figure sits atop the column in the center of the fountain and a number of sphinxes surround it, each commemorating a famous battle, including the Siege of Danzig (1807, Prussia), the Battle of Ulm (1805, Austria), the Battle of Marengo (1800, Italy), the Battle of the Pyramids (1798, Egypt), and the Battle of Lodi (1796, Italy):

    On either side of the Place du Châtelet stands a theatre. West to the square is  Théâtre du Châtelet, is reserved for music and, more recently, hosted a number of popular Broadway-style musicals. The Théâtre de la Ville, which is situated on the east side of the square, is dedicated to theatrical performances, both classic and contemporary. This theatre was once owned by actress Sarah Bernhardt, who was born and died in Paris and lived much of her life there. The two theatres were designed by the French architect Jean- Antoine-Gabriel Davioud, and built around 1862 in an effort to attract more upper-class people to the area. The two buildings are almost mirror images of each other. Underneath this busy square lies one of the largest Metro stations in Paris, with five metro lines and three RER lines all converging under the square.

    We skip the Pont d'Arcole and Pont Notre-Dame. The Arcole bridge connects the Hotel de Ville on the right bank to the Hôtel Dieu on the Île de la Cité. The name comes from the battle of Pont d'Arcole won by Napoleon Bonaparte on the Austrians in 1796. It was by the Pont d'Arcole that the first tanks of the 2nd Armored Division of General Leclerc arrived at the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville during the Liberation of Paris in August 1944:

    Pont Notre-Dame links Quai de Gesvres on the right bank (Rive Droite) with Quai de la Corse on the Île de la Cité - one of the two natural islands on the Seine. The bridge is noted for being the "most ancient" in Paris - BUT, NOT keeping its original state. Each of the bridge's arches carries a head of Dionysus carved in stone. Its piles are decorated on each side with a ram's head. In the niches along the arches there are statues of Saint Louis, Henri IV, Louis XIII, and Louis XIV:

    Our next detour and destination is the Tour Saint-Jacques. We turn right(north) to the Blvd. de Sebastopol. On our left we see the Chat Noir bar, 5, Blvd. de Sebastopol:

    We cross Avenue Victoria and turn right (east) to the Tour Saint-Jacques. On summer 2017 the tower complex and the park around were surrounded by fences and ware under reconstruction. Wanting to have green spaces as in London, a park was made around the tower and a facing street was named in honor of Queen Victoria coinciding with her Paris visit. The tower is 52-metre high, Gothic tower, built between 1509 and 1523, and all that remains of the former 16th-century Church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie ("Saint James of the butchery"), which was demolished in 1797, during the French Revolution, leaving only the tower. This sanctuary was the meeting point on the Via Toronensis (or Tours route) of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle). The closest métro station is Châtelet. In the mid-seventeenth century, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal chose to use Tour St-Jacques as his laboratory, where he conducted a variety of experiments on atmospheric pressure. In tribute to Pascal, a statue of the scientist stands at the base of the tower and a number of meteorological instruments were placed on the roof. Nice view from the top of the tower - when it is open. Three hundred steps lead to the summit of the former bell tower. Open: JUN-SEP only, WED-SUN, 10.00 - 17.00. Price: 10 € adult, youngsters under 18 - 8 €. It is possible to climb the tower in summer, but only with a guided tour. The stunning building is well preserved and a great site for taking some photos:

    A stunning view of the tower from Rue Nicholas Flamel (the main entrance):

    The statue of Blaise Pascal:

    The Hotel de Ville from the Tour Saint Jacques:

    View from the tower to the west towards Eiffel Tower:

    View from the tower towards North East – From Beaubourg to Belleville:

    View from the tower towards the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre:

    We leave the Tour Saint Jacques and its gasrden\park from its north-east corner to connect with Rue Saint-Martin street  and walking northward along this road. This is, mainly, pedestrianized road packed with restaurants and boutique shops.  It is an old way and It takes its name from the former priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs , today assigned to the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (CNAM), to which it leads.  We liked this atmospheric, typical-Parisien road. Rue Saint-Martin crosses Rue Rivoli and Rue Pernelle in its way from south to north and makes very long way to the north - until it ends in Blvd. Saint-Denis. It diverges (beyond rue Pernelle) to two interesting roads: rue de la Verrerie to the right (east) and rue des Lombards to the left (west). By the way - from the beginning of Saint-Martin road - you get another wonderful view of Tour Saint-Jacques. Turning right to rue de la Verrerie will bring you to an interesting road which is unique, mainly, after raising your head upward for catching its hidden gems. It dates from the 12th century and takes its name from the glass makers who were established there, according to the habits of the Middle Ages. The Rue de la Verrerie was, at the beginning of the 20th century, the street of merchants in grocery stores, or, as it was then called, in colonial goods:

    The rue des Lombards is famous, above all, for hosting three of the main French jazz clubs : Le Baiser Salé, Le Duc des Lombards and the Sunset/Sunside. The Sunset/Sunside regularly welcomes world-class artists. Today, la rue des Lombards hosts a motley nightlife, mixing british pubs and gay bars, French restaurants and chicha bars, far from the financial turmoil of medieval times, except for the abusive prices of the drinks. It was originally a banking center in medieval Paris, a trade dominated by Lombard merchants from the 13th century and until the 18th century (as in the City of London).

    We return to the Seine rive, but, now, we are in the Quai de Gesvres. We head to the Pont Neuf. It is 500 m. walk from Pont au Change to Pont Neuf along the Quai de la Mégisserie. The Pont Neuf ("New Bridge")  is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris, Along with the Pont Alexandre III, it is one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris. The Pont Neuf actually consists of two different bridge spans, one on each side of the Île de la Cité, where the Place du Pont Neuf connects the two spans. The bridge has a total of twelve arches, with one span of seven arches joining the right bank and another span of five arches connecting Île de la Cité with the left bank. The other, near our route, is another of seven joining the island to the right bank.  The Pont Neuf meets Île de la Cité near the most northern tip of the island south to the Square du Vert-Galant -, a small public park named in honour of Henry IV, nicknamed the "Green Gallant". In the middle of the bridge stands the bronze statue of Henry IV on his horse. The statue, installed in 1818, faces the left bank. The bridge is full with couples' love PADLOCKS (padlocks on Pont Des Arts have been removed !). Breathtaking views all around. Be aware of pickpocketers. From the Vedettes du Pont Neuf,
    1 Square du Vert Galant - departs, every half an hour, a 1-hour cruise along the Seine. The cruise passes through various spots along the Seine - EXACTLY in par with our Tipter route ! Internet prices (http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/home/): Adult : 10,00 € "open" ticket (12 € for fixed-time departure), Child : 5,00 €:

     

    350 m. further walking to the north-west along the Quai de Conti brings us to the Pont des Arts.This section is packed with books' stalls along the Seine:

    Some of them with iconic vinyl records:

    The Pont des Arts or Passerelle des Arts links the Institut de France on the left bank and the central square (cour carrée) of the Palais du Louvre on the right bank.  This bridge was built etween 1802 and 1804, under the reign of Napoleon I, as the first metal bridge in Paris.  The bridge is,  today, an open-air studio for painters, artists and photographers who are drawn to its unique point of view. From 2015 all padlocks had been avoided and torn-off from the bridge panels. Thousands of padlocks (with total weight of 50 tons) had been removed from the bridge. Metal panels of this bridge had been replaced with special glass panels, where locks cannot be attached to. The Arts bridge is not anymore serving as a repository for love padlocks. There is permanent presence of street artists or performers. We felt romantic without the mighty weight of the locks and their glittering from the metal locks. Closest Métro station: Pont Neuf:

    Most of the next 450 m. from Pont des Arts to Pont du Carrousel is along Quai Malaquais. king Louis-Philippe named it Pont du Carrousel in 1834, because it opened on the Right Bank river frontage of the Palais du Louvre near the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in front of the Tuileries Gardens. The bridge is situated so as to make it in line with The Louvre Museum. The one you can see today was constructed between 1935 and 1939. Its unique feature are the four stone statues, which were designed by Louis Petitot as allegorical statues depicting Industry, Abundance, The City of Paris and The River Seine, which originate from the original bridge back in 1847, although the bases they sit on are more recent. Pont du Carrousel linking the Quai des Tuileries on the Right Bank to the Quai Voltaire on the Left Bank. The nearest Métro station is Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre. The bridge carries a huge volume of traffic back and forth across the river from the archway entrance to the Louvre, to the Quai Voltaire. The views, from the Carrousel bridge, are breathtaking with the tremendous Louvre on one side of the river (and the Musee d’ Orsay on the other side, on the left bank):

    The next bridge downstream is the Pont Royal. Beyond Pont du Carrousel starts Quai François Mitterrand. We walk 300 m. to Pont Royal. The third oldest bridge in Paris, after the Pont Neuf and the Pont Marie. The Pont Royal meets the left bank of the Seine in Avenue du Général Lemonnier. The bridge is constructed with five elliptical arches. The construction of a new bridge was ordered by Louis XIV. Jules Hardouin was instructed to build a bridge in stone. The five-arch bridge was built between 1685 and 1689 using the best materials and finest stone. Since its construction, it has only been slightly modified. It is a listed historical monument.

    Note the impressive building on the right bank - just before arriving to the bridge:

    From the Pont Royal - you see, very clearly, from the right bank the impressive complex of Musée d'Orsay:

    From Pont Royal starts Quai des Tuileries and extends until the Pont de la Concorde. Our next bridge is far less known and it is the passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor or pont de Solférino. The former cast iron bridge inaugurated by Napoleon III in 1861, which allowed vehicles to cross between quai Anatole-France and quai des Tuileries. The new passerelle de Solférino linking the Musée d'Orsay and the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Gardens) was built between 1997 and 1999. Crossing the Seine with a single span and no piers, this metallic bridge is architecturally unique and covered in exotic woods. Its materials give the bridge a light and warm appearance. Its innovative designe brought Marc Mimram, its designer, the award "Prix de l'Équerre d'Argent" for the year 1999. It is a "passerelle" and not a "pont" because there is only pedestrian traffic. The bridge was renamed after Léopold Sédar Senghor, past president of Senegal (1960-1980) (and also former French minister), on 9 October 2006 on the centenary of his birth. This is a PRETTY bridge and ROMANTIC. Don't rush over this bridge and allow time to walk on this masterpiece of engineering and design. Closest Metro station: Assemblée Nationale:

    Before approaching our next bridge, Pont de la Concorde- we (hardly) see and pass (on our right, in the most western edge of Jardin des Tuileries) the Musee de l'Orangerie:

    Before approaching the Pont de la Concorde - we take another phote of our last stop, in this itinerary, the Eiffel Tower:

    Pont de la Concorde links the Quai des Tuileries at the Place de la Concorde (on the Right Bank) and the Quai d'Orsay (on the Left Bank). It has formerly been known as the Pont Louis XVI, Pont de la Révolution, Pont de la Concorde, Pont Louis XVI again during the Bourbon Restoration (1814), and again in 1830, Pont de la Concorde, the name it has retained to this day. It had been planned since 1755, when construction of place Louis XV (now place de la Concorde) began, to replace the ferry that crossed the river at that point. A masterpiece of Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, conceived in 1772, The demolition of the Bastille offered the perfect opportunity to finish the bridge and build one of the first monuments of the new republic. Abolishing its original name of Pont Louis XVI, the Pont de la Révolution was completed in 1791. Traffic across the bridge became very congested and the bridge had to be widened on both sides between 1930 and 1932. Today, the Concorde square is one of the busiest spots in Paris. The bridge itself is nothing special. But, you can get nice views of the Seine from this bridge. Closest Metro stations Assemblée nationale and Concorde:

    View of Pont Alexandre III from Pont de la Concorde:

    550 m. seperate between Pont de la Concorde and Pont Alexandre III. But, this section is one of the most beautiful parts of the Seine banks - mainly, thanks to the magnificent Pont Alexandre III. First, we pass through the Port de la Concorde (on our left) and, while approaching Pont Alexandre III - we pass north to the Port des Champs-Élysées:

    The more we approach the Pont Alexandre III - the more impressive are the sights on our left:

    The last 200 m. before arriving to Pont Alexandre III from east to west, along the Port des Champs-Élysées - is not less than spectacular:

    The Pont Alexandre III connects the Champs-Élysées quarter in the right bank with those of the Invalides and Eiffel Tower in the left bank. The bridge is the most ornate, grandiose bridge in the city. It was built between 1896 and 1900. this historical monument was constructed for the 1900 Universal Exposition in the French capital. It is named after Tsar Alexander III, who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892.  The Pont Alexandre III opened just in time for the Universal Exposition of 1900 together with several structures that still stand today like the Gare d'Orsay, the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais. The exposition would attract an impressive 50 million visitors. This bridge is very unique in Paris with its exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses on its both ends. The style of the bridge reflects that of the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais , to which it leads on the right bank. The top design, by the architects Joseph Cassien-Bernard and Gaston Cousin, was constrained by the need to keep the bridge from obstructing the views from Les Invalides to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The closest metro station to here is Champs-Élysées - Clemenseau or Invalides.

    Four gilt-bronze statues of Fames watch over the bridge. The gilded statues of the fames (representing the illustrious Arts, Sciences, Commerce and Industry) are eye-catching when looking up at them against the blue sky. This is the north side of the bridge, and, from here we start the Cours la Reine section promenade - along Port des Champs-Élysées:

    The Nymph reliefs are at the centres of the arches over the Seine. On each side of the Pont Alexandre III at the centre of the curved arch, there is an angular stone, which on one side shows a hammered copper sculpture of the Nymphs of Neva displaying the arms of Imperial Russia. On the opposite side sits a sculpture of the Nymphs of the Seine, showing the arms of France. Both sculptures were produced by Georges Recipon, who also worked on the construction of the Grand Palais, in preparation for the 1900 World Fair in Paris:

    There are also two statues of lions designed by the French sculptors Jules Dalou and Georges Gardet:

    Here, we are 150 m. "deep" (west) in Port des Champs-Élysées:

    A view back (east) to the Pont Alexandre III on our way to Pont des Invalides:

    We walk only 250 m. further west to arrive to the Pont des Invalides. Again, heavy traffic will hamper your enthusiasm of this bridge. But, you get good views of Paris and the Seine from this busy bridge. This is the lowest bridge over Seine. You get amazing views of Eiffel Tower from both sides of the bridge:

    You find two moving monuments in the north side of Pont des Invalides, along the right bank. The first, in Place du canada,  is the Monument in Memory of the Russian Expeditionary Force 1916 - 1918 in Paris. The bronze statue shows an ordinary Russian soldier in uniform next to a horse that was designed to look like it was drinking water, and this was the vision of Vladimir Surovtsev who was the main Russian sculptor of this monument, which he gave it a name of The Spring, referring to the Russian Soldiers homeland.  The statue was inaugurated on 21st June 2011. On 27th November 2009, the Russian Prime Minister / President Vladimir Putin and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon approved the idea of establishing a memorial dedicated to the officers and soldiers of the Russian Expeditionary Force and an international competition was launched with the renowned artist Vladimir Surovtev being the overall winner. During World War I the Allies asked for help from Russia, and the Russians responded by sending 750 officers and 45,000 soldiers from the Russian Expeditionary Force, with two of the brigades being sent to fight alongside French soldiers in Champagne, France. Unfortunately over 5,000 Russians were killed in battle, most notably defending Reims and on the Somme River:

    The second monument, in Cours Albert 1, is the Armenian Genocide Memorial commemorating the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and honors the French-Armenians who died during the first and second World Wars. The monument is dedicated, especially to Father Komitas (real name:Soghomon Soghomonian), composer, and musicologist who collected the songs of oral tradition of the Armenian people. The closest métro stations are Invalides and Franklin D. Roosevelt:

    With this monument starts Jardin d'Erevan - a very nice section with Linden trees, a gorgeous pocket of landscaped greenery. The relatively unknown garden was inaugurated on 12 March 2009 by French foreign affairs minister Edvard Nalbandian in the presence of legendary French singers Charles Aznavour and Helène Ségara, both Armenian in heritage. Erevan is the French name for Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

    Our way from Pont des Invalides to Pont de l'Alma is especially splendid. The Jardin d'Erevan on our right and the bateaux Mouches on our left. The Bateaux-Mouches pier is located very close to the Pont de l’Alma on the Port de la Conférence. Another cruise company with boats departing from their extensive basin near the Pont des Invalides. THey own 6 passenger-boats for a romantic commentated trip down the Seine. Boat tours depart daily, running in both the daytime and evening. Most of them serve meals and have interior restaurants. The boats depart from there and travel up the Seine towards Notre Dame de Paris, passing by the Louvre Museum, the Town Hall and the Conciergerie. The boat turns around near to the Arab World Institute. Passing via the Monnaie (Paris Mint), down a small arm of the Seine between the Ile de la Cité and the Left Bank, gives you a close-up view to admire the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The cruise continues alongside the Musée d’Orsay and the National Assembly towards the Eiffel Tower. Most of their clientele are tourists groups. Price: 13 euros. Be advised: young Parisians standing on the bridges and throwing their drinks on the boats passengers' heads as you pass by... Most of the cruises are quite packed. This company runs also late-evening and late-night cruises as well. The boats are huge, flat and long and the views are good regardless of where you sit. Best at the front on the open top if the weather's allows. Magical atmosphere !  A great way to see the highlights of Paris at night without trekking from one location to the next. http://www.bateaux-mouches.fr/en/cruise/boat_tour

    View of Eiffel Tower and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Quai Branley from Jardin d'Erevan. Note the tiger sculpture on Bateaux Muches complex roof:

    Coming close to Pont de l'Alma and Place de l'Alma we observe the Mickiewicz monument. Commissioned by a Franco-Polish committee , the monument to Mickiewicz is a sculpture by Antoine Bourdelle . The first model dates from 1909 but Antoine Bourdelle saw the inauguration of this project, in Place de l'Alma, twenty years later on 28 April 1929 a few months before his death. Thereafter, the monument was moved to the Cours Albert- Ier at the Jardin d'Erevan in March 2009. It was a gift from the Poland to France:

    Our next stop is the Place de l'Alma. Place de l'Alma is a square at the intersection of New York Avenue , President Wilson , George V , Montaigne and the Albert I promenade. The square is famous for its Flame of Liberty , a replica of the flame of the Statue of Liberty . This flame is overlooking the tunnel where Princess Diana died on 31 August 1997 in a car accident. It has since served as a monument to the memory of many admirers of the princess:

    Pont de l'Alma (Alma Bridge) was named to commemorate the Battle of Alma during the Crimean War, in which the Ottoman-Franco-British alliance achieved victory over the Russian army, on 20 September 1854. Construction of an arch bridge took place between 1854 and 1856. It was designed by Paul-Martin Gallocher de Lagalisserie and was inaugurated by Napoleon III on 2 April 1856.

