Main Attractions: Train Station of Grasse, Rue Tracastel, Cathedrale Notre Dame du Puy, Place de l'Évêché, Place aux Herbes, Place de la Poissonnerie, Place aux Aires, Fontaine du Thouron, Office de Tourisme de Grasse / Grasse Bus Station, Palais des Congrès de Grasse / Place Cours Honoré Cresp, Parfumerie Fragonard, Musee d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence.
Duration: 1/2 - 3/4 day.
Weather: Bright or cloudy day. NOT in rainy or windy days. We stroll along open areas. In very hot days - come early in the morning. The first hour is concerned with climb-up.
Start & End: SNCF Train Station of Grasse.
Introduction: Grasse France might be the sweetest smelling city in Europe, widely known as the perfume capital of the world. Grasse is situated 16 km north of Cannes in southern Provence. The old town ("vieille ville") is large, old, and extremely interesting. Tiny streets wind forever between the 17th and 18th century buildings, up and down ancient steps, passing through arched tunnels and sometimes opening out onto large squares. Many of the streets aren't as clean as they should be, but still worth a wander. With the smell of flowers and clear air. Part of the appeal of our day in Grasse was that it was a welcome break from hot and crowded Provençal hill towns and popular Riviera coastal towns. The altitude of the town, from 300-400 m, and the hills behind give Grasse a fresher climate than the beach during the heat of the summer. The town was originally best known as a centre for leather tanners, but this gave way to perfume production, for which the town is still famous today. Grasse has been a perfume town ever since the 17th century, and today as the world's perfume capital, its reputation speaks for itself. Every year some two million tourists arrive from all over the world to visit the perfume museum, perfume factories and perfume shops. Grasse is a very charming town, a place where the splendid and picturesque Provence views and the perfumes produced there gave that place prestige and popularity all around the world, including a celebrated artist as the German writer Patrick Süskind who found in that centre located in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur his deep inspiration of one of his most popular literary masterpieces as scene of its novel Perfume. English-speaking audiences are probably most familiar with Grasse due to its depiction in the 2006 film Perfume: Story of a Murderer, itself based on the 1985 novel Perfume by Patrick Süskind. Most of the movie was actually filmed in Spain, though...
History: Known for its leather tanning work in the Middle Ages, this hilly French town would eventually become the center of the French perfume industry after it began manufacturing perfumed gloves in the 16th century and farming a number of flowers used for fragrances. Grasse has been a popular tourist town for several centuries.
Princess Pauline Bonaparte, the Emperor's sister, spent the winter of 1807-08 in Grasse, recuperating her mental and physical strength. Queen Victoria vacationed through several winters in Grasse, staying at the Rothschild's or at the Grand Hotel. Napoléon himself passed through Grasse on 2 March 1815, but didn't have time for vacationing.
Getting there: Grasse is located in the Alpes-Maritimes department of France and is part of the inland French Riviera area. It is located about 20 km. northwest of Cannes.
Bus: You can get buses to Grasse from nearby towns, including Cannes and Nice (No. 500 from Albert 1er / Verdun, Nice). Once arriving by bus, you will then be a 5-7 minute walk from the main attractions in the Old Town. Allow 1.5 hrs. All fares cost €1.50 per one-way journey. Buses Timetable: https://accessriviera.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/500.pdf
Train: Grasse has a train station that connects with many Riviera towns. Once you arrive at the train station, you can take one of the local buses into the town center. Buy a daily pass (15 euros/person) and you can use trains from/to Grasse (also: Antibes, Cannes) - from/to Nice for the whole day. the fastest and most efficient way to move around. There is one drawback: the train station in Grasse is quite remote from the old town centre. We off er, here, a route for walking from the train station to the old town and back. Be ready for a significant amount of walks. Trains Timetable: http://www.thetrainline-europe.com/train/grasse-to-nice-ville~8705486~8700171
Car: The 4 lane N2285 'penetrante' from the A8 exit 42 (Grasse/Cannes) is the recommended access route. It terminates rather abruptly just before the steep ascent into Grasse on the old N85 (route Napoleon). Once in Grasse, follow signs for Center-Ville and then locate one of several pay parking garages near the town center. The one closest to the Fragnord perfume tour is at Place du Cours Honré Cresp (limited area). It is also quite possible to take the meandering inland roads from Vence via the Loup Valley and/or Fayence.
Learn about perfume:
Whether you are interested in the history of perfume making, the state of the current fragrance industry, seeing the flower fields, or just buying some good smelling goodies - Grasse has you covered.
In the Middle Ages, Grasse specialized in leather tanning. The tanned products were exported to Genoa or Pisa, cities that shared a commercial alliance with Grasse. In the 16th century, Galimard, a tanner in Grasse came up with the idea of scented leather gloves. The product spread through the royal courts and high societies in Europe and this made a worldwide reputation for Grasse. The seventeenth century has seen this industry of "Gloves Perfuming" in its climax. However, high taxes on leather and competition from Nice brought a decline for the leather industry in Grasse, and production of leather fragrance ceased. But, then, the rare flowers' scents from the Grasse area (lavender, myrtle, jasmine, rose, orange blossom and wild mimosa) did win the title for the Grasse as the perfume capital of the world. Harvesting flowers was a labor-intensive business, the flowers had to be hand picked at dawn, when their scent is in its peak, and immediately to be transported to the local factories for distilling their scents and oils. Nowadays, approximately sixty companies employ 3,500 people in the city and surrounding area. Additionally about 10,000 residents of Grasse are indirectly employed by the perfume industry. Almost half of the business tax for the city comes from the perfume sector and that is ahead of tourism and services. Just 30 years ago most companies were focused on the production of raw materials. However an overwhelming majority of the modern fragrances contain synthetic chemicals in part or in whole. Grasse perfume companies have therefore adapted by turning to aromatic synthesis and especially to food flavorings and successfully ended a long stagnation. However, Grasse perfume industry cannot compete against large chemical multinationals, but they benefit greatly from advantages of knowledge of raw materials, facilities, contractors, etc'. In addition, major brands like Chanel have their own plantations of aromatic flowers in the vicinity of Grasse. The main activity of perfumery in Grasse is in the production of natural raw materials and the production of concentrates. A concentrate is the main product that when diluted in at least 80% alcohol provides a perfume. Also food flavorings, which developed since the 1970s, account for over half of production output today.
For the history of perfume head to the Museé International de la Parfumerie (International Museum of Perfume, entrance fee), where exhibits chronicle over 3,000 years of perfume history and you can view their flower garden for an extra fee. To explore a functioning factory - THREE perfume manufacturers give free guided tours: Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard (what a trio !). The most popular factory tour is the Fragonard Perfumery tour which is the one we chose to visit. This "factory" provides free visits during the day and guided tours regularly throughout the day in several languages. These tours all include an overview of the history of perfume making, an overview of historical and current techniques (with some demonstrations), and a visit to a gift shop where you can purchase fragrance products. If visiting Grasse in the Spring or early Summer, you’ll likely have the option to explore one of the nearby fields or gardens that contain the local flowers (such as roses, jasmine, violet, mimosa, lavender) that made Grasse famous and prosperous in the past. The Museé International de la Parfumerie mentioned above has an adjoining garden.
Note: Unfortunately the map the Grasse tourist offices (there are two of them) provide is missing many street and place names and largely incomprehensible because the writing is too small to read...but it does include information about where to find some of the more interesting little highlights so still worth getting hold of.
We start at the Train Station of Grasse - quite far south of the Old Town of Grasse (Centre de Ville Historique). From the station we head NORTH (follow the signs of Palais de Congres), and, immediately, turn right and climb with the road that climbs, steeply, EASTWARD (Avenue Pierre Semard). The Train Station should be down on your right. Avenue Pierre Semard slights left. DO NOT MISS THE GREEN SIGN INDICATING - "Centre de Ville". Turn left and start climbing the endless (188) stairs - leading to the Traverse de la Gard. Continue climbing the stairs NORTWARD (this section is shady) and follow the GREEN SIGNS of "Centre Ville":
We cross with the stairs and this steep ascent also the Blvd. Jacques Crouet and the next street Blvd. Fragonard (217 stairs) (we shall return to all these spots). We continue climbing and following the green signs of "Centre Ville". After 233 stairs we arrive to Place de barri. We follow the signs "Centre Historique". At this point we turn right to Rue Tracastel:
Do not miss this picturesque and atmospheric alley. It is full with splendid sights, persons and... cats. The painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard was born in the house #23 in Rue Tracastel:
We shall walk along this alley until its most eastern edge and return half way BACK north-west. On our right we shall see a sign pointing to the Hotel de Ville (Mairie) + Cathedrale Notre Dame du Puy and climb the stairs to the Cathedral. All in all - 285 stairs to the church. WE come onto the Place du Petit Puy with the 10-11th-century Notre Dame du Puy cathedral (rebuilt in the 17th c.) and its huge 18th century clock tower. Inside the cathedral there are 3 paintings from Rubens, "The Thorn Coronation," "Sainte Helene," and "The Foundation of the Cross." / The Crucification". Commissioned from the then-unknown artist in 1601 by the Archduke Albert for the Santa Croce di Gerusalemme in Rome, They were originally ordered for a church in Rome but instead donated to Grasse's hospital and in the Cathedral since 1972. Rubens' paintings are on the southern wall. There's also the 1754 painting Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Free entrance. Note: it is closed from 12.00 till 13.00 most days.
We visited this square and church - in the annual memorial day off WW1 liberation day of Grasse with the participation of war (WW2) veterans:
The area the church is located in offers great views and photo opportunities over the region around Grasse. Go to the back courtyard of the church and enjoy the stunning views around (point de vue):
From the church there are stairs leading to the inner court of the Town Hall (Mairie) (Hôtel de Ville), Place du Petit Puy (north to the Cathedrale Notre Dame du Puy. Don't miss the interior courtyard, with its decorative fountain and very quaint atmosphere around (Cour D'honneur de L'Hotelle de Ville: Fontaine du Cours). On the right side - public restroom):
The stone square tower close to here is the Sarrasin Tower and was originally the watchtower for Grasse:
Head southwest on Place du Petit Puy, 15 m. Turn right to stay on Place du Petit Puy, 25 m. Slight right onto Rue Mougins Roquefort, 10 m. Turn right onto Escalier de l'Hôtel de ville, 10 m and continue onto Rue de l'Évêché, 40 m. Turn left, 15 m. and you are in Place de l'Évêché. From the lower part of Square of l'Évêché - you see the upper part of the Sarrasin Tower:
Head northwest on Place de l'Évêché toward Rue de la Poissonnerie
25 m. Turn right onto Rue de la Poissonnerie, 30 m. Turn left at Traverse de la Placette, 20 m. You face the small Place aux Herbes. The Grasse market is held regularly here in the mornings of Tuesdays, Thursday, Fridays and Sundays but also on Wednesdays (also producers of local products) and Saturdays (also clothing, utensils, furniture, toys or other non-food products as well as fish and seafood). The number of exhibitors and the products offered are variable depending on the season. The colourful houses make this lovely square especially striking:
From Place aux Herbes - head southeast, via Passage Masel, toward Place Jean Jaurès, 20 m.:
Turn right onto Rue de la Poissonnerie, 60 m. Turn left onto Place de la Poissonnerie, 15 m. Turn right to stay on Place de la Poissonnerie, 10 m.
Place de la Poissonnerie. Here, in the picture below - you see the Bell Epocque buildings, cover (shelter) and the orchestra band:
Head northwest on Place de la Poissonnerie toward Rue de la Poissonnerie, 10 m. Turn left onto Rue de la Poissonnerie, 25 m. Turn right onto Rue Mougins Roquefort, 40 m. Turn right onto Rue Marcel Journet, 25 m. We follow the signs of Place de aux Aires. Rue Marcel Journet is full with shops, cafe's and windows with flowers:
Now, turn LEFT (north-west) onto Rue des Moulinets, 75 m.On your left - Rue Amiral de Grasse:
Turn right onto Place aux Aires, 40 m. In Place aux Aires there is a daily market with flowers and food and the surrounding buildings have have hardly changed, apart from the modern shop fronts of course. A large fountain splashes in the centre of the flowers. The upper part of the square is fu. You, easily, face waht makes Grasse citizens tired every day -to discover their beloved Place aux Aires invaded by the terraces and chairs of local restaurants. Place aux Aires is the urban heart of Grasse. Founded in the fourteenth century, lined with arcaded houses where flower shops today, it was once the stronghold of the tanners who were soaking the skins in the channel crossing instead. Today, the highlights are: its beautiful fountain with four superimposed basins, the flower market and the regional products sold here:
At No. 33 stands the mansion of conventional Isnard Maximilian (1758-1825) (member of the Convention during the French Revolution), whose balcony is decorated with a beautiful wrought iron railing:
Head north on Place aux Aires toward Traverse du Thouron, 40 m.