  • Citywalk | Spain
    Updated at Sep 2,2017

    Tip 2 - From Turia Gardens to Valencia Old City:

    Main Attractions: Turia Gardens, Gulliver Park, Palau de la Musica (Concert Hall), Placa Zaragoza, Puente d'Aragón, Puente de la Mar, Puente de las Flores, Puente Calatrava, Jardines del Real, Puente del Real, Plaça de Tetuán, Museo del Patriarca, The Plaza del Patriarca.

    The Turia Gardens are built on the former riverbed of the Turia, whose course was altered to prevent constant flooding in the city. After a devastating flood on 14 October 1957, the Turia's course was diverted south of the city, leaving a huge tract of land that crosses the city from West to East, bordering the historical centre.They stretch from Cabecera Park in the north and west to the City of Arts and Sciences in the south and east. The Turia Gardens is one of the largest urban parks in Spain. It runs through the city along eight-nine kilometres of green space boasting foot paths, leisure and sports areas, and romantic spots. Turia Gardens are the largest urban gardens in Spain. Crossed by 18 bridges full of history, the former riverbed passes by the city's main museums and monuments on either bank.  Several urban planners and landscapists designed different sections of the park, recreating the former river scenery. They created a unique itinerary of palm trees and orange trees, fountains and pine woods, aromatic plants and ponds, sports facilities and rose beds. The gardens were inaugurated in 1986. The Cabecera Park and Bioparc border the huge gardens to the west, and the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences border it on the opposite side, near the mouth of the river. The Turia Gardens connect a realistic-looking African savannah in the Bioparc with the underwater world and ecosystems you can visit in the Oceanogràfic in the City of Arts and Sciences, and the spectacular opera auditorium and Palau de les Arts housed also in the City of Arts and Sciences. There are many other interesting stops along the way. In the huge Gulliver park (see below), children can climb onto the fingers, hair and legs of a giant, 70m recumbent figure and slide down them like Lilliputians. The Palau de la Música (see below), which offers a complete annual programme, is nearby. Broad esplanades outside the Palau provide spaces where children can skate and play football. The ponds surrounding the City of Arts and Sciences hire out water walking balls and canoes in summer (see Tip 1 above). Valencia is a flat city, so the Turia Gardens are the perfect place for walking, running enthusiasts and those who prefer to cycle on bicycles and segways. As well as hiring a bike, you can hire a ‘bicycle and carriage for two’ – great if you want to enjoy the park at your leisure. These small vehicles are for hire in the Gardens. Valenbisi bike sharing scheme (http://www.budget-travel-tips.com/2011/10/valenbisi-bike-share-valencia-system.html) makes it easy and cheap to rent a bike and explore the city. The docking stations are spread all over the city, many of them being placed along the shores of the Turia Gardens. You will find several bars and cafés with extensive terraces along the way, where you can take a break for refreshment. The gardens are very popular with dog walkers, but in spite of that, stray cats made the riverbed their home, and they can be spotted in trees or sleeping in the grass, fat, happy and free, as people leave them cat food in the places where they know the little fellows hang around.

    The part of Turia Gardens around City of Arts and Sciences is the most spectacular of them all - large green spaces, elegant garden design, ponds and alleys, random artworks. Very popular, especially on weekends:

    Turia Gardens can be accessed from the steps nearby the nineteen bridges that cross the old riverbed. Some of these bridges are more than 5 centuries old (see below in Tip 3). We walk approx. 1.1 km. along the Turia Gardens from south-east to north-west  until we arrive to Gulliver Park, Antiguo Cauce del Turia. A total disappointment. No shade. Almost no water. No people during the hot hours. All fibreglass which with lots of different, huge slides coming down (children can, easily, disappear). Most of the equipment tools in the Gulliver playgrounds are neglected, dangerous or impractical due their temperature. The whole park is baked in the sun. However, the idea of Gulliver and tiny little people crawling over is brilliant. The famous literary work of fiction Gulliver’s Travels was the inspiration for this magical adventure park that lies at the heart of the Turia Gardens. The adventure park includes, also, a scale model of the city, surrounded by a minigolf course, a giant chessboard, tracks, skateboard area and lots of playground equipment:

    We continue walking 400 m. northward into and along the Turia Gardens - arriving to Jardines del Palau.

    Above them, on your right (east) stands the Palau de la Musica (Concert Hall). Designed by José María de Paredes. The Palau (palace) was inaugurated on the 25th April 1987 and since then has become one of the iconic buildings of modern Valencia and it is considered to be among the most important concert halls in Europe. An enormous glass dome that runs parallel to the Turia river-bed Park provides the main entrance. The exterior ambience penetrates the interior; the green areas flourish in the foyer while the great glass waterfall seems to pour into the pool, specially designed by Ricardo Bofill. From here you can watch the fountains that have been designed to spout to the beat of the music heard from the Palau throughout the garden. Concerts, operas, ballets, conferences, presentations, and all sorts of other educational activities have been and continue to be held inside and outside the building:

    Here, we quit the gardens and climb eastward (on our right) to the bustling street of Paseo de la Alameda (Passeig de l'Albereda). The section of the Paseo de la Alameda (south to Zaragoza Square) is the New Alameda:

    Here, in Placa Zaragoza (Zaragoza Square), we connect with the Historical Alameda. The historical part or walk runs from the square of Zaragoza (south) to the Municipal Nurseries (north)  along 1 km. It is connected with the Paseo de la Ciudadela, on the other side of the river, by five bridges: puente de Aragón (bridge of Aragon), el puente de la mar (the bridge of the sea), el puente de las flores (the bridge of flowers), el puente de la exposición (the exhibition bridge), el puente del Real (the Royal bridge). The Alameda is organized in main avenue, two independent lanes of three lanes each one with zones of parking to the center as the edges; Two strips of lawns on both sides; And a one-way (east-west) two-lane service road to the north. This is where the Torretas de los Guardas (Guard Turrets) are located. The two towers called Guardas, built in 1714  and dedicated to San Felipe and San Jaime, were preserved from the primitive mall and were intended to house the tenants of the nearby orchards and the private walk. The roof of each one has pyramidal form covered with blue glazed tiles. On the façade are the shields of the most influential families of the eighteenth century , symbolizing the aristocratic character of the new Bourbon Valenci. From the Plaza Zaragoza - start Av. del Puerto and Av. d'Arago to your right (east) and the Puente d'Aragón is on your left (spreading over the Turia Gardens):

    Torretas de los Guardas / Torretas de aduana (Guard Turrets) - Antigua Estación de Aragón (ancient railway station of Aragon:

    As we said before - there are 18 bridges along the Turia gardens. The most outstanding historical bridges are those of San José (17th century), Serranos (16th century), Trinidad (15th century), El Real (16th century) and El Mar (16th century). More recent bridges are the Puente de la Exposición, 9 d'Octubre, Las Flores and l'Assut d'Or, designed by Santiago Calatrava; the Las Artes bridge, next to the IVAM (Valencian Institute of Modern Art), by Norman Foster; and the Ángel Custodio bridge, by Arturo Piera. The former riverbed also links other points in Valencia not to be missed, like the Serranos Towers, a gate in the old city walls that surrounded Valencia, currently converted into a wonderful viewpoint over the historical centre and gardens; the Valencia Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) and the Museum of Fine Arts. All of these are located on the former banks of the Turia, which serve as a guide for an interesting cultural itinerary in the city of Valencia.

    We shall walk the Alameda from south to north. It is a landscaped walk of just over a kilometer in length that runs along the left bank of the River Turia, from the Puente de Aragón to the Puente del Real. The current Paseo de la Alameda was part of the old access road to the Royal Palace from the sea (Camino del Grao). Originally a place full of wetlands because of its proximity to the river and certainly unhealthy place. Between 1643 and 1645 Rodrigo Ponce de León, 4th Duke of Arcos and Viceroy of Valencia between 1642 and 1645, ordered to plant two parallel rows of poplars along the river's stream. From this moment the place will be known as the Alameda (place of poplars), losing its previous name of Prado of the Palace of the Real that boasted from the end of 16th century. In the middle of the seventeenth century, the "Fábrica Nova del Riu" finished building the walls and river banks in this area (left bank of the river) so that the place was protected from the floods and became a more livable place. From 1674 a period of public beautification of the place began, creating in 1677 an oval space or square in front of the Royal Palace, a place that would be used as a place of festivities, mainly for bullfights. This space was located approximately in the place that today is called Llano del Real. Towards 1692 La Alameda has become a public walking thoroughfare and the "Murs i Valls Factory" decideed to beautify the walk in all its extension that at that time only reached the Puente del Mar. New trees were planted and the oval square facing the Royal Palace was decorated with balls and stone benches creating the formal entrance to the Paseo de la Alameda.

    We arrive to the Bridge of Aragon (on our left, west) which is a pedestrian bridge and for passage of vehicles that crosses dried Turia riverbed - communicating the Zaragoza Square and the Paseo de la Alameda with the Gran Vía Marqués del Turia. It is the work of the engineers Arturo Monfort , José Burguera and Gabriel Leyda . It owes its name to the old railway station of Aragon, now disappeared. It was because of its construction that the Puente de la Mar happened to be of exclusive use for pedestrians.

    Puente d'Aragón:

    The next bridge is Pont del Mar (Puente de la Mar), 400 m. north to Pont (puente) d'Aragon. The Bridge of the Sea is a pedestrian bridge that crosses diagonally the Turia Gardens - connecting the Placa d'America and the Paseo de la Alameda. It is the most eastern of the five historical bridges of Valencia. The first bridge that is known had to be raised during the fourteenth century, then built of wood. Damage to this structure that produced the various floods of the River Turia forced in 1425 to build a more robust structure, which already had the foundations and pillars of stone:

    Puente de las Flores is 270 m. north to the Puente de la Mar. The Puente de las flores (Flower Bridge), was opened in 2002.,It connects Passeig de la Ciutadella with the Paseo de la Alameda. It owes its name to the flower pots full of flowers that can be found on both sides of the bridge. Puente de las Flores is decorated with 27,000 beautiful flowers of all colours, which vary throughout the seasons. The Puente de las Flores was built (in 2002) to replace a temporary pontoon constructed to meet the demands of the city’s traffic:

    A bit north to the Puente - note several interesting (Art Deco ?) buildings along Passeig de l'Albereda:

    We continue walking northward along the Alameda and we arrive, after 350 m. to the Puente Calatrava or Pont de l'Exposició (Bridge of the Expocision). The current bridge was designed by the Valencian engineer and architect Santiago Calatrava. It draws its name from the Regional Exposition Valenciana of 1909 and the world-known architect who designed this marvelous bridge. The Alameda Metro station resides here. The metro station located underneath the Exposition bridge, parallel to the Alameda and with access to it, was designed by Santiago Calatrava adopting the Spanish name of the old Alameda railway station that was located on the neighboring avenue of Aragon:

    There are 450 m. walk from the Fuente Calatrava to the last historical bridge - Pont del Real. Still a bit south to Pont del Real we observe the towers that crown the walk. They stand through the end to the Jardins del Reial / Jardines de Viveros, and were called Los Guardas (the Guards). They were incorporated into the walk in 1714:

    We ignore, at the moment, the Pont del Real and turn direct into the Jardines del Real (the Royal Gardens). The gardens used to be part of the Royal Palace until year 1810, or Viveros (greenhouses). There are many different areas to the park - tree lined avenues, a rose garden, a pond with ducks, fountains, pergolas, the nursery, a restaurant and lawns. The Natural Sciences Museum is also situated in the gardens. FREE gardens. It is the biggest park in the city. On one side, it continues into the pretty jardines de Monforte and, from their west side, they border the dried river Turia garden, which spans the 16th century royal bridge. A vast area of the green grounds provides fresh air for the city (quite rare during the summer months). Throughout the 20th century, the gardens have been repopulated and beautified, and are now a favourite spot for Sunday morning walks. In the summer the central esplanade is converted into an improvised concert hall, especially during the July Fair, and in springtime the walkways are filled with bookstalls during the Feria del Libro. Some nice statues and fountains in the park. There are also restrooms. The cafe/restaurant in the gardens - is good, budget and honest. Just light portions. Overall the gardens are devoid of colour (bear in mind: Valencia suffers long hot temperatures during the summer), and in some areas, water features are in need of maintenance:

    We exit the gardens and walk westward (direction of the Turia Gardens) to connect with Puente del Real (Royal Bridge). A 16th century bridge. It holds images of both Saint Vincent Martyr (died in 3rd century AD) and Saint Vincent Ferrer (died in 1419) - carved by Carmelo Vicent and Ignacio Pinazo.

    Statue of San Vicente Mártir:

    Statue of San Vicente Ferrer:

    This bridge was inaugurated to celebrate the wedding of King Philip III of Spain to Queen Margarita, but it seemingly does not take its name "Real" from "Royal" but from "Rahal", an Arabic word that means orchard or garden. The bridge connected the Palacio del Real to the walled city. The Palace itself was demolished in early 19th century by the Valencian people so that Napoleon troops could not place their guns up there to bomb the city. The former Palace's gardens are Jardines del Real or Viveros - we've just visited. The Gothic bridge was built after the 1517 flood destroyed the old wooden bridge. Construction on the Puente del Real began in 1595, with ashlars and keystones from the cemetery of the nearby Santo Domingo Convent, and was concluded three years later, to coincide with the wedding celebrations of King Felipe III and Queen Margarita.

    The Puente del Real has nine pointed vaults and a pair of structures housing sculptures of San Vicente Mártir and San Vicente Ferrer . The bridge was severely damaged in the floods of 1957 and was widened in 1964 to increase traffic flow, thereby losing its human scale.

    From the western end of Pont del Real we head southwest toward Passeig de la Ciutadella, 110 m and turn right onto Passeig de la Ciutadella and Plaça de Tetuán. Turn left onto Plaça de Tetuán, 80 m. Plaza Tetuan is one of those places in Valencia that just happen to be a cluster of things to see with nothing in common between those. Convento de Santo Domingo is a large, atmospheric monasterial complex that will remind you of the Imperial days. A mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Neo-classical, it dates from as far back as 14th century:

    Right opposite it is Palacio de Cervello. Although not particularly anything special visually, it is a very important building in Valencia - used as a royal residence during the 19th century, Those rooms have seen hugely historic events and are currently housing a museum:

    A few meters down is the small park of Glorieta where you can soak up the Spanish afternoon among some very curious trees. As you walk towards there, note the high bank building on your right, Centro Cultural Bancaja it is unbelievable:

    There are many more attraction, nearby (Puerta del Mar, Palacio de Justicia, Chapel of San Vicente Ferrer) - but, we shall return to them in other Tipter blogs of Valencia. The same holds for the Old City of Valencia. We assume that, at this point of your daily itinerary in Valencia - you are quite late in the afternoon or, even, in the evening hours. We shall sample the old city in one spot only - the Museo del Patriarca. In these hours of the day - it won't be crowded and you will be able to spare a generous span of time for this rare attraction. From the Plaça de Tetuán there are three altrenative routes to arrive to this museum. All of them are 600 metres walk. The simplest route is the following: Walk south in Plaza de Tetuán, 100 m. Continue onto Carrer del General Tovar
    160 m. Continue straight onto Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim (we shall visit this magnificent square in another Tipter blog on Old Valencia !), 35 m. Turn right toward Carrer de la Nau, 55 m, slight left along Carrer de la Nau, additional 55 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Nau 200 metres further and the Iglesia / Colegio / Museo Del Patriarca, Carrer de la Nau, 1 will be on your right. Formally, it is called Royal Seminary School of the Corpus Christi. This Royal Seminary School, well-known among the Valencian people as ´The Patriarch´, has as its main aim the training of novice priests following the spirit and wills of the Council of Trent precisely laid down in the Constitutions by its founder Juan de Ribera who became archbishop of Valencia in year 1568. This archibishop was fully committed to the ideal of the reformation of the Church according to the precepts of Trent. It is an important building architecturally for reflecting the importance the Italian Renaissance had in Spain. Guided tours (1 hour) cost 7 € per person and include the rare tapestries. This combination of Museum, Corpus Christi Royal College (seminary) and the church (Iglesia) will consume, at least, one hour from your time. PLAN YOUR TIME IN ADVANCE TO AVOID BEING RUSHED OR DRIVEN OUTSIDE WITHOUT SEEING ALL THE SEMINARY CORNERS !!! The visit in this place is an highly spiritual experience. There are very rare treasures inside. If you are lucky you will hear the monks singing there - a wonderful and moving experience. The guided tour is interesting, but it drives you forward quite hastily without allowing enough time to explore all the museum overwhelming works of arts. Ignore all the concerned websites (there are two of them). The best time to arrive id daily from 11.00 until 13.00. If you wat to take part in the service and listen to the monks songs - come TUE-SUN at 09.30 (the CHURCH, not the museum, is closed on Mondays). You pay the entry fee of 6 € (non-guided, free tour) to the old man in the entrance, on your right).