Turn left onto Traverse du Thouron, 50 m. Slight right onto Rue du Thouron, 25 m:
Note this sign in the left side of Rue du Thouron:
In the end of Rue du Thouron waits the Fontaine du Thouron (Harmonie):
The stairs (photos above) are leading us to the Place de la Foux / Blvd. du Jeu de Ballon. Note this marble monument in the square. The Route of Napoleon passes through this square in Grasse:
If we climb up along the street (Avenue Thiers) - we see a statue of angel with nice view of sloping hill and splendid houses in the distance:
Head north on Place de la Foux toward Escalier Tressemannes, 18 m.
Turn left and walk down onto Escalier Tressemannes, 22 m. We follow the signs to the Office de Tourisme de Grasse. Near the Touruist Office resides the main Bus Station of Grasse (also buses to/from Nice and Cannes) with an extensive lookout point with WONDERFUL views of Grasse and its environs:
We change direction and walk DOWN the Boulevard du Jeu de Ballon / Route Napoléon from north to south. On your left, at # 2 (far down the street) - you find the Musée International de la Parfumerie (M.I.P), 2 Boulevard du Jeu de Ballon.
It is only a museum and NOT a site for perfumes shopping. In all civilisations, perfumes have triggered an incredible production of precious and refined objects in rare materials: alabaster, glazed earthenware, ceramics, glass, metalwork. Through exceptional collections of objects and the staging of different industrial processes, the museum retraces the history of perfumes as well as soaps, make-up and cosmetics back for four thousand years. The museum is organized into five sections according to Western historical chronology - Antiquity, Middle Ages, Modern and Contemporary periods , each representing a historical period and contemporary issues: elegance and classicism, magic and dynamism, frivolity and hygiene.
Opening hours: The MIP Museum: Summer (APR - SEP): 10.00 to 19.00,
Winter (OCT - MAR): 10.30 to 17.30. Closed on Tuesdays, May 1, December 25, January 1, three weeks from November 12. MIP Gardens:
Spring - Summer (MAR 28 - SEP 30): 10.00 to 19.00, Fall: (OCT 1 to NOV 11): 10.00 to 17.30. Closed on Tuesdays, May 1, from NOV 12 to the end of MAR. Prices: MIP Museum: Regular price: €4 (€6 during the temporary summer exhibition). Half price: students over 18. Free of charge (with proper documents): under 18, unemployed, disabled, the first Sunday of each month (fall/winter). MIP Gardens: Regular price: €3 (€4 during the temporary summer exhibition). Half price: students over 18, groups of 10 or more. Free of charge (with justification): under 18, unemployed, disabled. Ticket for both MIp Museum and Garden: Regular price: €5 (€7 during the MIP temporary summer exhibition). Half price: students over 18. Free of charge: under 18, unemployed, disabled. One of the first homes built "outside the city walls" at the end of the seventeenth century was certainly Villa Fragonard. A large and austere Provencal house, beautiful in its proportions, pleasantly surrounded by a terraced garden and vegetable growing terraces, dominated by the Charité hospital built in 1698, it saw a succession of old Provencal families live within its walls. Alexandre Maubert, a native of Grasse, a cultured man and musician, is a perfect representative of the Enlightenment. In 1790 he welcomed his cousin Jean-Honoré Fragonard as political events and poor health forced him to leave the capital. Fragonard arrived at his cousin's house with no possessions. Indeed, he brought with him four rolled panels showing the Progress of Love in the heart of a young girl, ordered by Madame Du Barry to decorate the pavilion that had been offered to her by Louis XV in Louveciennes, which she refused. The painter was well-compensated and kept these works in his studio for 20 years. The panels came to Grasse in January 1790 and the tradition is that Fragonard hung them in his cousin's living room himself. For the sections of the walls remaining empty, Alexandre Maubert ordered the rest of the story from the painter. They all remained in place until 1896, when Louis Malvillan, grandson of Alexandre Maubert, sold them but not without having a copy made by an excellent Lyon painter Auguste de La Brély. The originals, now known as the Fragonards from Grasse, have been exhibited in the Frick Collection in New York since 1915. Also, is it natural that, when the house was put up for sale in 1977, the City of Grasse bought it and decided to devote three rooms on the first floor to the exhibition of works by Jean-Honoré Fragonard and painters from his family, his son Alexander, his grandson Theophilus, his sister-in-law Marguerite Gérard and his great-grandson Antonin. A section is also dedicated to the memory of Jean-Honoré Fragonard remembered, among others, through sculpture, a bust by Gustave Deloye, and by moving memories such as the painter's chair and his box of colours:
100-120 metres further down: on your right Grasse Casino (Closed. Out of business) and on your left a small park with a nice sculpture of Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806):
200 m. further down (south-west) from the Casino and the garden - we arrive to Palais des Congrès de Grasse and Place Cours Honoré Cresp. This is the heart of Grasse. This is the Grasse Convention Centre. Built in 1893, this former "Casino des Fleurs" was renovated in 1989 and converted into a convention center, while keeping its exterior architecture style "Belle Epoque". This building houses many rooms of different sizes and adjusting to any special requests or events:
Place Cours Honoré Cresp - here, starts the tourists train. In this square stands Memorial Monument to the WW2 French Resistance:
From the square walk down (south), cross the broad street through Pedestrian crossing to the Parfumerie Fragonard, Perfume Store, 20 Boulevard Fragonard. Note: the nearby, Villa Musée Jean-Honoré Fragonard, 23 Boulevard Fragonard is currently (winter 2016) closed due to reconstruction works. Opening hours: every day, Sundays and public holidays included, from 9.00 to 18.30. Closed 12.30 to 14.00 from mid-November to Mid- December. Free guided tour in all European languages. Products at factory price. This historic perfume factory in the heart of the Old Town is one of the oldest in Grasse. This complex houses perfume making from its construction in 1782. In 1926 they took the name of Parfumerie Fragonard as a tribute to the famous painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Here on a daily basis they manufacture and market perfumes, cosmetics and soaps in a setting imbued with respect for tradition. Free guided tour are offered, during which you can discover the various procedures involved in creating and producing the aromatic products: 300 years of perfume history in a private, free museum (no signage in languages other than French) and shop. We didn't take part in the guided tour - but, were told that it is an excellent tour (English-speaking guide). It ends in the extensive, richly presents, highly-scented retail gallery/shop. No hard sell, however as the quality is so good, hard to leave without a purchase. Prices are cheaper than any other outlet. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE, OBLIGATORY SHOP THAT NO WOMAN OR GIRL CAN RESIST. It is lovely, the staff members are helpful, polite, full with know-how and not pushy. Definitely worth the time to visit !!! Prepare your nose and purse:
View from Parfumerie Fragonard to Grasse Old Town and the Cathedral Notre Dame de Puy:
To return to the Train Station - stick to the instructions below. Otherwise, using the main roads - it might be quite longer way of walk. Head northeast on Boulevard Fragonard toward Rue Mirabeau. Slight right onto crumbled Rue Mirabeau, 120 m. At 2 rue Mirabeau resides Musee d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence. Free admission. The museum presents impressive artifacts (pottery ,furniture, weaponry, costumes, paintings, jewels and toys) of daily Provencial life since prehistoric times. Free nostalgic display. Pleasant childhood memories:
Turn left onto Boulevard Fragonard, 45 m. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Traverse de la Gare, 60 m. Turn right to stay on Traverse de la Gare, 40 m. Turn left to stay on Traverse de la Gare, 100 m. Turn left to stay on Traverse de la Gare, 280 m and you arrive to Grasse Gare SNCF.In case you've arrived, accidentally, to Blvd. Carnot , take the stairs, at Traverse de la Gare, and walk down to the station.
Main Attractions: The Cenothaph, Monument to the Engineers of the Titanic, Guildhall, SeaCity Museum, The Bargate, Arundel Tower, Juniper Berry Pub, Western Esplanade, West Hythe Quay and Biddle’s Gate, The Arcades, Blue Anchor Lane, Tudor House, St. Michael's Church, Town Quay, God's House Tower, Holyrood Church.
Duartion: 1/2 - 3/4 day. Weather: Any weather. I did this route during a windy and rainy day. I must admit that the Southampton harbor and bay look totally different (far more gorgeous and attractive) on sunny days ! Distance: 7 km.
Start: The Cenotaph. End: The Bargate (Above Bar Road).
Introduction: I chose Southampton as my base for 8 nights. It is the optimal site for exploring Hampshire, the Cathedral cities, Stonehenge. Southampton, is fairly good base, even, for visiting Bath - due, to the horrible accommodation prices in Bath. The train lines from/to Southampton - are really punctual, convenient, reasonably-priced and efficient. Keep in mind just one rule: find accommodation near the train station. My lodging, for 8 nights, was Rivendell Guest House - 19, Languard Road, Southampton - 10 minutes walk from the Southampton Central station. A wonderful and brilliant choice (see Tip below).
Medieval Southampton was completely enclosed by fortified town walls, large parts of which survive today. For a brief period Jane Austen was at school in Southampton, then a small port at the head of Southampton Water, and although she nearly died of typhus there, this did not deter her from returning more than two decades later. From late 1806 to early 1809 the Austens lived in a house in Castle Square,
We start our route in the Cenothaph. It is the junction of the Commercial Road (west) and the Above Bar Road. We start walking down along the Above Bar Road, with our back to the north, our face to the south, the West Park on our right and the East Park on our left. On our right, in the green space (West Park or Watts Park) is the bulky stone masonry Cenotaph, by Edward Lutyens. The monument was planned to be abstract and graceful, with a perception of a soldier having fallen in a "peaceful" death. This Cenotaph precedes Lutyens', far more famous, monument in Whitehall, London. It was originally dedicated to the casualties of the WW1. But, weather damages to the memorial stone monument led to a glass wall being built alongside it in year 2011, incorporating the names of Southampton citizens who died in subsequent wars and conflicts. The glass panels list 3,298 names of people killed serving in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts:
Nearby, across Above Bar Road, the park continues on your left (it is called East Park), with at the corner the excellent Monument to the Engineers of the Titanic (15 April 1912): a granite construction with bronze panels to left and right of a ship's prow, showing two engineer crew members on deck. Central and above, a large bronze angel with wings, wreaths and exceptional drapery and figure. Joseph Bell was the Chief Engineer Officer on the RMS Titanic. His staff consisted of 24 engineers, 6 electrical engineers, two boilermakers, a plumber and a clerk. None survived the sinking. In total 1,523 people died on the Titanic in this ill-fated voyage. The memorial was designed by Whitehead and Son. The granite memorial monument was originally unveiled on 22 April 1914. The event was attended by an estimated 100,000 Southampton residents. The impact of the disaster was felt all around the world, but nowhere more so than in Southampton:
150 m. down the Above Bar Road, on our right starts the Cultural Quarter. An area alive with arts, heritage, entertainment, events, music, colour and dramatic architecture. Notable sites include the Guildhall Square,Southampton City Art Gallery, The Guildhall, Mayflower Theatre, City Library and Archives, BBC South Broadcasting House, and the historic city centre parks.
First, we see the Southampton Solent University Conference Centre, 157-187 Above Bar Street - Southampton main site setting for conferences and exhibitions:
Next, a bit further southward, is the Cultural Quarter or Civic Centre. It hosts the SeaCity Museum, council offices, the Guildhall venue, the well-endowed city art gallery, and the city library.
The Central Library:
Southampton City Art Gallery: FREE to enter and conveniently located right next to SeaCity Museum, the venue caters for families. You can enjoy gallery trails through the exhibitions, monthly art clubs and a fantastic range of activities for all ages. Open: MON - FRI: 10.00 - 15.00, SAT: 10.00 - 17.00.