    The building itself is stunning, the architecture. The structure takes up an entire city block, deliberately built in front of the original university so that the students could easily attend relevant classes. The main entrance on Carrer de la Nau shows a mix of architectural styles, and the main double vestibule or hall separates the church from the "Capilla de la Inmaculada", both of which are worth of a visit:

    The internal Italian court from the 126th century with with mosaics from Talavera near Toledo, Spain. This is, perhaps, the most important feature architecturally in the Patriarca complex. Considered one of the most beautiful within the Spanish Renaissance:

    The interiors are, basically, a single vaulted nave and FOUR deep high arched chapels on the sides leading to a magnificent apse and choir space with a dome above - all crossed by a short transept. The high altarpiece features a masterpiece painting of "The Last Supper" (La Última Cena) by Francisco Ribalta in 1606:

    .

    The building also houses the Patriarca museum where you can contemplate a selection of paintings by Archbishop Ribera as well as many other artists. All of these works are representative of the painting done in the 16th and 17th centuries. Many pictures are by Ribalta and very few by El Greco and Caravaggio, Novaro and Baglione.

    The Crucifixion of Saint Peter - Caravaggio:

    The Kiss of Judah - Caravaggio:

    St.Augustin and St. Heronimus - 16th century picture:

    Another 16th century picture:

    Descent from the Cross, 15th cent., Roger van der Mezden:

    On the other side of two sides of the cloister are the church, richly frescoed by the Genoese painter Bartolomeo Matarana (1573-1605)

    and the Colegio chapel. The chapel, dedicated to the Passion of Christ, was conceived by San Giovanni de Ribera and painted by Tomas Hernandez, probably on the designs of Matarana, around 1606.

    Iglesia del Patriarca - Chapel of the Purisima, the Dome - Frescoes with Biblical Stories - by Tomás Hernández:

    The nave is painted with three Biblical scenes (Isaac's Sacrifice, the burning serpent in the desert, Jonah and the sea monster) that symbolize the three moments of Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection.

    Binding (Sacrifice) Of Isaac - Tomás Hernández:

    On the sides of the vault, the Prophets of Israel are depicted. Style and design are inspired by the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

    Jeremiah - by Tomás Hernández:

    Jonah The Prophet - by Tomás Hernández:

    Paintings of the Biblical prophets:

    Do not miss the frescoes of Carlo Maratta or Maratti (13 May 1625 – 15 December 1713). An Italian painter, active mostly in Rome, and known principally for his classic paintings executed in a Late Baroque Classical manner. Although he is part of the classical tradition stemming from Raphael, he was not exempt from the influence of Baroque painting and particularly in his use of colour:

    The Plaza del Patriarca, opposite the seminario, is not less impressive. Decorated with a symmetrical grid of orange trees, the Plaza del Patriarca is home to a couple of Valencia’s most historic buildings: the Real Colegio Seminario del Corpus Christi and La Nau (Universitat de València), both of which date from the 15th century. The square is dominated by the eastern façade of La Nau , an exhibition center of the University of Valencia , which occupies part of the square with a large public fountain with sculptures. To the north is the building that gives its name to the square, the Royal College of Corpus Christi of Valencia or Patriarca Seminario with a huge vertical window covered with a grid, although be on the second floor.

    The impressive fountain of Place del Colegio del Patriarca. You can watch and listen to free traditional Valencian music concert on Saturday nights in this square. Nearby can be found the Museo Nacional de Ceramica and Calle Poeta Querol, also known as Valencia’s Golden Mile, due to its great concentration of luxury brands:

    The closest Metro station is Colón (walk of 400 m.). From the Plaça del Collegio del Patriarca head south toward Carrer de Salvà, 30 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Salvà, 100 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Universitat, 25 m. Continue onto Carrer del Dr. Romagosa, 100 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Don Juan de Austria, 120 m. Take Metro line #5 (to the Aeroport). Drop off after 2 stops at Àngel Guimerà. Take Line # 1 to  Seminari - CEU and your hotel is near Beniferri station (3 stops). From Beniferri walk 250 m. to the Eurostars Gran Valencia hotel.

  • Citywalk | Spain
    Updated at Aug 31,2017

    Tip 1: City of Arts and Sciences and Turia Gardens - Valencia:

    Main Attractions: the Ágora, El Pont de l'Assut de l'Or, L'Oceanogràfic, El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, L'Hemisfèric, L'Umbracle, Pont de Montolivet, El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. 

    Tip 2: Turia Gardens and Valencia City Centre.

    Tip 3: Eurostars Gran Valencia Hotel.

    Start & End: Eurostars Gran Valencia Hotel, near Beniferri Metro station (see Tip 3).

    Tips and Hints:

    1. Valencia is VERY hot during the (long) summer months. The waist-deep pools and water around the buildings of the City of Arts and Sciences make it cooler.

    2. We recommend allowing 1 DAY for visiting only the outside landscaping of the city. Skip entry of the buildings. The architecture outside and walking along the Turia river gardens will consume, easily, one day.

    3. To walk around the complex is free. You have to pay to get into the museums and the Hemisferic or taking part in the aquatic activities (like the Bubbles, canoes).

    4. Combined ticket for the city's building (excluding aquatic activities) is €37.

    5. Bring with you a lot of water and some food. Restaurants around are a bit in scarce and are on the pricey side, There are no more than little cafes/eateries to grab food and drink are close by

    6. Come also during the dark. The lighting at night takes it to another dimension, it is even more impressive.

    7. There are cheap bikes to hire: €2/hour.

    8. There is a left-luggage service where you can leave your luggage or other belongings. It costs 2€ per day - at the entrance building to the Oceanogràfic, next to the information point/office.

    Introduction - City of Arts and Sciences: The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is situated in a two-kilometre-long area on the old Turia River bed. It is made up of six large elements: the Hemisfèric (IMAX Cinema and digital films) the Umbracle (landscaped vantage point), the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum (an innovative interactive science centre), the Oceanogràfic (Europe's largest aquarium with over 500 marine species), the Reina Sofía Palace of the Arts (dedicated to opera), and the Ágora (a multipurpose space in which concerts and many activities take place). You are transported into the future, not into the past.

    Trust me: this is a breathtaking feat of architecture that has to be seen to be believed. Coming to Valencia without seeing the City of Arts and Sciences (in Spanish: Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias or in valencian: Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències), is like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower. You can’t skip or ignore this futuristic complex devoted to sciences and culture located at the southern end of Valencia - what was formerly the bed of the River Turia. This spectacular and futuristic complex, was inaugurated in 1998 and designed by the great architects Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela as well as the engineers Alberto Domingo and Carlos Lázaro, The whole extensive site attracts more than 4 millions of visitors every year. Its architect, Santiago Calatrava, native of Valencia, wished that all eyes turned to the city of Valencia. His mission is accomplished and the “Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias” is today the modern and avant-gardist representation of the city. The 4 square kms of the city contains scientific and cultural buildings such as: the Oceanogràfic (Oceanographical museum), the Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe (Sciences Museum), the Hemisfèric, the Palau de las Arts Reina Sofía (Arts Palace), the Umbracle (urban gardens) and  the (deserted) Ágora. You will also find (very few) restaurants, shops and places to cool down. Around this area, were built high-rise residence towers, offices,  hotels and big shopping centers (the Aqua mall and Corte Inglés).

    The main purpose of this ambitious project was to regroup in one place, open to everyone - leisure, art and science. It’s a unique concept in its kind in Europe that spread over two kilometers on the formerly river Turia to attract tourists to Valencia for something else than getting tan and enjoying the beach. This project has finalized, nowadays, with being a magnet, for tourists, with its architectural qualities and variety. The whole site is breathtaking collections of architectural gems. A stunning mix of grandiose buildings, green parks, waterways, fountains, museums and exhibitions. Another two goals of this project were  to earn money and to revitalize an area of the city that was abandoned before, where hotels and shopping centers were almost empty. Since the construction of the City of Arts and Sciences, all has revived and was renovated in this district.

    In April 1998 the complex opened its doors to the public with L'Hemisfèric. Eleven months later, was, inaugurated the Prince Felipe Museum of the Sciences, although the museum was not yet finished. The museum was opened to the public twenty months later. December 12, 2002 was the opening of L'Oceanographic, the largest aquarium built in Europe. Finally, on October 8, 2005 the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía was opened and became the opera house of Valencia.

    You can catch a train that will lead you through the City and the Turia dried riverbed gardens and explain a bit about the history of this place. Other activities here include kayaks, some kind of waterbikes and bubbles, all for reasonable prices. I HAD NOT visited any of the buildings on the inside, but the outside looked to me too grandiose but, a bit, lifeless. A stunning mix of concrete and water, still, lacking more green spots - in order to create even better harmony.

    Public Transport: from Hotel Eurostars Gran Valencia (see Tip 3 below), Carrer de la Vall d'Aiora, you Walk 350 m to Corts Valencianes Avenue - la Safor. You cross the bustling avenue using the crosslights and catch bus # 99 destination: Estació del Cabanyal. You drop off after 27 stops (or ask the driver for the Agora). It is a long, but delightful ride along this pretty city. You walk 350 m (4 min) to the Àgora, Plaça Num 130 Res Urb.

    Or:

    From Hotel Eurostars Gran Valencia, Carrer de la Vall d'Aiora, 3, walk
    240 m (3 min) to Beniferri Metro station, 2 Torrent Avinguda. Take Metro # 1 or #2 to Túria (2 stops). Walk to Petxina - Ferran el Catòlic and take bus #95 to Marina Real (15 stops) and get off at  Eduardo Primo Yúfera - Front Àgora. Walk 290 m (4 min) to the Àgora, Plaça Num 130 Res Urb.

    First, after dropping off from the #99 bus - we see the Ágora (completed 2009), the most recent addition to the family of buildings making up the City of Arts and Sciences: a polyvalent space with the vocation of being a meeting point that was inaugurated by welcoming the tennis open of the Community of Valencia in November 2009. The name Agora, of course, harks back to the ancient Greek concept of the public forum. Its intricate metal structure, has a blue outer shell which affords a bright, open and diverse space. The multi-functional setting has been planned for the staging of congresses, conventions, concerts, and performances; it can also be converted into an exhibition area. The Agora metallic structure  resembles an ellipsis: 88 metres long and 66 metres wide. Its covered area is of 4,800 square metres. This large interior space has been planned as a covered public square with an open ground plan on a level with the adjacent lakes and parades. The fixed roof, when closed, has a maximum height of some 70 metres above ground level. Its silhouette has become a recognizable icon, with its vertical blue-and-white ellipse and interplay of columns and soaring (sometimes, dirty) windows.

    TODAY, IT STANDS COMPLETELY DESERTED WITH NO VIABLE USE AND PURPOSE.

    El Pont de l'Assut de l'Or (2008) — a suspension bridge in the middle of the complex. A white cable-stayed bridge crossing the dry Turia riverbed, connecting the south side of Valencia  with Minorca Street. It stretches between El Museu de les Ciències and L'Agora. The tower of the bridge at 125 meters high is the highest point in the city:

    The bridge + the Agora - a stunning combination:

    Agora + El Pont de l'Assut de l'Or - view from the Turia riverbed gardens:

    Residence buildings in the east from the Agora:

    L'Oceanogràfic (2003) — is the largest aquarium in Europe and if you would like to see a large variety of fishes, crabs, seals, sharks you probably want to visit this beautiful park. This aquarium is a home to over 500 different species including dolphins, belugas, sawfish, jellyfish, starfish, sea urchins, walruses, sea lions, seals, penguins, turtles, sharks,and rays. It also inhabits wetland bird species. Furthermore there is a daily dolphin show. The open-air oceanographic park, was designed by Félix Candela. It consists of 110,000 square meters and 42 million liters of water. It was built in the shape of a water lily and is the work of architect Félix Candela. Each building represents different aquatic environments including the Mediterranean, Wetlands, Temperate and Tropical Seas, Oceans, the Antarctic, the Arctic, Islands and the Ted Sea. The Oceanogràfic centre might be a full day out on its own. Opening hours: daily from 10.00 to 18.00, and in the high season even from 10.00 to 00.00. Prices: Adults: €29,10, concessions: €21,85, groups: €19,40.

    Entrance to L'Oceanogràfic:

    View from L'Oceanogràfic to the Ágora:

    Agora + El Pont de l'Assut de l'Or - view from the Turia riverbed gardens:

    El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe (2000) — In this museum you can experiment with technology. In an interactive way you will learn a lot about Science and technology. It Is an interactive museum of science that resembles the skeleton of a whale. It occupies around 40,000 m² on three floors. The exhibitions are designed more for 'entertainment value' than for science education. Much of the ground floor is taken up by a basketball court sponsored by a local team and various companies. The building is made up of three floors of which 26,000 square meters is used for exhibitions. The first floor has a view of the Turia Garden that surrounds it; which is over 13,500 square meters of water. The second floor hosts “The Legacy of Science” exhibition by the researchers; Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Severo Ochoa y Jean Dausset. The third floor is known as the “Chromosome Forest” which shows the sequencing of human DNA. Also on this floor is the “Zero Gravity,” the “Space Academy,” and “Marvel Superheroes” exhibitions. The building’s architecture is known for its geometry, structure, use of materials, and its design around nature. The building is about 42,000 square meter and 26,000 square meters of is exhibition space, which is currently the largest in Spain. It has 20,000 square meters of glass, 4,000 panes, 58,000 m³ of concrete, and 14.000 tons of steel. This magnificent building stands 220 meters long, 80 meters wide and 55 meters high. Opening hours: In low season from 10.00 to 18.00 and in high season from 10.00 to 21.00. Better, book online and reserve your tickets in advance. Prices: Adults: €8,00, concessions: €6,20, students: €6,80, groups: €5,80.

    El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe - view from the Turia riverbed gardens:

    El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe + .L'Hemisfèric:

    Bridge between El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe and L'Hemisfèric:

    Bridge between El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe and L'Hemisfèric - View to the Museu de les Bellas Arts:

    Pond opposite El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe:

    Pond opposite El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe - In the background: L'Hemisfèric and El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia:

    "The Sky Over Nine Columns" - Heinz Mack (a founder and member in Zero Group):

    Pond opposite El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe - In the background: L'Umbracle:

    Bubbles in ponds opposite the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe:

    Inside El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe:

    L'Hemisfèric (1998) — an IMAX Cinema, planetarium and laserium. Its design resembles an eyelid that opens to access the surrounding water pool. Before the movie starts, you will receive earphones and then you are able to choose a language. (English, French, Spanish or Valencian). The building is meant to resemble a giant eye, and has an approximate surface of 13,000 m². The Hemesferic also known as the planetarium or the “eye of knowledge,” is the centerpiece of the City of Arts and Sciences. It was the first building completed in 1998. The bottom of the pool is glass, creating the illusion of the eye as a whole. This planetarium is a half-sphere composed of concrete 110 meters long and 55.5 meters wide. The shutter is built of elongated aluminum awnings that fold upward collectively to form a roof that opens along the curved axis of the eye. It opens to reveal the dome, the "iris" of the eye, which is the Ominax theater. There is a miraculous echo inside of the building and if two people stay on the two opposite pillars inside of the eye they can seamlessly speak with each other. Opening hours: 11.00 to 20.00 depending on the 3D movie. Prices: Adults:€ 8,80, concessions: € 6,85, students: €7,45, groups: €6,40. (1998) — an IMAX Cinema, planetarium and laserium. Its design resembles an eyelid that opens to access the surrounding water pool. Before the movie starts, you will receive earphones and then you are able to choose a language. (English, French, Spanish or Valencian). The building is meant to resemble a giant eye, and has an approximate surface of 13,000 m². The Hemesferic also known as the planetarium or the “eye of knowledge,” is the centerpiece of the City of Arts and Sciences. It was the first building completed in 1998. The bottom of the pool is glass, creating the illusion of the eye as a whole. This planetarium is a half-sphere composed of concrete 110 meters long and 55.5 meters wide. The shutter is built of elongated aluminum awnings that fold upward collectively to form a roof that opens along the curved axis of the eye. It opens to reveal the dome, the "iris" of the eye, which is the Ominax theater. There is a miraculous echo inside of the building and if two people stay on the two opposite pillars inside of the eye they can seamlessly speak with each other. The Hemisferic is a unique and spectacular building that represents a large human eye, the eye of wisdom. It houses a large dome screen that forms the largest auditorium in Spain with three projection systems (including IMAX). Opening hours: 11.00 to 20.00 depending on the 3D movie. Prices: Adults:€ 8,80, concessions: € 6,85, students: €7,45, groups: €6,40:

    The water pool in front of El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe. In the background - L'Hemisfèric:

    The City of Arts and Sciences is divided into TWO levels that are connected with flights of stairs.  The underground level contains the above buildings and the upper level contains the L'Umbracle and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. We climb the stairs to the L'Umbracle. 