Lady Darling, circa 1882 by John Collier (1850–1934):
The Captain's Daughter (The Last Evening) by James Tissot (1836–1902):
The Second Visit by Howard Hodgkin (b.1932):
From the Above Bar Road we see the east wing of the Guildhall. Work on the Guildhall (the east wing) began in March 1934. The Guildhall was intended as a social location for municipal functions. The Guildhall was opened on 13 February 1937.
The Guildhall (east wing), with colonnaded façade:
The west wing, originally courts, now hosting SeaCity Museum, and the monumental clock tower also holding many council offices:
The south wing of the civic centre, containing mostly council offices:
The city’s new maritime attraction, SeaCity Museum, tells the story of the people of the city, their fascinating lives and historic connections with Titanic and the sea.It continues to attract hoards of visitors to the city. Featuring a number of exhibitions including a major Titanic exhibition, the museum will be a lasting legacy to the fateful Titanic ship. As the port from which the 1912 White Star liner Titanic set sail, Southampton is at the very heart of the Titanic story. Many lives and families were affected by the tragedy. You can see the 1:25 scale interactive model of the ship, experience the ‘Disaster Room’, and immerse yourself in the 1930s court room which depicts the Inquiry held in London after the disaster. It is the Titanic story which makes a visit particularly worthwhile. The museum was opened on the centenary of the Titanic in April 2012. Open: daily, 10.00 – 17.00. Prices: Adults: £8.50, Concessions: £6.00. You can enjoy the museum café without needing to pay for admission to the rest of the building. The café is located on the ground floor:
The impressive Guildhall Place, a pedestrianized walkway that links Guildhall Square to East Park and Above Bar Road has been just reopened in 2016:
On our way down (south) along Above Bar Road - we can dine in various restaurants, cafe's or eateries. The Art House, 178 Above Bar Street, Southampton - an Art Cafe' is a very good option: tasty, very special place, atmospheric, organic veggie food, fantastic cakes, excellent coffee, cultural clientele. For the Sunday dinner - you must order a place well in advance. Jacket potato with small salad: £4. No gluten menu (Falafel Salad: £8). Open: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 22.00, SUN: 12.00 - 17.00. Closed: Mondays. Another reasonably-priced and filling option, a bit further south, on your left, is Nando's, at WestQuay Shopping Centre, Food Terrace (2nd floor), West Quay Shopping Centre.
Our way from north to south along Above Bar Road is dotted with many parks on our right and left. We start with the East Park (Andrews Park) and West Park which are particularly attractive.
We continue with the Houndwell Park and Palmerston Park. So plenty of green spaces here ! The parks date back to the Middle Ages and beyond when they were outside the walls of the city and were used for strip farming. Palmerston park, on your left (east) is absolutely beautiful with all its flowers and plants and at night it has gorgeous rope lights illuminating it. It is full with camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias. Hydrangeas and various summer flowering bulbs extend the flowering season into the summer. You can find, here, the statue of former Prime Minster the 3rd Viscount Palmerston. It was unveiled on 2 June 1869, four years after Palmerston’s death in 1865:
Houndwell Theme Park lies to the south of Palmerston Park and is separated by Pound Tree Road:
We continue southward when the Marlands Shopping Centre is on our right (and, later, the West Quay Shopping Centre) and the Palmerston Park is , still, on our left. At last, in the end of Above Bar Road, in the centre of the street, is one of Southampton's medieval constructions, the Bargate, associated with the city's defensive walls, much of which survive. Although Southampton was ruthlessly bombed during the last war, some ancient relics survived, including the famous Bargate, which once served as the main gateway to the city at the northern end. The gate was once the site of town council meetings, the local court, and road toll collectors. Constructed in Norman times as part of the Southampton town walls, the Bargate was the main gateway to the city. Two lions rampant in lead, with inscription on base dated 1892 noting replacement of 1743 pedestals. The two lead lions are said to protect the city and the original Norman arch dates back to about 1175, with the tower being added a century later. The far side of the gate has carved heads in poor condition adorning the sides of the windows, and centrally placed, a statue of George III in Roman costume of Hadrian (modelled after the British Museum statue and emplaced after 1809). To the left (looking back at the statue) a city wall walk begins, but we shall see it later. Looking over the parapet is a nicely posed modern bronze statue John le Fleming (1991) by Anthony Griffiths. The northern side of the gate is under massive constructions:
Here, starts the old town, surrounded by walls, which has over 90 listed buildings and more than 30 ancient monuments,Georgian houses and hotels. Southampton still retains England's second-longest stretch of surviving Medieval wall (the longest is in York). These huge stone walls were first built to defend the town from attack by land, and then extended to protect it from sea-borne enemies, following the devastating
French raid of 1338. Although earlier Roman and Anglo-Saxon settlements around Southampton had been fortified with walls or ditches, the later walls originate with the move of the town to the current site in the 10th century. GuIded Walks: Southampton Tourist Guides Association offer guided walks on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, starting from the Bargate at 11.00, £3, under 16s free.
With our face southward, we turn right (west) to Bargate Street. On our left the old town walls and Arundel Tower. On our right the West Quay mall. It was originally known as Corner Tower. In the 14th century it was renamed after Sir John Arundel, governor of Southampton Castle 1377-39. Arundel tower may be also named after hirondelle, the magical horse of sir Bevois, one of the mythical founders of Southampton. legend has it that hirondelle (‘swallow’ in French) was so named because he could out-fly swallows. When Sir Bevois died the horse flung himself from the tower in sorrow. Unfortunately access to the bridge is closed at the moment so you miss the interesting larger-than-life statue of early mayor Le Fleming peering over the wall:
Arriving to the end of Bargate Street - we turn LEFT (south) to Castle Way. On our right signpost indicating the location of the past Castle Gate. Rising high above the town walls stood Southampton castle. Built after the Norman conquest of 1066, the king and his court would stay here on their way to France. After gradually falling into disrepair the castle
was rebuilt in 1805, but demolished 10 years later. Walk 160 m. south along Castle Way and turn right in the 2nd turn, Castle Lane. Turn left onto Castle Square and you see a gorgeous Tudor wooden house, the Juniper Berry Pub (and lodging) on your right. Following her father George's death in January 1805, Jane Austen, her mother and sister Cassandra eventually settled in Southampton, where they stayed until mid-1809. In March 1807 they took a house in Castle Square, on the site of the present Juniper Berry Pub. This pub is stunning on the outside but a typical English pub on the inside:
We walk along Castle Lane until its western end. With the Juniper Berry on our left, We descend the stairs in the end of the path and we turn LEFT (south) to the Western Esplanade. Walking southward along the Western Esplanade, we cross, on our left, the splendid Simnel Street with many, charming red-bricked houses. In the mid 1700s, doctors prescribed salt water bathing as a cure for many illnesses, and Southampton became a fashionable place to visit. This area was home to
Mr Martin’s Baths and the assembly rooms:
Immediately, behind the Simnel Street - we see, on our left the most beautiful section of Southampton walls: West Hythe Quay and Biddle’s Gate and, Later, the Arcades. in medieval times, this was a bustling waterfront lined with the houses of wealthy merchants. After the French raid in 1338, the merchants were forced to move and the walls of their houses were blocked up to create the town walls. You can still see the outlines of the medieval doorways and windows.
The Arcades form part of the surviving west walls and are a unique feature in England; their closest architectural equivalent are in Rouen, France. The West Gate still stands three storeys high and was originally defended by two portcullises; the windows on the west side of the gate are the original medieval designs. Along the south side of the walls one of the twin towers protecting the South Gate still stands, largely intact. The Arcades form part of the surviving west walls and are a unique feature in England; their closest architectural equivalent are in Rouen, France. The West Gate still stands three storeys high and was originally defended by two portcullises; the windows on the west side of the gate are the original medieval designs:
Several steps further south and we cross, on our left, the Blue Anchor Lane. Blue Anchor Lane led from the medieval quayside into the town and the market in St. Michael’s Square. the stone arch forms part of the town walls. The portcullis slot is still visible. The Blue Anchor Lane slides it’s way down a steep incline alongside the Tudor House towards the quayside, that in Medieval times, would have been just outside the city walls. The Blue Anchor Lane ran from the market square outside St. Michael’s church to the waterfront via the Postern Gate, one of Southampton’s original seven gates. It was used to carry goods from the quayside up to the market square. The carters would have piled onto their carts all manner of imported goods and worked hard against the gradient to deliver them to the market place in front of St Michael's church. In the late medieval period the lane was called Lord’s Lane.
It was renamed in the 18th C after the Blue Anchor Inn which was located in the lane:
We shall climb up east along the Blue Anchor Lane and end up with the Tudor House and St. Michael's Square on our right and St. Michael's Church in front of us.
St. Michael’s Square is dominated by the iconic Tudor House. This square was once the location of Westgate Hall. Wool was stored upstairs, and a fish market was held beneath. In 1634 the hall was dismantled and
rebuilt next to Westgate. Paving slabs show where it once stood. The Tudor House, a timber-framed building facing St Michael’s Square was built in the late 15th Century, with King John’s Palace, an adjacent Norman house accessible from Tudor House Garden, dating back a further 300 years. Tudor House gives a unique and atmospheric insight into the lives and times of both its residents through the years, and of Southampton itself. the existing Tudor House and Garden that is seen today traces its roots back to around 1495 AD, when Sir John Dawtry, an important local official, had the building constructed from those houses which previously stood here. Open: TUE - FRI 10.00 - 15.00, SAT - SUN 10.00 - 17.00. Closed Mondays. Prices: Adult: £5.00, Child 5 and over: £4.00, Child under 5: free, Concessions: over 60s and students: £4.00. Tudor House and Garden & SeaCity Museum: Adult: £12.00, Concession: £9.00:
The St. Michael's Church occupies the east side of St. Michael's Square off Bugle Street. St. Michael's Church is the oldest building still in use in the city of Southampton, England, having been founded in 1070, and is the only church still active of the five originally in the medieval walled town. Worth a visit, a lovely and welcome place: fine stained glass and a good modern wood carving. It is frequently closed and opening times clarification on line is hard to find:
We end our visit in the Blue Anchor lane and return west (left) to the Western Esplanade, continuing walking southward. After 75 m. of walk we see on our left, the Westgate - another medieval gate to the city (nowadays - Westgate Hall). On our right are the Grand Harbour and Holiday Inn hotels. The Westgate includes the relocated timber framed Medieval Cloth Hall which was relocated to this site:
Near the Pig in the Wall Pub (and small hotel), we pop into the walls and return walking southward along the Western Esplanade:
After 200 m. in the Western Esplanade we arrive towards the Town Quay and the docks. Here, we turn northward to the High Street. Here, stands the Town Quay. During the 1400s, wool was the single largest export from the town. The wool house was built to store wool right on the quayside. The town mayor, Thomas Middleton, built a large crane next to it for moving heavy cargo. Houses along the esplanade and the quay are very special looking (note the Ennio's restaurant/hotel building). This section of our route offers lovely views to the sea, and cruise liners, passing ferries and container ships with tugs:
In the intersection of Town Quay and High Street - we enter, with our face to the east, onto Winkle Street to see, on our left the wall and the God's House. God's House Tower is a late 13th century gatehouse into the old town of Southampton. It stands at the south-east corner of the town walls and. The complex was named after nearby God's House Hospital, although it has many alternative names including the South Castle. In the past, it permitted access to the town from the Platform and Town Quay. An original simple gatehouse was built in the late 13th century and in the early 14th century it was extended to its current dimensions. At the same time a large room, possibly a guard room, was built above the gateway. The great tower at the eastern end of the building and the adjoining gun platform were built in the 15th century to strengthen the gate's flank defences. The tower was also called Mill Tower (or Mill House) from the tidal mill installed at its east extremity and worked by the waters of the town moat. It housed the city Museum of Archaeology (opened to the public in 1961 and then closed in September 2011). Tower House, which adjoins the gateway to the west, was built in the 19th century, replacing an earlier building. In 2012, it was occupied by "a space arts", providing studio space for "emerging" artists. Opposite the gateway, in Winkle Street, is the only other remaining substantial part of the original hospital, the Church of St. Julien. Just outside the gate is the Old Bowling Green, the oldest bowling green in the world which dates back to at least 1299.