    L'Umbracle (2001) — a garden with palm trees, plants and flowers and an open metal cupola which is covering the beautiful garden. During the summer months, a part of the L’Umbracle is often used for parties. An open structure enveloping a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia (such as rockrose, lentisca, rosemary, lavender, honeysuckle, bougainvillea, palm tree). It harbors in its interior The Walk of the Sculptures, an outdoor art gallery with sculptures by contemporary artists. (Miquel de Navarre, Francesc Abbot, Yoko Ono and others). The Umbracle is also home to numerous free-standing sculptures surrounded by nature. It was designed as an entrance to the City of Arts and Sciences. It is 320 meters long and 60 meters wide, located on the southern side of the complex. It includes 55 fixed arches and 54 floating arches that stand 18 meters high. The plants displayed were carefully picked to change colour with each season. The garden includes 99 palm trees, 78 small palm trees, 62 bitter orange trees. There are 42 varieties of shrubs from the Region of Valencia including Cistus, Mastic (Pistacia lentiscus), Buddleia, Pampas grass (Cortaderia), and Plumbago. In the garden there are 16 species of Mirabilis jalapa, or the four-o'clock plant (beauty of the night). Honeysuckle and hanging Bougainvillea are two of the 450 climbing plants in the L'Umbracle. There also are 5,500 ground cover plants such as Lotus, Agatea (Fellicia amelloides), Spanish Flags, and Fig Marigolds. There are over a hundred aromatic plants including Rosemary and Lavender. Opening hours: MON to SUN 08.00 - 00.30. Price: FREE. It is the only part of the complex with public access free of charge:

    During summer 2016 there were sculptures of Francisco Simões (Portugal), "Cuerpo de Mujer" on display in front of the Valencia L'Umbracle:

    L'Umbracle from the El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe:

    Umbracle + Hemispheric + European Space Agency (Easa) Buildings - A VIEW FROM THE AGORA:

    From the northern edge of the Umbracle - you can see the Pont de Montolivet. Designed by Santiago Calatrava (1986-89) and used by pedestrians and vehicular traffic. The Montolivet bridge crosses the Túria gardens and connects the district of La Roja with those of Montolivet and the City of Arts and Sciences .  To the north, the bridge flows into the  square of Europe, one of the largest in the city, while in the south it meets another roundabout located in Avenida del Saler. It is a unique bridge in the city to consist of two clearly different parts: the old bridge, which crosses only the northern half of the garden, and the new one , which continues it to the southern bank. In fact, neither one nor the other is too old, although it was with the construction of the City of Arts and Sciences that it became necessary to widen the existing bridge. This double bridge is, therefore, of remarkable length:

    El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (2005) — an opera house and performing arts center. The architecture of this building (and the others nearby) is simply out of this world. Close to the mighty building - it looks like a fish with a mouth. Modern architecture at its best. It contains four large rooms: a Main Room, Magisterial Classroom, Amphitheater and Theater of Camera. It is dedicated to music and the scenic arts. It is surrounded by 87,000 square meters of landscape and water, as well as 10,000 square meters of walking area. The Palau de Les Arts has four sections; the main hall, the master hall, the auditorium, and the Martin y Soler theatre. It holds many events such as opera, theatre and music in its auditoriums. Panoramic lifts and stairways connect platforms at different heights on the inside of the metallic frames of the building. The building has a metallic feather outer roof that rests on two supports and is 230 meters long and 70 meters high. One of the supports allows for part of the building to overhang. The building is supported by white concrete. Two laminated steel shells cover the building weighing over 3,000 tons. These shells are 163 meters wide and 163 meters long. The building is reputed for its fantastic acoustics. Opening hours: closed along the days. Open only depending on the performances or current exhibitions.

    El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia from the bottom level:

    the northern bridge leading to the Palace of Arts and residence blocks around:

    View of the Hemisfèric and the Ágora from the Palace of Arts:

    After walking around the City of Arts and Sciences and marveling at the architecture and interplay of the designs, as well as the good fortune of the city of Valencia to have the foresight after the devastating 1957 flood to reroute the Turia river and dedicate the former river bed to a green parkway intersecting the heart of the city, we set off to enjoy lunch. Our next destination are the Turia Gardens.

    View to Turia Gardens from the Palace of Arts:

    El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia - from the Turia Gardens:

    view from Museum of Bellas Artes to the west:

    Valencia - City of Sciences and Artes - view from Museum of Bellas Artes to the east (Turia Gardens):

  • Citywalk
    Updated at Jun 26,2017

    Tewkesbury:

    Start and End: Boots, 92 High Street. Duration: 1/2 day. Distance: 4-5 km. Transportation: buses 71 and 41 from/to Gloucester and Cheltenham. Hourly - with Gloucester and more frequent, every 20 minutes with Cheltenham.

    Main Attractions: Tudor House Hotel, Tewkesbury Town Hall, The Ancient Grudge, The House of Nodding Gables, Tewkesbury Cross, The Cross House, Back of Avon road, Tewkesbury Docks, The Avon Lock, Olde Black Bear Inn, The Bell Hotel, Tewkesbury Abbey, Abbey Mill, Victoria Gardens, Severn Ham, The Abbey Cottages, The Royal Hop Pole Hotel.

    Introduction: Tewkesbury (popularly pronounced: Chichbury) is a town in the far north of Gloucestershire, on the border with Worcestershire. It is situated at the confluence of the River Severn and the River Avon. The name Tewkesbury comes from Theoc, the name of a Saxon who founded a hermitage there in the 7th century, and in the Old English language was called Theocsbury. The Battle of Tewkesbury, which took place on 4 May 1471, was one of the major battles of the Wars of the Roses.

    Our itinerary:

    We start at Boots, 92 High Street and walk southward along High Street (we shall repeat this section soon again...). Tewkesbury is now a thriving town and at the same time is a living museum of architecture and social history spanning over 500 years. The town has such a perfectly preserved medieval character that in 1964 The Council of British Archaeology listed it amongst 57 towns "so splendid and so precious that the ultimate responsibility for them should be of national concern". The town includes many timber-framed, Medieval, Tudor buildings - part of them along the High Street.

    At the Tudor House Hotel, 51-53 High Street, however, although it is indeed chiefly a Tudor building, the frontage comprises artificial half-timbering attached to a brick-built façade:

    Tewkesbury Town Hall, 18 High Street was built in 1788 the town hall is one of the few buildings in Tewkesbury that is built of stone. The towns corn market was held here in the late 18th century. It is NOT a tiber house but the building is full with history.

    Country Market in the Town Council at High Street:

    On the opposite side: 19 High Street:

    The Ancient Grudge, at High Street 15, was built in 1471, the year of the great Battle of Tewkesbury. This is where the building lends it's name, with the ancient 'grudge' referring to the enmity between the houses of York and Lancaster who were the two sides who fought during the battle. The building front was restructured during the late 16th century:

    The House of the Golden Key also known as The House of Nodding Gables, 9 High Street is an early 16th century timber framed building, heightened by one storey in the 17th century. The famous 'Nodding Gables' are the result of a break in the ridge piece of the new structure which caused it to slip forward:

    Tewkesbury Cross stands in the southern end of High Street. It is the war memorial in the center of Tewkesbury. Here, you find, also, the Tourist Information Office:

    Still down southward along High Street, before it changes to Church Street, on your right - you see The Cross House (The Old Court House). It is an absolutely gorgeous 15th Century building. It has a magnificent entrance hall and Elizabethan panelled rooms and a stunning staircase. It is believed to have been at one time the Court House of the Lords of Tewkesbury. Unfortunately the original ground floor windows have been removed, they now exist in the ground floor of The Bull - the extension to the royal hop pole hotel. This building was originally built as two houses in the early 16th century. It was extended in the 17th century, and all extensively restored c1865 by Thomas Collins. He was a builder/restorer, who used it as his own home. The cross house is one of the finest timber-framed buildings in Tewkesbury:

    Wadworth Pub or Berkeley Arms house in Church Street:

    We return to the Cross (our face to the north) and turn left to Tolsey Lane, and, further west to Back of Avon road or path. We walk northward along the Avon on our left. Coming from the south to the north, along Back of Avon - the river is half-hidden on our left. It is, still a splendid road with red-bricked houses, bridges, gardening beds and the whole is very atmospheric. The more we advance northward - the more we approach the Avon river. The river is referred to as the Stratford Avon or ‘Shakespeare's Avon’ to distinguish it from other navigable river Avons such as the Bristol Avon. The river Avon is navigable from the river Severn at Tewkesbury to Alveston (between Stratford On Avon and Warwick). The river was navigable to Stratford from the river Severn at Tewkesbury in the late 1630s. The Upper Avon (Evesham to Stratford) fell foul of the railways and fell into disuse after 1875. It was finally restored and reopened by HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1974. The Lower Avon (Tewkesbury to Evesham)was restored and reopened in 1964. First we hit the neglected Docks - where Back of Avon meets Quay Street:

    Second, we face the bridge crossing the Avon from east to west:

    The more visible is the Avon and more clearly beautiful:

    We cross the bridge over the Avon from east to west and continue northward until we arrive to the Avon Lock. It is the final lock on the RIver Avon that you go through before joining the River Severn. Avon lock at Tewkesbury,  is womanned by a lock keeper (tel: 01684 292129):

    From the Avon Lock, with our face to the north, we turn right, cross the bridge:

    and return eastward to the High Street, via Mythe Road. Here, we hit the Olde Black Bear Inn. Tewkesbury claims Gloucestershire's oldest public house, the Old Black Bear, dating from 1308. It has a continous history as a hostelry, at one time providing stabling for travelers' horses. Although this is currently closed and for sale with its future as a pub in doubt:

    Now, we repeat walking the 800 m. along High Street and Church Street from north to south until we hit the Bell Hotel. The Bell Hotel is a large half-timbered structure opposite the Abbey gateway:

    The most notable attraction in Tewkesbury is Tewkesbury Abbey. The abbey is thought to be the third largest church in Britain that is not a cathedral (after Westminster Abbey and Beverley Minster). An impressive fine Norman abbey church. The present Abbey did not start until 1102. Built to house Benedictine monks, the Norman Abbey was near completion when consecrated in 1121. As, originally, part of a monastery, which was saved from the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII after being bought by the townspeople for the price of the lead on the roof to use as their parish church. Most of the monastery buildings, as well as the vineyards, were destroyed during this time. After the dissolution in 1540 most of the claustral buildings and the Lady Chapel were quarried for their materials but the Abbey Church was sold to the parishioners for £453. The Abbey is especially STUNNING in the soft light of the morning or evening - against clear sky.

    The tower is believed to be the largest Norman tower still in existence in Europe ! The tower once had a wooden spire which may have taken the total height of the building to as much as 80 m. The great Romanesque arch on the west front is particularly striking.  Tewkesbury Abbey is famous for the medieval stained glass in its seven quire windows. However, it is less well known that the Abbey also possesses a fine collection of Victorian stained glass, in the north and south aisles, chronicling the life and deeds of Jesus. There are also some excellent modern examples. When entering the nave note the west window: constructed in 1686 to replace one blown in by the wind in 1661. The stained glass, however, was not installed until 1886. The scenes depicted follow the journey of Christ from his birth to his ascension. It had been restored several times. In the ChapelL of Saint Catherine and Saint John the  Baptist there are two glorious windows by Tom Denny to mark the 900th anniversary of the coming of the Benedictine monks to Tewkesbury in 1102. They are abstract designs predominately in shades of yellow, green and blues. The overall impression is colour but the more you look, the more detail you realise there is. The theme is: "Labore est Orare" or "Work is Pray":

    19th century stained glass windows in the Nave:

    The area surrounding the Abbey is protected from development by the Abbey Lawn Trust, originally funded by a United States benefactor. The grounds were well kept and inviting. You see around several majestic trees, with  extraordinary size, scattered around the courtyard. 

    "Touching Souls" sculpture in the Abbey's courtyard:

    The whole interior is a breathtaking feat of medieval engineering. The interior of the church clearly reveals its Romanesque origins with thick smooth columns framing the sides of the nave and hefty rounded arches atop the columns:

    The Nave of Tewkesbury Abbey. Stepping into the Nave, the first impression is of Norman power with huge round arches and round arches soaring up to a vaulted ceiling. The windows are almost lost. This is Norman architecture at its very best. Side aisles are narrow adding to the overall effect of mightiness and glory:

    At the east end of the Nave, the arch rests on the painted head of Atlantis holding up the roof:

    The vaulting soaring overhead (and height of the columns) draw your eyebrows and gaze upward:

    A carved rood screen separates the choir from the nave. The chancel and decorated vault:

    The Sun of York:

    On the south wall is the Milton Organ, which is one of the oldest organs still in use. It was originally built for Magdalene College Oxford in 1631 but was bought by the people of Tewkesbury in the 18th century:

    Tewkesbury Abbey is blessed with some extraordinary chantry chapels. There are three small chantry chapels off the north wall of the sanctuary; the Warwick chapel, the founder's chapel and the canopied tomb of Hugh Lord Despenser and his wife Elizabeth Montague, with their alabaster effigies:

    Figure of a kneeling Edward praying is best seen from the ambulatory on the far side of the choir by the Founder's or Warwick Chapels. The attitude and position of the kneeling figure are unique and it is possibly one of the finest monuments of its type in existence:

    .

    Inside, There are amazing vaulted ceiling, many tombs and small chapels. The Tewkesbury Abbey is the resting place of Edward of Westminster, the son  of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou and sole heir of Henry VI, who died at the Battle of Tewkesbury in year 1471. The abbey was an host to the terrible aftermath of the battle. The Battle took place almost at the Abbey gates, and when the defeated Lancastrian soldiers took refuge inside the Abbey, they were slaughtered by King Edward IV's men. A reminder of that dreadful event can be seen in the sacristy door; the inner surface of the door is inset with metal from armour found after the battle. Edward of Lancaster's, Prince of Wales, was killed in the battle, and though his final resting place is not known for certain, his memorial is in the Abbey. The only Prince of Wales ever to die in battle. He was aged only 17 at his death:

    Saint Dunstan's Chapel - the reredos/icons above the small altar is a reproduction of a 15thC Flemish painting showing the Passion of Christ.Tewkesbury:

    There is a small altar at the east end. High on the wall above is a beautiful mural of the Holy Trinity with God the Father holding the body of the crucified Christ with an angel on either side. The small figures at the edges are Lord Edward and his wife Anne:

    There is a tearoom/cafe' (separate building across the road)  with snacks and home-made cakes and scones. Free admission. Open every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

    From the Abbey's gates - you can adopt the Tewkesbury Battle Trail (one hour - hour and a half). There is  a special leaflet (from the Tourist Information Office). From my experience the trail is NOT worthwhile. It passes along meadows, grass and green fields. No more.

    We exit the Abbey grounds from the north-west gate to Mill Street heading north-west until we hit the Avon river and the Abbey Mill. Tewkesbury has a history of flour milling spanning many centuries. Monks from Tewkesbury abbey used to produce flour at a watermill on the Avon, The Abbey Mill is believed to date back to around the 12th century when the river Avon was diverted into the town to power the mill of the Benedictine Monastry. The Abbey Mill is resting upon the Mill Avon, a channel allegedly built by the monks. The present building is 18th Century and was in use until 1933. The massive Healings Mill complex, we see today, was built for Samuel Healing in 1865.  It did not start out that big, but bits were added here and there over the years and it grew into a sprawling tangle of different aged buildings. Luckily, the handsome 1865 buildings survive today:

    At the other end of the mill is the entrance to the peaceful Victoria Gardens where you can sit and relax next to the river. A true English garden not to be missed. They are, actually, situated behind Church Street. Bordered by the Avon river on the west, the wooden Avon Mill on the east and the Severn Ham (see below) on the north. it is a lovely site, very tranquil and very well preserved by the local authority:

    You exit the garden through the northern gate (near the car park by the Abbey). In the north side of the pleasure gardens - you see a waterfall. Here, starts the Severn Ham - an island meadow land between Avon Mill and the Severn river. It is, formally, part of the Avon river. You can see here various types of birds (ducks, herons, kingfishers, swans). It will take, at least, 30 minutes to walk round the island. Most of the walk is unpaved but it's pretty flat and NOT difficult (if not flooded ! Floods are more frequent during the winters. Avoid when it rains !). There are benches, here and there, particularly along the eastern side that borders the Avon Mill. You can tailor the route and the distance to your energy level. Sometimes the island is shared by herds of sheep. Keep your eye on the path NOT to step on "Bio Mine"...

    To return to the city - connect with St. Mary Road and walk along it northward. St. Mary Road meets Church Street in two points. The more southern one is near the Abbey Cottages and Moore Country Museum. The more northern one is near the Royal Hop Pole Hotel and Bar (NOW, Whetherspoons restaurant).

    The Abbey Cottages are a continuous terrace of small timber-framed buildings dating back to the late 15th or early 16th century. The Abbey Cottages, adjacent to Tewkesbury Abbey, were built between 1410 and 1412 for the Benedictine Monastery as a commercial venture and consisted of shops which were opened to the street by lowering their shutters to act as counters. They are believed to have been built by and for the monks of the abbey. They were restored 1967 to 1972 by the Abbey Lawn Trust, a building preservation charity. This beautiful row of cottages houses the John Moore Countryside Museum. John Moore was a local author of books on the area and also a broadcaster. A few doors along you will find another museum which is called the 'Little Museum'. This museum is a restored merchant's house, retaining many of it's medieval features:

    In case you chose to visit the Abbey Cottages, more in the south, first - push along Church Street - heading to Royal Hop Pole Hotel. On your way, on your left, you see the Old Baptist Chapel, part of the Moore Museum:

    The Royal Hop Pole Hotel (golden sign on a white house) in Church Street (which has recently been converted into a part of the Wetherspoons pub chain with the discovery of a former medieval banqueting hall in the structure), mentioned in Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers:

    It is 500 m. walk back to the High Street - to your bus to Gloucester or Cheltenham.

  • Citywalk | Spain
    Updated at Dec 1,2017

    Tip 1 - From Passeig de Gràcia to Sagrada Familia:
    Main Attractions: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Museu del Modernisme Barcelona (MMBCN), Fundacion Francisco Godia, Casa Milà, Fundació Suñol, Palau Baró de Quadras, Casa de les Punxes, Palau Ramon Montaner, Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer.
    Start: Passeig de Gràcia (lines: L2-Purple, L3-Green, L4-Yellow). Buses:
    7, 16, 17, 20, 22, 24, 28, 39, 43, 44, 45, 47, 63, 67, 68, 544. End: Sagrada Familia Metro station. Distance: (including the SF Basilica) 7.6 km.

    Introduction and Tips:
    This daily route is a natural continuation to Steve Fulham's Tipter blog "Barcelona - Modernista Architecture - Part II". Steve's blog ends in Passeig de Gràcia and Placa Catalunya. This blog starts at Passeig de Gràcia Metro station. This blog, by far, covers more extensively, the visit at the Sagrada Familia church. This blog assumes that you have, already, visited most of Gaudi's heritage Modernista sites along Passeig de Gràcia. The Fundació Antoni Tàpies, for example, is NOT included in Steve Fulham's two blogs.

    Eixample: Passing through the glorious Plaça Catalunya, you enter the newer city district of Eixample, literally translated as “extension,” which immediately becomes recognizable by its more spacious streets and elegant atmosphere. The main artery of this sizable district, Passeig de Gracia, is lined with high-end international designer stores. Not to be outdone, the glitz and glamour of this zone is perhaps best exemplified by the comfortable and lavish five-star hotels that flank the divine and modernistic buildings from some of the world’s most recognized architects such as Gaudi and Montaner.

    Our itinerary: From Passeig de Gràcia Metro Station head northwest on Passeig de Gràcia toward Carrer d'Aragó. Turn left onto Carrer d'Aragó and after 100 m. you see, on the right, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Carrer d'Aragó, 255. Opening hours: Museum: TUE - SUN: 10.00 - 19.00. Mondays, 25 December, 1 and 6 January - closed. Prices: adult - 7 €, Students and Senior Citizens (over 65): 5.60 €. The Fundació building was designed by the Modernista architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It was constructed between 1880 and 1881 or 1882, at an early stage of the evolution of the Catalan Modernista trend. The building was the first in the Eixample district to integrate industrial style and technology - combining exposed brick, iron and glass, into the fabric of the city centre. The Montaner i Simon publishing house along with Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Vicens, are the only few remaining examples of a way of buildings exemplifing an eclectic architectural style popular in the 19th century and the emergence of a new Catalan Modernista (Art Nouveau) style. Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Antoni Gaudí established the architectural bases defining two different forms of development: Gaudí embodied an "expressionist" current, whilst Domènech i Montaner was more inclined towards rationalism.The Tapies Foundation was opened in year 1990. The building was of the former Editorial Montaner i Simon publishing house and it was restored and refurbished by the architects Roser Amadó and Lluís Domènech Girbau. The Antoni Tapies Fundació’s building is “sandwiched” between two side walls of the adjacent buildings. To elevate its height - Antoni Tàpies created the sculpture crowning the building entitled Núvol i cadira (Cloud and Chair, 1990). This sculpture represents a chair jutting out of a large cloud. The chair is a recurring motif in Tàpies’ works. The Fundació Antoni Tàpies was declared a historical monument in 1997. The museum is dedicated entirely to the artist Antoni Tàpies. He and his wife donated many works to the museum – among them paintings, sculptures, books, engravings, and sketches, adding one work every year:

    The "Sunday" spectacle of Oriol Vilanova:

    From the Fundació Antoni Tàpies we continue south-west along Carrer d'Aragó, passing Rambla de Catalunya:

    In the next intersection - we turn LEFT (south) to Carrer de Balmes. With our face to the south-east we walk along Carrer de Balmes, passing Carrer del Consell de Cent. Immediately after crossing this intersection - we see the Museu del Modernisme Barcelona (MMBCN), Carrer de Balmes, 48 on our left. The small permanent exhibition includes furniture, sculptures, paintings, stained-glasses, posters and decorative arts, dedicated to the Catalan Modernista movement (designers like Antoni Gaudí and Gaspar Homar and Mezquida) during the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Exquisite, modest exhibition, that extends over 2 floors with EXPENSIVE entry rates. Opening hours: TUE - SAT: 10.30 -. 19.00, SUN and holidays: 10.30 - 14.00. Mondays: Closed. Also closed: January 1st and 6th, 1st of May, 25th and 26th of December. Prices (permanent exhibition + temporary exhibition): adult - € 10, concessions - € 7 (more than 65, less than 25, teachers, unemployed, one-parent family), Children 6-16 years: € 5, FREE: children up to 6 years old, Groups: € 8 / person:

    Four seasons by Gaspar Camps (1907):

    Continue walking along Carrer de Balmes with your face to the south-east. Turn LEFT (north-east) to Carrer de la Diputació. Note the house at #246:

    At #250 you find the Fundacion marvelous Fundacion Francisco Godia. Recently, it has changed its name to Fundacio Mapfre. This Garriga i Nogués house was built by  the architect Enric Sagnier in the transition from the 19th century to the 20th century for the banker Rupert Garriga Miranda. A small and high quality museum. It exhibits a permanent collection of paintings, medieval sculpture and ceramics collected by Francisco Godia - a businessman, racing driver and pilot of Formula 1 (when this sport was not yet professionalized and was driven by entrepreneurs) and art collector. There are approximately 1,500 pieces on display including paintings, sculpture, glasswork and pottery.  The collection includes works from the 12th to the 21st centuries of artists such as: Karel Appel, Miquel Barceló, Pedro Berruguete, Felipe de Bigarny, Lluís Borrassé, Ramon Casas, Eduardo Chillida, Juan van der Hamen, Julio González, Juan Gris, Jaume Huguet, Cristina Iglesias, Fernand Léger, René Magritte, Joaquim Mir, Joan Miró, Isidre Nonell, Pablo Picasso, Santiago Rusiñol, Llorenç Saragossa, Martín de Soria, Joaquín Sorolla, Antoni Tépies, Alejo de Vahía, Francisco de Zurbarán. The Francisco Godia Foundation is housed in a wonderful house called the Casa Garriga i Nogués and that was built by architect Enric Sagnier who was one of the most outstanding architects in the Eixample. Opening times: MON - SUN: 10.00 - 20.00. Closed on Tuesdays. Guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 12.00. General admissions: €3 per person. FREE entry: Mondays 14.00 - 20.00. Opening hours: MON: 14.00 - 20.00, TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 20.00, SUN and holidays: 11.00 - 19.00. Stunning interiors (ground floor). The interiors, only, are worth a visit. 

    DO NOT MISS THE WONDERFUL STAINED-GLASS HUGE WINDOWS in room 8:

    We continue walking eastward along Carrer de la Diputació. After passing Rambla de Catalunya (on your left and right) - we arrive to Passeig de Gràcia:

    We turn LEFT (north-west) to Passeig de Gràcia and walk northward along Passeig de Gràcia: the main avenue of the city that linked, in the past,  the old Barcelona, which by then had demolished its walls, with the town of Gràcia. We shall pass 5-6 streets on our left and right towards the intersection of Passeig de Gràcia and the Diagonal. After passing Carrer de Mallorca - we see, on our left the modern building at Passeig de Gràcia #83:

    At the intersection of Carrer de Provença and Passeig de Gràcia stands Casa Milà, Provença, 261-265. The house's cliff-like walls immediately earned it the nickname La Pedrera, or 'The Quarry', amongst locals. The building was built between 1906 and 1912 by Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). In 1984 was titled as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was declared Monument of National Interest by the Spanish government in 1969. Nowadays it is the headquarters of Catalunya "La Pedrera Foundation". It houses a cultural centre and displays various exhibitions and other public events. It is probably one of the most famous buildings of the Catalan Modernista or Catalan Art Nouveau period and one of the architect Antoni Gaudí’s most famous and ambitious works. The idea was to erect an exceptional building by the industrialist Pere Milà i Camps and his wife, Rosario Segimon i Artells, on an empty space on the boundary of Barcelona and Gràcia, as a family home. It was commissioned to  Antoni Gaudí in 1906. It was a time when the Barcelona Eixample quarter had gained driving force behind the expansion of the city, which turned Passeig de Gràcia into a new, posh and modern residential area. Casa Milà is the fourth and final work Gaudí did on Passeig de Gràcia. Gaudí planned Casa Milà (1906–1912) at the age of fifty-three. At this time Gaudi found a style of his own and this creation turned out to be one of the most innovatory in its functional and ornamental aspects. La Pedrera is considered as a world-global breakthrough work, outside the concepts of continent and time: an exceptional achievement in the Modernista history and, especially, a work that anticipated the architecture of the 20th century. The official name of the building is Casa Milà but, it was soon given the nickname "La Pedrera" due to the appearance of the exterior, reminiscent of an open quarry. Public transportation: Buses: 7,16,17, 22, 24 and V17. Metro: lines 3 (Green) and 5 (Blue), Diagonal station, FGC: Provença-La Pedrera, RENFE: Passeig de Gràcia. Opening hours: MON - SUN: 9.00 - 18.30, 19.00 - 21.00. Hefty Ticket Prices: adult - 22,00 €, student - 16,50 €, children (under 7 years old) FREE, children (7-12 years) - 11,00 €, seniors (+65 years) - 16,50 €. Audio guides in : Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Korean. Note: You can do additional visit by night the same day or up to 3 days before or after your visit to La Pedrera by day. Prices for the combined ticket of day and night: adult: €41, children (7-12 years): €20,50:

    The interiors include two painted courtyards, columns and a range of rooms. There are large windows and iron balconies set into the undulating façade. On the roof there are chimneys and sculptures which are works of art in themselves, as well as a splendid view of the Passeig de Gràcia avenue. The exhibition contained in the attic space of the building is called the Gaudi Space and is really interesting. On the 4th floor is the Flat of La Pedrera, which is a replica of an apartment of Gaudi’s time, and this apartment occupies a space of 600 square meters and has household utensils, furniture, and decorative objects. This apartment shows how well-to-do people lived during that time and is also very interesting. The roof terrace has chimney stacks that are called scare-witches, and these have very unusual shapes, and really are abstract sculptures. You'll admire how Gaudi transformed functional chimneys into a sculpture garden of swirling mosaic forms and ominous hooded warriors. Gaudí intended that the roof be used as an open-air terrace, and during the summer, jazz musicians hold forth several evenings each week. Amid the chimneys Gaudí built a lovely parabolic arch to frame what would become the towering steeples of his masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia:

    As we said before, La Pedrera offers special night visits called “The Secret Pedrera” with a very limited number of admissions. La Pedrera by night:

    Between Carrer de Provença and Carrer del Rosselló - at Passeig de Gràcia # 98 resides Fundació Suñol. A contemporary art museum. The Josep Suñol Collection comprises works by Warhol, Dalí, Picasso, Miró or Man Ray, among others. Predominant Catalan and Spanish artists works from the 1950s through the 1990s. For contemporary art lovers. Opening hours: MON - FRI: 11.00 - 14.00, 16.00 - 20.00. SAT: 16.00 - 20.00. Closed on Sunday and public holidays. Prices: adult - 4€, concessions - 3€:

    We turn right (east) to Carrer del Rosselló. At Carrer de Roselló, # 279 stands Palau Baró de Quadras. The façade on Carrer Rosselló is decorated in the "Modernista" style, with elements of the "Viennese Jugenstil". The entrance is from the Diagonal street #373:

    When viewed from the Avinguda Diagonal, the Palau Baró de Quadras building is a noble Renaissance European palace. The long, ornate balcony, with its busts of medieval and Renaissance figures, sculptures by Eusebi Arnau and Alfons Juyol and floral motifs - the building is fully in keeping with the medieval European style:

       

    In 1900, the Baron de Quadras commissioned Josep Puig i Cadafalch to refurbish the residential block on Carrer Rosselló. The architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch transformed the building completely, between 1902 and 1903 - providing it with two distinct façades which make it so interesting from every side we see it.

    Inside the palace, which has been home to the Institut Ramon Llull, since 2013, the most eclectic "Modernista" decorations predominate, with the clear influence of the neo-Gothic style on the main staircase and the wrought-iron entrance and also dominated by oriental, Middle Eastern and East Asian themes. Open ONLY on Wednesdays (the English language guided tour starts at 11.00).

    The Entrance to Palau Baró de Quadras:

    We continue further EAST along Avinguda Diagonal and 280 m. further east we see (on the northern side of the Diagonal), on our left, the Casa de les Punxes,  Avinguda Diagonal 416–420. Casa de les Punxes (House of Spikes) or Casa Terrades is a building constructed in 1905, commissioned by the Terrades sisters. It is, actually, a residential block BUT, it looks like a medieval castle which is one of the most recognizable Modernista landmarks on the Barcelona skyline. It all started when the Terradas sisters owned three buildings standing between the Avinguda Diagonal, Carrer Rosselló and Carrer Bruc. The architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch was commissioned to reconstruct and refurbish the buildings. Cadafalch linked them together behind a vast brick façade. His magnificent building was completed in 1905, resulted in an imposing triangular structure which rises up like a grand medieval castle with four turrets, one on each corner. The nickname, "Casa de les Punxes", comes from the conical roofs, which all end with spikes. Other artists joined forces with Cadafalch. The wrought-irons on the balconies, were designed by Manuel Ballarín. The sculptural reliefs by Alfons Juyol, and the stained-glass windows by Eduard Amigó. The ceramic panels surmounting the façade refer to the patriotic symbols of Catalonia. The best known depicts Saint George and with the following legend: "Sant Patró de Catalunya, torneu-nos la llibertat" ("Holy Patron of Catalonia, give us back our freedom"). Public transportaion: 
    L4 (Yellow Line)/L5 (Blue line)-Verdaguer, Buses: 6, 20, 33, 34, 39, 45, 47, H8. Opening hours: Daily, 9.00 - 20.00. Closed: December 25th. Prices (including audio-guided tour - English, Catalan, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Japanese, Chinese and Russian): adult - 12,50 €, concessions - 11.25 €:

    Immediately behind Casa de les Punxes - turn RIGHT (south) to Carrer del Bruc. In the first intersection - turn, again, RIGHT (south-west) to the Carrer de Mallorca. With your face to the south-west - pass Carrer de Roger de Llúria on your left and right - and, immediately, on your LEFT is the Palau Ramon Montaner, Carrer de Mallorca, 278. Public transport: buses: 20, 45, 47, H10, V17. In 1889, the year after the Barcelona Universal Exhibition, the architect Josep Domènech i Estapà received the commission to design two luxury homes for the two owners of the publishing house Montaner i Simón. The project for Ramon de Montaner's mansion was begun by Domènech i Estapà but the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner (the owner’s nephew) took over from him at a later date. A mosaic at the top of the façade bears the completion date, 1893, surrounded by ornamental and symbolic motifs which give an idea of the sumptuous decorative elements inside. The most notable part is the top of the building which is decorated with large mosaics presenting the invention of the printing press. The building has been the seat of the Spanish Government in Barcelona since 1980. Usually CLOSED. Only open on Saturdays' mornings for a guided English tour. We saw this building ONLY from the outside and found it to be FANTASTIC and VERY IMPRESSIVE:

    From Palau Ramon Montaner we change direction and walk back NORTHEAST along Carrer de Mallorca toward Carrer de Roger de Llúria. W pas through: Carrer del Bruc, Carrer de Girona and Carrer de Bailèn (approx. 600 m.). The intersection of Passeig de Sant Joan and Carrer de Mallorca is Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer. We are quite close, not far from the Sagrada Família. Jacint Verdaguer (Jacinto Verdaguer in Spanish) was a 19th century Catalan poet. The monument, in the centre of the square, is devoted to Verdaguer and was made in 1912 by Joan Borrell of Verdaguer on top of a column and monumental construction designed by the architect Josep Maria Pericàs. The bas-reliefs around the monument, featuring scenes from Verdaguer's works, particularly L'Atlàntida, were sculpted by the brothers Llucià and Miquel Oslé. The Metro station Verdaguer is immediately next to the square, and is served by lines L4 and L5:

    We continue further 210 m. eastward along Carrer de Mallorca. On our left is the Eglesia Mare del Deu del Roser, Carrer de Mallorca 349:

    Continuing walking eastward along Carrer del mallorca - we pass Carrer de Nàpols. In the next intersection of Carrer de Mallorca and Carrer de Sicília (on our right - south-east) we see the La Sagrada Família - Antoni Gaudí's renowned unfinished church in front of us:

    Here, we skip to Tip 2 - La Sagrada Família.