Try to walk as east as possible in Winkle Street and find the way to turn LEFT (north) in the Lower Canal Walk (the extensive, a bit hidden, Queen's Park is on your right). In the end of this road, slightly turn left, again to Briton Rd. to see another section of the walls - opposite Friary House (former Franciscan priory). We continue walking west (left) aling Briton Street until it meets the High Street. Here, we turn right (north) and walk along High Street. After 160 m. - we see on our right (east) the northerern wall of the destroyed Holyrood Church. Several churches were within walking distance of Castle Square, including the Holyrood Church in the High Street, right at the centre of the medieval town. Built in 1320, the church was destroyed by the Nazi bombing during the blitz in November 1940. In 1957 the shell of the church was dedicated as a memorial to the sailors of the Merchant Navy. Southampton lost seven churches during the blitz, as well as the nearby Audit House, the Ordnance Survey offices and many shops, factories and homes. During the night of 30 November 1940, when the church was destroyed, 214 people were killed in Southampton and nearly 500 properties were totally destroyed. The only parts of the church still standing are the tower at the south-western corner and the chancel at the eastern end, together with large parts of the north walls. The wooden spire was lost as was the great west window, whilst the central area of the church was completely destroyed. Among the memorials inside the ruin is one to the crew of the Titanic, most of whom came from Southampton. Inside the church, under the tower is a memorial fountain, erected in 1912–13 for those who lost their lives in the sinking of the Titanic ship. The fountain is supported on four stone columns, with a curved pediment on each side with carvings depicting the "Titanic", surmounted by a four-columned cupola. The artist metal worker, Charles Normandale created a series of wrought iron metal screens, gates and railings for the Chancel and Titanic Memorial Fountain. The chancel, now with a glass roof, and nave are used for temporary exhibitions and musical events. The whole edifice is dedicated to the men of the Merchant Navy and hosts the annual Merchant Navy Day memorial service. In the corner of the former nave is an anchor (bearing the name of Cunard shipping company, behind which is a plaque bearing the legend:
"The church of Holyrood erected on this site in 1320 was damaged by enemy action on 30 Nov 1940. Known for centuries as the church of the sailors the ruins have been preserved by the people of Southampton as a memorial and garden of rest, dedicated to those who served in the Merchant Navy and lost their lives at sea".
Walking further northward along High Street - brings you to the Above Bar Road and to the Bargate. It is 1 mile (1.6 km.) walking to our start point - the Cenotaph.
Main Attractions: Chichester Cathedral, Chichester Cross, Ox Market Centre of Arts, The Butter Market, Chichester Canal Basin, Chichester Canal, Chichester Walls, Priory Park, Bishop's Palace Gardens.
Start & End: Chichester Station.
Weather: I did this short route in a rainy day. Duration: 3/4 day. Distance: 10-11 km.
Introduction: One of the great well-preserved Georgian cities in the UK, Chichester has played a key role of the affairs of Sussex since at least Roman times. Today, Chichester is the prosperous administrative capital of West Sussex and a great place for shopping, but it's hard to avoid Chichester's links to its illustrious past. Chichester city centre's broad streets are packed with listed buildings, headed by the Chichester Cathedral, now home to a family of peregrine falcons who can be heard as they swoop over the city at dusk. The pedestrianised city centre is neatly enclosed within the ancient city walls and this helps to make Chichester compact and pleasant to explore on foot. There are plenty of good shops in Chichester and the city serves as the main shopping centre for an extensive hinterland which stretches right up towards the north of West Sussex. Chichester lies between two areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - the South Downs and Chichester Harbour - as well as other nature reserves, stunning beaches and dramatic coastline to the south.
Our Chichester Itinerary:
It is about half a mile from the station to the Cathedral and will take an average of 10 minutes to walk the route. From the station we head east on Station Approach toward Stockbridge Rd, which, quickly, changes to Southgate Rd. Turn left and slight left along Stockbridge Rd/ Southgate for 150 m. Continue onto South St for 160 m. From the distance we see the ancient Cross. Turn left onto Canon Ln and (under two arches and a brown sign "Cathedral Entrance"). walk along this narrow lane for 125 m. You see the Cathedral on your right:
For 900 years Chichester Cathedral has stood at the heart of Chichester. Its architecture has spanning the centuries; ranging from original Norman features to the magnificent Victorian Spire. The Cathedral is especially famous for its art, both ancient and modern, with medieval carvings alongside world famous 20th Century artworks !
Opposite the cathedral entrance stands a larger than life-size statue of a cloaked St. Richard (by Philip Jackson) standing on a cubular plinth. The left hand is holding a scourge, a symbol of self-discipline and the outstretched right arm is extending through the opening of the cloak. The right hand depicts the sign of a blessing. St. Richard was the first Bishop of Chichester. On his death, his heart was buried in Dover and his body taken back to Chichester. Three years later he was canonized on 22 January 1262. On 16 June 1276, in the presence of King Edward I, Queen Eleanor, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops, and a great crowd of people, his body was moved to the shrine behind the high altar (see below) where it became a place of pilgrimage and prayer for the people of Sussex:
The Cathedral is open every day and all year with free entry. The glorious architecture, art, memorials and other treasures here deserve, at least, two hours of one's time. Free guided tours take place Monday to Saturday at 11.15 and 14.30. Many events like exhibitions, talks, lunchtime and evening concerts, and a superb Cloisters Café and Shop. The Cathedral is in great condition and its grounds and interiors are well maintained. This is a beautifully restored building which is a pleasure to visit. Very splendid and enjoyable place to visit. Lovely, quiet atmosphere with plenty of history. The cathedral volunteers who are greeting you on entering the Cathedral are friendly, welcoming and helpful. They are so knowledgeable and make your visit a wonderful experience. The Chichester Cathedral is a bit different than other churches around Europe and the UK: The exhibits inside are a bit odd for a church a mix of haunting sculptures, even the alter piece is very modern. It is also unusual that such an attraction is free of charge. Being a bit more modern the church offers, as well, concerts, talks and educational events. If you are lucky - you can sample the Cathedral when the choir is practicing. An heavenly music which sends shivers down your spine... It isn't one of the largest, best known or most visited of medieval cathedrals. It is smaller than the Canterbury or York cathedrals. Chichester is also small for a Norman cathedral when compared to Winchester, Ely and Peterborough cathedrals. Open: every day from 7.15 - 18.30 (MON- SAT) and from 7.15 - 17.00 (SUN). Photography and filming can take place in the Cathedral. Chichester Cathedral was founded as a cathedral in 1075, when the seat of the bishop was moved from Selsey. The Cathedral has architecture in both the Norman and the Gothic styles. It has two architectural features that are unique among England's medieval cathedrals - a free-standing medieval bell tower (or campanile) and double aisles:
20. Entrance & Donations to Cathedral. 1. The Baptistry. 2. The Chapel of
St George. 3. The Chapel of St Clement. 4. The Arundel Screen. 5. The South Transept. 6. Romanesque Sculptures. 7. Piper Tapestry. 9. Site of the Shrine of St Richard. 11. Christ in Judgement. 8. Graham Sutherland Painting. 10. Lady Chapel. 12. Chapel of St John the Baptist. 13. The Marc Chagall Window. 14. The Treasury. 15. The North Transept. 16. Gustav Holst Memorial. 17. Arundel Tomb. 18. Visitors’ Exhibition. 19. The Chapel of St Michael. 21. Cloisters, Café and Shop.