  • Citywalk
    Updated at Dec 14,2017

    Tip 1 Main Attractions: Miró Foundation, Jardins de Laribal, Museu Olímpic i de l'Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch, Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, Jardins de Joan Maragall, Jardín de Aclimatacion, Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring), Open Camp, Palau Sant Jordi, Torre Calatrava, Ferrer i Guardia Monument.

    See Tip 2 below for: Poble Espanyol and Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

    Introduction: Montjuic is a prominent hill overlooking the Barcelona harbour. For ages, it played a strategic part in the defense of the city and it’s one of the city’s natural elevations. Nowadays, there are so many things to do in Montjuic you just can’t miss it  on your trip to Barcelona. Many of the attractions here were constructed in order to celebrate the 1929 International Exhibition, however it is believed that before it was turned into the big park of today, there was a Jewish cemetery somewhere around the mountain, therefore earning the name of Montjuic, meaning “jew mountain” in Catalan.

    Whole day (Tip 1 + Tip 2) Distance: 7 km. Note: our daily itinerary DOES NOT include the Montjuic Castle !

    Public Transport:  Take Metro lines 2 (Purple Line) and 3 (Green Line) to Parallel. From there, pick up the Funicular train to Castell de Montjuic. The Funicular is a smaller train running every 10 mins or so from Parallel to Montjuic and back. The ride itself only takes 2 minutes and the journey is included as part of a Metro ride. Another way is by Cable Car (the fun one!)
    Right next to the funicular Station, lies the Montjuic’s Cable Car. This ride takes you directly to the castle of Montjuic with photogenic views of Barcelona. Changing to the cable car - you do not have to exit the metro station - it connects directly to the cable car. This will leave you quite near the highest point too. The funicular of Barcelona (FM metro line) operates like a metro with two stops: Paral·lel, which links up with metro lines L2 and L3, and Parc de Montjuïc, located on the mountain, which links up with the cable car to reach the top of Montjuïc and access the castle. The funicular is part of the integrated fare system and the ticket is the same price as a trip by metro or bus. Montjuïc funicular operating hours: Autumn-Winter: MON - FRI: 7.30 - 20.00, SAT, SUN and public holidays: 9.00 - 20.00. Spring-Summer: MON - FRI: 7.30 - 22.00, SAT, SUN and public holidays: 9.00 - 22.00:

    Option number three, is taking regular bus #150 which also stops at the castle. Buy your ticket to Montjuic’s cable car stop. Fourth option: Barcelona’s Port Cable Car located in Barceloneta (Transbordador Aeri del Port). The journey lasts around ten minutes and it’s the fastest way to get to the mountain from Barceloneta Beach. The view of the seaport and Barceloneta from 70 meters high is priceless (see Tipter blog "Barcelona - Port Vell"). Option number 5:  you can take the Metro or bus to Plaça Espanya, walk Av. Maria Cristina and climb the stairs or take the automatic stairs to the MNAC museum, and keep walking up. It will be quite a long walk, but scenic and not difficult. Option number 6: you can also get to Avenida Miramar (on the Montjuic) by #50 bus which runs along Gran Via to Plaça Espanya. It passes Caixaforum, Poble Espanyol, Olympic Stadium and Miró Foundation on the way. Option number 7: there is a Hop on Hop off bus (22€-24€) that link all places of interest in the mountain, it may be a good option.

    Our daily itinerary:  We turn LEFT as we exit the funicular station. Turning right as you leave the funicular station you walk along to Miramar.  There, from the extensive gardens of Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Garden (these gardens located right next the funicular, are the perfect setting for enjoying a picnic or a stroll) and Jardins de Joan Brossa you can have the same sort of view as from the castle but from less altitude (and less of the commercial port is visible):

    ...and, even, a distant view of the Sagrada Familia:

    The mountain opposite us, in the north is the Tibidabo. We walk along Avenida Miramar WESTWARD. On our right is the Gardi des Escultures  - a small garden with no views over Barcelona:

    After 350 m. walking westward along Avenida Miramar - we arrive to Joan Miró Foundation. Joan Miró museum is located just facing the Greek Theatre. The Fundació opened to the public on 10 June 1975. The Fundació Joan Miró was created by Miró himself, at first principally, with works from his own private collection. Other works are presents from his wife Pilar Juncosa, Joan Prats and Kazumasa Katsutas. The Fundació offers an overview of Joan Miró’s (a long-standing friend and contemporary of Picasso) art and life, and on the same time, creating an enriching dialogue with other artists from the 20th and 21st centuries. The Fundació organizes temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st century artists, side by side, with Miró's creations. Miro is an artist who broke all the rules and developed a style uniquely his. So, the museum won't be every one's cup of tea. So, if you feel like visiting one of the world’s one of the most known abstract painters' paintings, you just have to cross the street. The museum is very well laid out. It is dedicated to the one and only Catalan artist Joan Miró, featuring works from every stage of his career. The Fundació Miró is any art lover’s paradise, however even if art 'isn’t your thing’ you may find that this surrealist museum / gallery is. We love the brightly coloured,naivety, minimalism of Joan Miro's work in his paintings and sculptures. Even the building itself has been designed to fit the surrealist environment. Miró’s works (paintings and and an amazing tapestry) are fun, bright and colourful and despite not being one for galleries, we personally enjoyed every minute of our visit – even when we got to witness Miró’s infamous paintings (or, better, 'anti paintings') and sculptures. Miró uses fantastic and distinctive colours in most of his coloured paintings. A real wander. One of the BEST museums in BCN. Allow, at least, 2-3 hours. Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday - from November to March: 10.00 - 18.00, from April to October: 10.00 - 20.00. Thursday: 10.00 - 21.00, Saturday: 10.00 - 20.00. Sunday: 10.00 - 15.00. Monday: except public holidays - closed. Prices: adult - €12, concessions: €7. Temporary exhibitions: adult - €7, concessions: €5. If you get the Barcelona card it is included. Children up to 15 enter for free. Note: during the busy mid-summer weeks - you may wait about 30-50 minutes in the queue to get in -  so probably better to book in advance:

    Morning Star:

    Woman Dreaming Escape:

    Woman and Bird in Night:

    Woman and Bird in Sunrise:

    Barcelona Series:

    Diamond Smiles at Twilight:

    The Smile of the Tear:

    The Gold of the Azure:

    Figures in Burnt Forest - a picture Joan Miro devoted to his wife Pilar Juncosa le Miro:

    Young Girl:

    Mont Roig Village:

    Chapel of Sant Joan d'Horta:

    Tapestries:

    Lovers Playing with Almond Blossom:

    Self Portrait:

    Woman and Bird:

    :

    Summer 1278 Figure

    Mercury Fountain by Alexander Calder:

    The Fundació is located in a building designed by Josep Lluís Sert, Miró's good friend and Le Corbusier's student. The Miró Museum is perched on a hill overlooking the city and housed in a beautiful building with a wonderful outdoor rooftop space with great views of the city with the bonus of wonderfully peaceful setting, The roof top has a few Miro's sculptures.  Josep Lluís Sert and Joan Miró were close friends. You can, easily, recognize the synergy of them. Both tended to harmonic forms and were playing with light, space and colours; besides that they combined their love to nature and Catalonia, which explains the architectural distinctiveness of the inner courtyard in the middle of the building, which all the rooms are  arranged around to. The clear and cubist shapes all in white make the museum building look light and flowing and make the rooms look larger. The bright patios and terraces create dynamic, transparency and a lot of natural light in the inside of the building. The building got the "Twenty-Five Year Award“ of the American Institute of Architects in 2002:

    Moon, Sun and Star:

    Sculptures in the Museum Terrace:

    view to Plaça Espanya:

    Anthony Tapier - Wall Coat Rack:

    Max Ernst - Fishing at Down:

    Alexander Calder - El Corcoradro:

    Continuing approx. 40-50 m. further west along Avenida Miramar will bring us (on our right) to the Jardins de Laribal. These gardens extend from Miró Foundation to the Jardins del Teatre Grec. They cover a very steep area of the Montjuic. The gardens' designers used waterfalls and steps to cover these slopes. Charming and refreshing gardens. Wonderful, calm place, with lots of greenery, water ponds, stairs and porcelain accents, which all together create a really calm, unique atmosphere:

    Cascada del Font del Gat:

    Font del Gat:

    Noia de la Trena - Josep Viladomat, 1928:

    MNAC from the gardens:

    Placa Espanya from the gardens:

    We ascend the stairs (avoid hot days !) from Jardins de Laribal leading to Passeig de Santa Madrona. As we get out from the gardens we continue west along Avenida Miramar which changes to Avinguda de l'Estadi. On our left is the Museu Olímpic i de l'Esport Joan Antoni Samaranch, Stadium Avenue, 60 (Next to the Olympic Stadium). The Museum will introduce the different facets of the sport, the Olympic spirit and values associated with its practice. Visitors can also see a permanent exhibition commemorating Olympic cities, from Barcelona 1992 to London 2012, and the first televised Olympic Games. Opening hours: From October to March: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 18.00. SUN and public holidays: 10.00 -14.30. From April to October: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 20.00, SUN and public holidays: 10.00 - 14.30. Closed: 1/1, 1/5, 25/12 and 26/12. Guided tours, café, restaurant and shop:

    Adjacent to the museum is the Olympic Stadium or Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. Originally built in 1927 and designed by architect Pere Domènech i Rourafor for the 1929 International Exposition in the city. It was meant to host the People's Olympiad in 1936, a protest event against the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, but the event had to be cancelled due the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. It was renovated in 1989 to be the main stadium for the 1992 Summer Olympics. When the International Olympic Committee chose Barcelona to host the 1992 Olympic Games, a team of architects made up of Vittorio Gregotti, Frederic Correa, Alfons Milà, Joan Margarit and Carles Buxadé, was commissioned to completely refurbish the stadium. The stadium was partially demolished, preserving only the original facades, and new grandstands were built. In 1989 the venue was re-inaugurated for the World Cup in Athletics, and three years later it hosted the opening and closing ceremonies and the athletics competitions of the Olympic Games.The stadium has a capacity of 56,000 spectators.   In 2001 the stadium was renamed after the former president of the Generalitat de Catalunya Lluís Companys, who was executed at the nearby Montjuïc Castle in 1940 by the Franco regime. In 2010, the stadium hosted the 20th European Athletics Championships. The IAAF World Junior Championships took place in 2012. It is now rated as a five-star venue by UEFA, which entitles it to host top-level European matches. The Olympic Stadium is open in the summer, daily from 10.00 to 20.00 and in the winter, daily from 10.00 to 18.00. Admission to the Olympic Stadium is FREE:

    Opposite the stadium, on the north side of Avinguda de l'Estadi stands a monument devoted to  Hwang Young-cho a former South Korean athlete, winner of the marathon race at the Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics and 1994 Asian Games:

    From this monument, still on the north side of Avinguda de l'Estadi, extend the Jardins de Joan Maragall. These magnificent gardens are very rarely visited by the tourists and they are very aristocratic, well maintained and superbly laid-out. The Jardins de Joan Maragall are extremely elegant, with tree-lined avenues, broad expanses of grass, flowerbeds, ornamental fountains, numerous outdoor sculptures and the small Albeniz Palace that was, and still is, a royal residence. The gardens are open ONLY SAT-SUN: 10.00 - 15.00:

    Either side of this classical, French-style gardening are avenues of low  trimmed lime trees that highlight the delicate nature of the small hedges marking out spaces full of flowers:

    The old royal pavilion inside the gardens, known as the Palauet Albéniz and built in 1929, is a Neoclassical structure designed by the architect Joan Moya:

    A bit further west along Avinguda de l'Estadi, on the southern side of Avinguda de l'Estadi, we arrive to a very extensive area - the Anella Olímpica or the Olympic Ring, a large hilly space to the southwest of the city which overlooks Barcelona harbor. We start exploring this wonderful area from north to south. First, we hit the Jardín de Aclimatacion.  It is located between the Olympic Stadium and the Bernat Picornell Swimming Pools , and was created in 1930 by Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí director of Parks and Gardens of Barcelona between 1917 and 1937. This garden houses around 230 species of plants, some of them unique or of scarce presence in the city:

    The Anti-Aids Campaign Tree in the garden:

    The Entrance to the Jardin d'Aclimatacion:

    It is free to walk around the highly-cemented Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring) outside and admire the columns and the ‘river pathway’. Very relaxing atmosphere around. Great views, free to enter. Very clean and tidy.  This beautiful, huge court yard with fountains, yellow pillars, waterfalls, trees and flower-beds is simply stunning on a sunny day and well worth the walk up to and around it:

    Open Camp the first theme park in the world dedicated to sports, with carefully designed spaces that offer an unforgettable experience where sport and fun are guaranteed. You can participate in sporting events like archery, open jump, open hurdles and more, imagining that you were a part of the Olympic Games. This unique theme park offers the possibility of facing the simulator of your favorite sport. 25 sports are offered, each time a technology is simulating an action and then analyzes your performance. Opening hours: 11.00 to 18.00 (winter) or 20:00 (summer). Prices: 15€ to 20€:

    The Palau Sant Jordi which was design by the Japanese architect Arata Isozak. It was the venue for the gymnastics and volleyball competitions of the 1992 Games. Today, it hosts huge music concerts and other large-scale events. The maximum seating capacity of the arena is 16,670 for basketball, and 24,000 for musical events. It is the largest indoor arena in Spain:

    Alongside the Palau Sant Jordi is one of the city's two telecommunications towers, the Torre Calatrava, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. 136 metres high, it was built between 1989 and 1992 and, according to its creator, depicts the body of an athlete bending down to receive a medal.  Its base is covered in broken mosaic trencadís tiles, in clear reference to one of the techniques used by Gaudí. The orientation of the tower means that the shadow of the central needle projected on to the adjacent Plaça d'Europe acts as a sundial:

    The other major facilities consist of: the National Physical Education Institute (INEFC) (Institut Nacional d'Educació Física de Catalunya) which includes a library with 26,000 titles and various sports facilities covered and outdoors. During the Olympic Games of Barcelona 92 it hosted the competitions of free fight and Greco-Roman:

    Another facility is the Picornell swimming pools (Piscines Bernat Picornel):

    Here we choose either walking to the Poble Espanyol (900 m. and returning to the MNAC - another 1100 m.) or continuing direct to the MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Palau Nacional).

    To the Poble Espanyol: We return (northward) to and head west along Avinguda de l'Estadi toward Carrer Jocs del 92, 550 m. Slight right to stay on Avinguda de l'Estadi, 70 m. At the intersection of Avinguda de l'Estadi and Av. dels Montanyans you see the Ferrer i Guardia Monument. This figure is a tribute to Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia (Alella, 1859 - Barcelona, ​​1909) founder of the Modern School. The sculpture symbolizes a naked man carrying a lit torch, a replica of the monument in Brussels, also dedicated to Ferrer i Guàrdia:

    At Plaça de Sant Jordi, take the 3rd exit onto Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia and walk 350 m. along Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia until you arrive to the Poble Espanyol. Here, we skip to Tip 2 below.

    To the MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya Palau Nacional): We return (northward) to and head EAST along Avinguda de l'Estad, 85 m. Turn left toward Carrer del Mirador del Palau Nacional. Take the stairs, 160 m. Slight right at Av. dels Montanyans, 85 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Mirador del Palau Nacional, 15 m.

  • Citywalk
    Updated at Nov 13,2017

    Barcelona - La Segrada Familia, Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer, Casa de les Punxes, Casa Comalat, Palau del Baro de Quadras, C/ del Rosselló # 248 and # 279, La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, Bagues Joieria / Casa Amatller, Casa Lleó Morera, Passeig de Gracia other Modernista houses, Placa Catalonia - Part II.

    (This itinerary is a continuation of Barcelona - Modernista Architecture - Part I.)

    It is 500 m. walk from Sant Pau Hospital to the Sagrada Familia. We walk along Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret WESTWARD until it meets Avinguda de Gaudi. The intersection of these two roads is, exactly, in the most southern corner of Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. Look back and the view of the hospital from the Avinguda de Gaudi is breathtaking:

    A wonderful semi-pedestrianised street that connects two magnificent landmarks, one by Domènech i Montaner and the other by Gaudí. We arrive to this avenue during the (most hot) afternoon hours - but the avenue is more admirable in the morning hours. This is a lively street which showcases a series of Modernista streetlamps that lend it an elegant touch and unique style. They were designed by Pere Falqués and placed along the Avinguda Gaudí in 1985, after being stored for many years in a warehouse. They originally stood at the crossroads between the Passeig de Gràcia and the Avinguda Diagonal but were removed from this site in 1957 because they were a obstacles to traffic:

    In spite of the busy cross-streets, this artery features all the elements that give it the appearance of a boulevard: restricted vehicular access, bollards on either side, pavement cafés and a whole host of shops which delight lovers of typical neighborhood shops:

    On our way south to Sagrada Familia - we cross the following bustling roads: C/ del Industria, c/ de Podilla, C/ de Corsega, c/ de Rosello, Carrer de Lepant - before arriving to the La Sagrada Familia - Gaudi (1852–1926)-designed landmark church. Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a minor basilica,[6][7][8] as distinct from a cathedral which must be the seat of a Bishop. Construction of the Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882 and Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style and genius, combining Gothic and Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926 less than a quarter of the project was completed. Sagrada Família's construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project's greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026, the centenary of Gaudí's death...  The building is still under construction so be prepared to see a lot of work continuing when you visit. However this in itself is interesting, especially if you visit the museum inside the building. Regardless of all the controversy surrounding the Sagrada Familia it is a truly magnificent building and an absolute must-see when you visit Barcelona. The Basílica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona: over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona's cathedral, over Gaudí's design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudí's death disregarded his design, and the recent proposal to build an underground tunnel of Spain's high-speed rail link to France which could disturb its stability. Opening hours: October - March: 09.00 - 18.00, April - September: 09.00 - 20.00. 25 and 26 December, 01 January and 06 January: 09.00 - 14.00. Admission: Main entrance (Queuing): €14.80, Main entrance + towers (Queuing): €19.30. How to get there: Metro L2 and L5, stop Sagrada Família. Bus 19, 33, 34, 43, 44, 50 and 51. Barcelona Bus Turístic, stop Sagrada Família.

    We advise you to buy your tickets in advance for this Barcelona attraction. The Sagrada Familia is is the no.1 most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona with 3,000,000 visitors per year and is one of Spain's most popular tourist attractions. There are often very long queues to get into the attraction (between 1 to 2 hours) at entrances that deal with ticket purchases at the door. Bring water and hats.

    Main nave and apse of Sagrada Familia:

    Apse, Altar and Baldaquin of La Sagrada Familia:

    Transept and Ceiling of Sagrada Familia:

    Right aisle of Sagrada Familia Basilica:

    Left Aisle of La Sagrada Familia:

    Works in progress:

    Typical Modernista curved handrails and stairs:

    Tomb of Antoni Gaudí in the crypt of Sagrada Familia:

    From the south side of Plaça de la Sagrada Família we walk along Carrer de Mallorca WESTWARD (with our back to the Basilica - we turn RIGHT). We cross Carrer de Nàpols and Carrer de Roger de Flor to arrive to Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer:

    You cross a nice avenue, Passeig de Sant Joan, on your right and left and continue westward (in the same direction) along Avinguda Diagonal: one of Barcelona's broadest and most important avenues. It cuts the city in two, diagonally from east to west. Walking along the Diagonal westward - you cross: Carrer de Bailèn, Carrer de Bailèn and on the 3rd crossroad with Carrer del Bruc you arrive to (on your right) the Casa Terrades Casa de les Punxes. The “Casa de les Punxes” (House of Spikes) is really a residential block built in the shape of medieval castle which is one of the most recognizable Modernista landmarks on the Barcelona skyline. The Terrades sisters owned three buildings standing between the Avinguda Diagonal, Carrer Rosselló and Carrer Bruc. Josep Puig i Cadafalch was commissioned to redevelop the buildings and linked them together on one site behind a vast brick façade. His project, which was completed in 1905, resulted in an imposing triangular structure which rises up like a grand medieval castle with four turrets, one on each corner. The nickname, “Casa de les Punxes”, comes from the conical roofs, which end in a spike. The house is privately owned and not open to visitors, but the exterior delights anyone who goes to take a closer look. The brickwork on the façade blends with the wrought-iron on the balconies, designed by Manuel Ballarín, the neo-Gothic style sculptural reliefs by Alfons Juyol, and stained-glass windows by Eduard Amigó. The ceramic panels surmounting the façade refer to the patriotic symbols of Catalonia. Another example of the nationalism that often imbues Catalan Modernista/Modernisme:

    Hereby, on the right side (north side) of the Diagonal at # 442 - you see Casa Comalat. Two distinct façades, both of them showing the influence of the curve redolent of Gaudi's work. The architect Salvador Valeri i Pupurull worked on the Casa Comalat from 1909 to 1911, and was clearly influenced by Gaudi’s organic forms. Built in 1911. Not open to the public:

    Move to the left, south side of the Diagonal. Turn/bend left from the Avinguda Diagonal to Carrer del Rosello. Continuing along Carrer del Rosello - you cross Carrer de Pau Claris (on your left). On your left, Avinguda Diagonal, 373 - you see the Palau del Baro de Quadras (formerly: Casa Asia) (Architect: Josep Puig i Cadafalch):

    In the crossroad, you see, on your right, another Art-Deco house (# 279):

    and Barcelona - C/ del Rosselló # 248:

    Along Carrer del Rosello, in the second crossroad turn LEFT to Passeig de Garcia. Passeig de Gràcia was from the beginning designed to be Barcelona's Grand Avenue. It is Barcelona's most elegant avenue and one of the best architectural walks in the city with lots of Modernista buildings. The quality and quantity of Modernista buildings is un-rivalled. This avenue is one of the major streets for shopping in Barcelona. All national and international fashion houses have their boutique here. Among prestigious designers, you will find Adolfo Dominguez, Loewe, Chanel, Yves-Saint-Laurent, Hermès, Laurel. Foreign brands, such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Max Mara, Escada and Armand Bassi stand beside Spanish ones such as Purificación García, Camper and Loewe. There are also even more accessible brands like Zara, Mango, Globe, Benetton and Laura Ashley.

    Stay on the LEFT (north) side of the avenue. Immediate on your left is La Pedrera / Casa Milà. The Casa Mila of architect Antoni Gaudi was built for Rosario Segimon and Pere Milà. The original design was not followed because the local government objected to some aspects of the project. They fined the owners for many infractions of regulations, ordered the demolition of aspects exceeding the height standard for the city. The original plan included also a huge sculpture atop the building, representing the goddess Gaia. It never was put there.The house is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Casa Milà got the nickname "La Pedrera", the quarry, because the stone facade made the building look like a steep rock with cave openings. The exciting architectural expression as demonstrated in Casa Milà is not a style which could be imitated or developed. Getting there: Bus: 7,16,17, 22, 24 and V17. Metro: lines 3 and 5, Diagonal. FGC: Provença-La Pedrera. FGC: Passeig de Gràcia. Opening hours: 3 March to 2 November. Monday to Sunday:
    09.00 -  20.00 (last admission: 19.30). 3 November to 2 March. Monday to Sunday: 09.00 - 18.30 (last admission: 18.00). Closed: 25 December. Admission fees: Adult: €16.50, Student: €14.85, Disabled: €14.85, Children (six and under): free, Children (seven to twelve): €8.25. Buy your ticket through online ticket sites.

    La Pedrera's curved facade:

    Casa Mila Apartment:

    Bathroom:

    The attic and the roof:

    Dali in the Casa Mila roof:

    Now move to the right (south) side of the Passeig de Gracia bustling street. Along Passeig de Gracia, with your face to the south-east you cross: Carrer de Provença, Carrer de Mallorca, Carrer de Valencia, Carrer de Arago, passing the Passeig de Gracia Metro station and arriving to Casa Batlló.

    Casa Batlló (Casa dels Ossos) is rebuilt by Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol in the years 1905–1907. The local name for the building is Casa dels ossos (House of Bones), which will be obvious when you have a good look at it. located at Passeig de Gràcia (Paseo de Gracia) in the Eixample district was built in 1877 and transformed from 1905-07 by Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) and Josep Maria Jujol (1879-1949) for the industrialist Josep Battlló i Casanovas. Casa Batlló got the nickname "Casa dels ossos" (the House of Bones) because it contains skeletal-like design such as the street facade's balconies that are shaped as skulls. The first floor (beletage) contains irregular oval windows and sculptural masonry. The main part of the facade are decorated with mosaics made of broken tiles. The tiles' pattern is fixed with ceramic forms in varying sizes. The background colour consists of a light greyish tone and coloured mosaic squares form a part of it. The colour strength increases upwards, the blue colour is most visibly distinctive - the colour shifts from a light delicate blue into indigo. Other colour nuances are green blue, green, yellow, orange and golden brown. The colours of the facade can be compared with colours of the sea and the motion of the waves, a moving curtain or as if confetti was being sprinkled down the facade. The balconies are made of stone from Montjuïc and resemble skulls or masks. Getting there: Bus Numbers: 7, 16, 17, 22, 24 and 28. Barcelona Tourist Bus (North & South) - Casa Batlló – Fundació Antoni Tàpiesstop
    City Tours (Barcelona Tours) (Español) Parada3 A, Passeig de Gràcia-Casa Batlló. Metro: Passeig de Gràcia: L2, L3 and L4. Train RENFE: (Español) Estación Passeig de Gràcia station. FGC: (Español) Estación Provença station.  Opening hours: open 365 days a year, from 09.00  to 21.00 (last entrance 20.00). Adult (+18) 21.5 €, Juniors (7-18) 18.5 €, Students (with card) 18.5 €, Seniors (+65) 18.5 €, Residents (Prov. BCN) 15 €, Children (-7) Free. Buy your ticket through online ticket sites.

    The front facade of Casa Batlló:

    The grand stair leading to the Batlló family apartment:

    The living room:

    Top floor apartment room:

    The roof with the the dragon, tower and chimneys:

    The rear facade of Casa Batlló:

    Atrium window at Casa Batllo:

    The building adjacent to Casa Batllo, Passeig de Gracia #41 is not the less interesting - Bagues Joieria (jewelery shop) - actually, in Casa Amatller. Bagués Masriera Jewelry is one of the oldest companies in Europe. With the unique craft of jewelry, its history goes back to 1766. Later it joined Masriera (created in 1839). But it was not until 1985 that Bagués (created in 1917) and Masriera jointly gave a boost to the world of Catalan jewel worldwide:

    Enter inside this building. It is open free to the public. The building itself is Casa Amatller which is also a building in the Modernista style, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. The building was originally designed as a residence for chocolatier Antoni Amatller and was constructed between 1898 and 1900:

    Cafe Faborit inside Casa Amatller. Good for breakfasts. Busy during weekdays lunches:

    Nearby, Regia Cosmetics and Perfumes, Passeig de Gràcia 39. Reputed to be one of the best perfume stores in the city, and in business since 1928. Regia stocks all the name brands and also has a private perfume museum out the back. It also has its own line of bath products:

    The third building in this chain of adjacent buildings in Passeig de Garcia is Casa Mulleras, Passeig de Gràcia 37 designed by Enric Sagnier:

    The next building (all last four ones are adjacent to each other) Casa Lleo Morera (1905) designed by Domènech i Montaner. Guided Tour in English: Monday to Saturday, at 11.00. Express Tours: Monday at 10.00, 10.30, 11.30, 12.:30, 13.00, 15.30, 16.00, 16.30, 18.00.

    Stained glass gallery, first floor:

    Second floor balcony:

    Third floor gallery:

    Top of the building:

    The last four unique buildings, which have relationship in location, time and space, are nicknamed "la Manzana de la Discordia" (The Apple of Discord). The Spanish word Manzana means both apple and block of flats:

    Casa Lleó-Morera, Passeig de Gràcia 35, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner (1849-1923) in 1906:

    Casa Mulleras, Passeig de Gràcia 37, designed by Enric Sagnier:

    Casa Amatller, Passeig de Gràcia 41, designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch:

    Casa , Passeig de Gràcia 43, designed by Antoni Gaudí:

    Casa Amatller + Casa Batlló:

    The Illa de la Discòrdia or Mansana de la Discòrdia - English: Block of Discord; Spanish: Manzana de la Discordia - is a city block on Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Spain. The block is noted for having buildings by four of Barcelona's most important Modernista architects, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Enric Sagnier, all the four in close proximity. As the four architects' styles were very different, the buildings clash with each other and the neighboring buildings. They were all built in the early years of the 20th century.

    But, in this street, Passeig de Gràcia - there are even more Modernista gems:

    Passeig de Gràcia, 65 - Cases Jofre:

    and Pg. de Gràcia #27: Casa Malagrida: Architect: Joaquim Codina i Matali:

    Passeig de Gràcia #21 - Edificio "La Unia el Fenix Espanol" 1927 - 1932:

    Passeig de Gràcia #20, Cases Antoni Rocamora:

    Passeig de Gracia 2-4, Cases Pons i Pasqual by Enric Sagnier (1891):

    Two minutes walk further south and you are in Placa Catalonia:

  • Citywalk | Spain
    Updated at Oct 1,2017

    Barcelona - Barri Gòtic.

    Tip 3: from Plaça del Pi to Plaza de San Felipe Neri.

    Main Attractions of Tip 3: Plaça del Pi, Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi, Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, Plaza de San Felipe Neri, Church of Sant Felip Neri.

    How to arrive from La Rambla to Plaça del Pi: From Liceu Metro station (lin3 , the green line) - head northwest on La Rambla toward Pla de la Boqueria, 40 m (see Tip 2). Turn right onto Pla de la Boqueria, 20 m.
    Continue onto Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, 100 m and continue straight onto Plaça del Pi for further 15 m where Carrer d'en Roca on your left:

    The name of Plaça del Pi stems from the pine tree planted in the centre of the square. The “pine” refers to the grove of Mediterranean scrub pines that used to cover this area, which originally spanned the area from the Roman walls to what is now the Ramblas. The local custom is that should be a pine tree planted in the centre of this square. with the time the pine had to be replaced so you won't see the original, of course. The existing one has been planted in 1985 and succeeded numerous ones planted during the history. This is one of the best loved areas for artists and bohemians, located just off the Ramblas. Without the frequent festivities held here - this romantic square is calm, relaxing and one of the best squares for having a breakfast or supper. Food markets (honey, cheeses (including "mato" - local mild cheese), breads, nuts, fruits, vegetables and meats) are held here at certain times. As you walk along the stalls, you're frequently offered free samples:

    The square is surrounded by old decorated façades antique shops and old bars and restaurants. Do NOT miss having photos of the surrounding houses' facades:

    During Septembre the famous procession of the Gigantes (Giants) is taking place:

    The quite small square is dominated by the mighty Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi (14th and 15th centuries) with its huge multicolored rose window.  Along with the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral, and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, it is one of the most-visited churches in the city. The meaning is: "St. Mary of the Pine". It is a 14th-century church. The church was built in Catalan Gothic style during 1319 to 1391. it is known that in 987 there existed a church outside the city walls and to the west of Barcelona. This was a small Romanesque church dedicated to the Blessed Lady of the Pine Tree (one of the titles of the Virgin Mary). The church was built between 1319 and 1391. The style of the church was Catalan Gothic. However, in 1936 the church was gutted by a fire deliberately set by anarchists, who wanted to destroy the building. The church was restored following the end of the Civil War. Opening hours: every day: 9.30 -  13.00, 17.00 - 20.30. FREE. We can also find here the house of the Gremio de los Revendedores, which dates from 1685. Opening hours: everyday: 10.00 - 18.00.

    The front façade has an incredible large rose window, that is actually a reproduction done on 1940 of the original one that was destroyed in 1936. Over the years, the construction of neighbouring buildings has obscured the ancient walls of the church. Below is the Gothic arch of the main entrance. The tympanum of the main entrance is divided by two small columns into three arched areas. In the central area is a statue of the Virgin and Child, and above this are placed the arms of the city and of the parish.

    Outside, we can see a Romanesque portal from a series of sculptures, such as capitals, with figurative ornamentation plant, a remarkable quality, which joined the Gothic doorways and can be dated to the middle of the 12th century:

    The bell tower is octagonal in shape, rising to 54 metres. It has six bells, of which the largest is "Antònia", which has a diameter of 1.4 metres and weighs 1,806 kilograms. Construction was started on the bell tower in 1379, under the instructions of the architect, Barthomeu Mas, and was completed in 1461, or thereabouts:

    Inside, the church is vast and very dark, making the light from the rose window (particularly in late afternoon) all the more stunning. The floor plan of the church comprises a single nave, almost devoid of ornamentation, made up of seven rectangular sections, each covered with a vaulted ceiling and with side-chapels placed between the supporting pillars. The fire of 1936 destroyed the high altar, the altarpiece, the statues, the choir stalls from 1868 and the organ created in 1808 by Johan de Kyburz:

    The high altar is the work of Joaquim de Ros i de Ramis. It was installed in 1967. The statue of Santa Maria del Pi, 3.3 metres high, was created in 1973 by the sculptor Enric Monjo.

    The original Baroque choir stalls dated from 1771 and were designed by Josep Mas i Dordal. In 1868 these were replaced by neo-Gothic stalls, which were destroyed in the fire of 1936. In 1986 the previous Baroque stalls were re-instated.

    The most notable feature of the architecture however, and which completely dominates the facade, is the gigantic rose window, a full 10 meters in diameter. It was completely restored in 1940 thanks to the efforts of the great Catalan architect Josep Maria Jujol, a pupil of Gaudí. By sheer luck, Jujol and his students had sat down and drawn detailed plans of the window prior to the Civil War. The parish was able to use the plans to reconstruct their lost window directly from an architect’s plans, rather than from photographs or simply a best guess. The original stained-glass windows have not survived:

    The oldest of of the other windows that exist now date from 1718. Of these, the window depicting the Adoration of the Magi (above the Door of Avemaria) is the work of Antoni Viladomat. Saint Joseph Oriol, canonized in 1909, who was priest in this parish between 1687 and 1702, is buried in this church in the Chapel of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat:

    the treasury (Tresor) of the Basilica, which contains a large collection of jewelry Catalan, the permanent historical exhibition, the crypt, the garden and the bell, first opened to the public with views of Barcelona:

    The Basilica Garden:

    When you enter Santa Maria del Pi, look directly to your right and you will find four giants staring back at you from inside a floor-to-ceiling glass case. These Gegants are wearable puppets. They’re a highlight of parades and Catholic feast days in Barcelona and are known for their traditional dances. The largest giants are the oldest, dating from some time prior to 1601. The man is a Saracen, a medieval Muslim and the woman is a medieval lady. They were temporarily retired in 1780 when King Charles III issued a decree declaring them too grotesque for religious celebrations, but they returned in 1799 for the feast of Corpus Christi after a successful petition on their behalf and a formal pardon. The smaller giants, the petit Gegants, joined in the festivities after the 1780 ban was lifted. They’re dressed as a respectable, upper-class couple and their clothing has often changed with fashion. All four giants were packed in boxes and stored in the bell tower in 1870. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War they were moved to the city’s historical archives and then to the Monastery of Pedralbes in Barcelona north district. There they were spared during the Tragic Week of 1936 when members of the Radical Party destroyed many of Barcelona’s churches and monasteries. After the war the giants were moved back to Santa Maria del Pi and were sadly forgotten about. In 1951 the giants were rediscovered and restored. Nine years later they were back on the streets performing in festivals. In 1985 they were given names to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their rediscovery. The Saracen is now known as Mustafá and the medieval lady Elisenda (to honor Queen Elisenda de Montcada, the foundress of the Monastery of Pedralbes.) The petit Gegants are known as Oriol (for St. José, patron saint of the barrio of Pi) and Laia (a nickname to St. Eulalia, the  patroness of Barcelona). Every year close to the end of September Barcelona holds its largest street party, the Barcelona La Mercè Festival. These 4 giants and many others are marching along Barcelona streets - statrting their route in Placa del Pi:

    Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol resides 45 m. east to Plaça del Pi. Again, one of the prettiest in the Barri Gòtic. Its bars and cafes attract bohemians and artists and make it a lively place to hang out. It is surrounded by quaint streets, many dotted with appealing cafes, restaurants and shops. The Mercat del Art de la Placa de Sant Josep Oriol is held here. On your way to this square you pass through Placeta del Pi (behind the Basilica). Both are cosy and idyllic areas in Barri Gotic.



    From Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol we head northeast on Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 10 m. Turn left to stay on Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 35 m. Turn right to stay on Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 10 m. Slight right onto Carrer de la Palla for 60 m. and you see the Duck Store, Carrer de la Palla, 11 on your left:

    From the Duck Store, Carrer de la Palla, 11- head north on Carrer de la Palla toward Carrer dels Banys Nous, 5 m. Sharp RIGHT (east) onto Carrer dels Banys Nous, 45 m. Turn left onto Baixada de Santa Eulàlia, 45 m. Continue onto Carrer de Sant Sever, 30 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Sant Felip Neri, 30 m. Turn left onto Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, 30 m. The narrow, labyrinthine streets of the Gothic Quarter come out into this unexpected spot. A tiny square with a charming little fountain in the middle and overlooked by the Baroque church of Sant Felip Neri. On one side, you can see the buildings that once housed the city's shoemakers' and coppersmiths' guilds, which moved here from their premises on Carrer de la Bòria and Carrer de la Corribia, respectively. The square features a number of historic elements that make it particularly attractive, especially when you view it in silence. During the civil war the convent was used as a home for evacuated children. On the 30th of January 1938 a bomb dropped by Franco’s air force exploded directly in front of the church killing 30 of the children who were sheltering inside. Shortly afterwards, while people were trying to rescue survivors, a second bomb exploded in the square bringing the death toll to 42. A plaque reminds us of the fact that a bombing raid by Fascist planes:


    The romantic, slightly faded Plaça Sant Felip Neri is an unmissable corner of the Gothic Quarter. It is dominated by the Baroque church from which it takes its name. The Church of Sant Felip Neri was built as an annex to the convent of the "Felipons" (the followers of the saint) who settled on this site in 1673. The Baroque church was built later, in around 1750, and was one of the few examples of this style in Barcelona. The main façade has simple lines. The doorway is crowned by a niche with a statue of the Saint to which the temple is dedicated. Note the awful verdict of the Fascist bombardment in the church walls:

    The interiors has a single cross-vaulted nave and rectangular apse, and features side chapels with neoclassical altars and paintings by Joan Llimona. The atmosphere inside the church is very peaceful. The sculptural group behind the high altar in the apse with the crucifixion in the center is spectacular. There is fantastic acoustics in the church. Sometimes concerts of Baroque music are held inside. 

    In case you find yourself in the Barri Gotic in Saturday midday or afternoon - hurry up to Plaça Nova (150 m.) - to see the Sardana dances there during the summer months. (we've been in Plaça Nova - see Tip 2).

    From Plaça de Sant Felip Neri to Plaça Nova: Head northeast on Plaça de Sant Felip Neri toward Carrer de Montjuïc del Bisbe, 15 m. Continue onto Carrer de Montjuïc del Bisbe, 55 m. Continue straight onto Plaça de Garriga i Bachs, 10 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Bisbe, 55 m. Slight right onto Plaça Nova.

    To return from Plaça Nova to La Rambla - see Tip 2.

    To return from Plaça Sant Felip Neri to Liceu Metro station, La Rambla: From Plaça Sant Felip Neri head south toward Carrer de Sant Felip Neri
    30 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Sant Felip Neri, 30 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Sant Sever, 30 m. Continue onto Baixada de Santa Eulàlia,
    45 m. Turn left onto Carrer dels Banys Nous, 30 m. Turn right onto Carrer de l'Ave Maria, 40 m.  Continue straight (BACK) onto Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 10 m. Turn right to stay on Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 40 m. Turn left BACK onto Plaça del Pi, 25 m. Continue onto Carrer del Cardenal Casañas, 50 m. Turn right BACK onto Passatge d'Amadeu Bagués, ascend  the stairs, 50 m. Turn right onto La Rambla/Rambla de Sant Josep, 30 m.
    You arrived to the Liceu Metro station.

  • Citywalk | Spain
    Updated at Oct 22,2017

    1/2 day in Tibidabo Mountain:

    Weather: ONLY clear day. Duartion: 1/2 day. The Expiatory Temple of the Sacred Heart is spectacular and is worth visiting at a leisurely pace because it is loaded with details, symbolism and history, that one can only perceive if one looks at it carefully. Distance: 1/2 km.

    Introduction: Tibidabo is a 500 m. and the tallest mountain overlooking Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It provides spectacular views over the city and the surrounding coastline. On the summit of the mountain reside the Sagrat Cor church and adjacent Tibidabo Amusement Park. The Torre de Collserola telecommunications tower is also a short walk away. The church is topped by an impressive sculpture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Josep Miret Llopart and designed by Enric Sagnier,

    Public transport

    The most conservative way of transport is the Tibibus, which runs every 20 minutes from Plaça de Catalunya to Tibidabo. The bus T2A operates, on days on which the Tibidabo Amusement Park is open, from 10.15 every 20 minutes.

    Tibidabo can be reached via the Tibidabo Funicular, which was the first of its kind in Spain, and by the Tramvia Blau or road. The Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona minibus service 111 connects it to Vallvidrera village and the upper station of the Vallvidrera funicular. From Placa Catalunya Metro stations follow the L3 signs and then follow the signs of orange FGC  (or: train wagon symbol) . On the electronic board search locations and times of FGC S1 and S2 lines to Terrassa. The 8th stop in these lines is the Peu Tibidabo or Peu del funicular (train station). From there you take the cable car or elevator until Vallvidrera Superior. You just need one normal metro ticket for the whole combination of vehicles !

    From there bus 111 ((ordinary ticket)) until the Basilica located on the summit of Mount Tibidabo:

    The bus stops opposite the Basilica located on the summit of Mount Tibidabo: Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor or Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (in Spanish: Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús).

    The building was designed by the Spanish architect Enric Sagnier and was completed by his son Josep Maria Sagnier i Vidal. The construction of the church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, lasted from 1902 to 1961 !!! The crypt was built between 1903 and 1911, and the main church was built between 1915 and 1951. The towers were completed afterward, with work officially ending in 1961. On 29 October 1961 the church received the title of minor basilica from Pope John Paul XXIII.

    Even if you are walking up Rambla Catalunya or Passeig de Gracia, you always see the Tibidabo Basilica far on the horizon. The external appearance of the whole church looks like a Romanesque fortress of stone (from Montjuïc) The monumental neo-Gothic church is accessed by two grand outdoor stairways. The upper church has a central floor with an octagonal dome on eight columns. To many people it shows similarity to the Basilica de Sacre-Coeur in Paris or the Sacro Cuore di Gesu in Rome (see our Tipter blogs in France and Italy). Opening hours: 11.00 - 20.00 (winter: 18.00) for the cathedral. Remember: the elevator to the top and the funicular to the mountain close, both,  earlier: so make sure to be here before 19.00. Prices: the Basilica itself is FREE. The elevator to the top is 3.00 Euros:

    The façade of the lower Crypt has a richly decorated tympanum with sculptures by Alfons Juyol i Bach following the design of Eusebi Arnau. The sculptures represent the Virgin of Mercy, Saint George, and Saint James, the patron saints of Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain, respectively. The crypt facade consists of three semicircular arches on columns, inserted under a larger semicircular arch, originally decorated with a mosaic of the Holy Trinity by Daniel Zuloaga (destroyed in 1936). In 1955 it was redecorated by the Bru Workshop of Barcelona; the work depicts an allegory of the devotion of Spain, represented by its patron saints:

    The Lower Crypt  Interior:

    The crypt was designed in a neo-Byzantine style, combining Gothic and classical elements, and decoration close to Modernisme. The space of the crypt consists of five naves separated by columns, the central one being wider, all with semicircular apses. The walls and vaults are lined with alabaster or decorated with mosaics, with scenes relating to the dedications of the altars: Mary Help of Christians, Saint Anthony of Padua, the Blessed Sacrament, Saint Joseph, and the Virgin of Montserrat. Polychrome alabaster is also used for the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) sculpted by Josep Miret:

    The windows that bring natural light inside are complemented by stained glass windows with the following topics: the largest in the arch, in the corners, represent the appearance of the Our Lady of the Pillar and the conversion of King Reccared I to Catholicism; Saint Ferdinand and Saint Hermenegild are represented in the two large vertical windows; and the small ones located above the door are dedicated to Joachim, Isidore the Farmer, Saint Anthony and Saint Elizabeth of Portugal:

    On both sides of the main door of the crypt there are two wide and winding staircases that lead to the top patio (there is also an elevator). The right hand staircase leads to the tiny primitive chapel (built 1886), financed by the Barcelona aristocrat Dorotea de Chopitea, which is situated on the highest point of the mountain, and contains an image of the Sacred Heart.

    The upper church (last stop of the elevator) is square with three apses, a large central tower, and four lower towers marking the four corners of the square, and statues of the Twelve Apostles sculpted by Josep Miret. The main facade has three sections, the central wider, chaired by the figure of the Archangel Michael in the arch of the main entrance, and John Bosco in the pediment above. Over the left door is the statue of Teresa of Ávila and over the right, Marguerite Marie Alacoque. Above the door is an open gallery of arches with tracery.

    The upper Basilica towers from the upper viewing terrace of the Basilica:

    The last stop the elevator makes is the second terrace. This allows visitors also to go around the temples, and see the backs of the 12 apostles:

    and gain access to the viewpoint at the top of the temple, first by an outside staircase, then via an interior one. The staircase also leads to the main terrace (518 m2), with beautiful views of Barcelona, the sea, the main entrance of the crypt, and Tibidabo's theme park:

    The Tibidabo Amusement Park from the upper viewing terrace of the Basilica:

    The upper Temple Interior: The interior is divided into a nave and two aisles with semicircular apses, with stained glasses and four rose windows on the facades. In the main altar stands the great crucifix, a work by Joan Puigdollers:

    The eight stained glasses of the dome depict scenes from the life of Jesus:

    The church is crowned by the enormous bronze statue of the Sacred Heart made by Josep Miret in 1950, replacing the original made by Frederic Marès in 1935, and destroyed the following year. The ascent from the Crypt, passing through the church and ending at the sculpture, reflects the rise and the purification of the human condition by means of sacrifice and devotion. The Jesus Christ bronze statue above your head resembles of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ statue of Corcovado:

    The approximately 520-meter-high Tibidabo is the highest mountain in the Collserola mountain range and shields the city from the weather of the hinterland. The Tibidabo is worth it alone because of its breathtaking view. On a clear day, you have a vision to Montserrat:

    From the distance - you see from Tibidabo mountain the Collserola TV tower is like a needle pointing towards the sky. It has been an iconic part of the Barcelona skyline since the year of the Olympics, 1992. its observation deck is the highest in the city and provides spectacular views of Barcelona and its surrounding area. You can sometimes see as far as 70 kilometres. The Collserola communications Tower was designed by the British architect Norman Foster. The complex comprises a service and maintenance building and the 445-metre-high tower, which has stood since 1992 on the hill known as Turó de la Vilana located in the Sarrià Sant Gervasi district. The glassy observation deck, 560 metres above sea level, is located on the tenth platform which is reached from inside the tower by means of a lift taking the public to the deck in under two and a half minutes. The highest point of this tower is actually the highest place you could be in the city of Barcelona. Bus line 111 (see above)  connects the Tibidabo with the Conserolla Tower. Alternatively, if you first want to visit the tower, you can use the F.G.C. (Calatan transport companies, integrated in the metro network of Barcelona) line S1 or S1 to station "Peu de Funicular" and proceed with the funicular up to the mountain station. This is situated in the small village Vallvidrera. To the tower there are about 500 metres to go. Opening hours: WED – SUN: 11.30 – 14.30, 15.30 – 19.00. Prices: Adult: 5€, Child: FREE.

    At the top station of Cablacarca which leads to the top of Tibidabo, is the Parque d'Atracccions. The amusement park offers a few good round-about, Ferris wheel and roller coaster with similarly grandiose views. Attractions also include the vending machine museum Museu d'Automates del Tibidabo on the grounds of the amusement park:

    You can catch marvelous views of the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor from the park's grounds:

    View of the mountains in the west from the Amusement Park:

    In Tibidabo Square, in front of the main entrance to the Basilica, you will find the Club del Aventures (The Adventurers Club) restaurant, which offers you a varied offer of salads, tapas and sandwiches. It has a terrace, heated indoor dining room and Wi-Fi service. Open: from 10.00 am to the closing time of the amusement park. From 10.30 to 11.30 you can enjoy a breakfast offer for only € 3.50: mixed sandwich + coffee or latte (available only on days that the amusement park is open):

    We use the same means of public transport in our way back: catching bus #111 back to the Vallvidrera Superior stop. Going down with the elevator to the Peu del Funicular underground train station. Catching S1 or S2 trains  (from platform/Via 2) back to Placa de Catalunya.