The Cathedral is 123m in length and 48m in width, its spire is 84.5m in height:
The Cathedral History: Chichester cathedral's roots lie way back in 681, when Saint Wilfred came charging into Sussex to spread the word about Christianity, establishing a Cathedral in the small community of Selsey, south of Chichester. After the Norman invasion of 1066, it was decreed that cathedrals should be shunted from small communities into the big centres of population, resulting in construction of the current cathedral, starting in 1076. Built in the heart of the former Roman town, the cathedral was completed in 1108, only to suffer a major fire in 1114. Despite being restored and extended westwards by Bishop Luffa, another hefty fire in 1187 completely destroyed the timber roof and caused major damage to the arcade stonework. New naves added during the thirteenth century made Chichester one of the widest English cathedrals, with a fourteenth century extension of the Lady Chapel showing off windows in the 'decorated' style. Bishop John Langton rocked up 1315 and rebuilt the south wall of the south transept, while fifteenth century additions saw the building of cloisters enclosing the south transept, the detached bell-tower - the only one of its kind left in England - and a much-admired spire. The cathedral suffered a right trashing during the Reformation, with brasses removed from memorials, stone figures and carvings defaced and the shrine of St Richard totally destroyed. After years of neglect, Dean George Chandler set about restoring the Cathedral in the 1840s, with his successor, Dean Walter Farquar Hook commissioning a replacement spire (by Sir George Gilbert Scott) after the original collapsed in 1861.
First, we head to the cloisters. The café is situated within the centre of the cathedral cloister (on your left, as you enter) and boasts a beautiful private garden, allowing customers to enjoy a magnificent view of the cathedral. There is also a stunning view of the Cathedral spire from inside through the glass roof. Open: MON - SAT: 09.00 - 17.00, SUN: 10.00 -- 16.00. Accessible toilets are available in the Cloisters Café:
View of the Cathedral from the Cloister and its Cafe':
The Baptistry sits under the south-west tower of the Cathedral and is home to the wonderful copper font which is used for baptism. Commissioned by the Dean and Chapter the font is the work of John Skelton:
St. George Chapel: Saint George is the patron saint of England and on the panel behind the chapel’s altar he is depicted as a knight in armour slaying a dragon. This is a myth. George was a soldier in the Roman army. He converted to christianity and was executed in Nicomedia in modern day Turkey on 23 April 303 AD. The chapel was restored in 1921 as a memorial chapel for the Royal Sussex Regiment. The names of about 8000 soldiers who fell in World War I are inscribed in the encased panels. A further 1,024 names from the Second World War are recorded in the Book of Remembrance by the altar:
St. George Chapel - stained Glass:
St. Clement Chapel: Pope Clement I, also known as St. Clement of Rome, was the third pope. He was martyred in about 98. The precise date of the chapel’s construction is unknown:
The nave was later divided from the choir by an elegant perpendicular screen with three arched openings, called the Arundel Screen, which was removed in the mid 19th century but reinstated in 1961:
Do not miss the huge Lambert Barnard paintings in the South Transept. Lambert Barnard (1485 - 1567) was an early Tudor painter who created Chichester Cathedral's extraordinary and unique Tudor paintings. Believed to be the largest surviving paintings of their kind, these two huge painted panels are on display in the south transept of the Cathedral. The paintings are a sophisticated piece of political theatre and propaganda, giving us a rare opportunity to imagine how Henry VIII was seen by his ordinary subjects. The paintings, of national importance, are now badly in need of stabilisation and restoration and an appeal has been launched to raise funds - £250,00 - for this important work. They are under restoration from year 2016:
South Transept's stained glasses:
In the south transept stands the Antiphoner into a window room. This liturgical service book, one of the largest in the world, was given to the Cathedral by R.J. Campbell (Chancellor 1930-46). Its origin is not known. It is probably from the 15th century. A similar manuscript is in the British Library and a fine illuminated example is in Mexico City. The five-line plainsong stave and the style of decoration suggest a Spanish or South American origin. The book begins with the Te Deum, followed by the antiphons, psalms and hymns for the office of Lauds throughout the year. Its size would enable it to be read by a number of singers at a distance. The initial illuminated page portrays St Francis and St Dominic. The book evidently belonged to an order of Dominican friars, the dedication of whose church (like that of Chichester Cathedral) seems to have been the Holy Trinity. The antiphoner was restored and rebound in
The dating of the two Romanesque reliefs at Chichester representing the Raising of Lazarus -
and Christ in the House of Martha and Mary -
depends on whether they considered post-Norman-conquest works, or typically Saxon. The approximate date of 1080, suggested by some English historians, has the merit of taking into account the Saxon as well as the French elements in this Norman work. On the other hand, several authorities believe the panels to have been executed as late as the 12th century, while yet others place them as early as the middle Saxon period.
The organ at Chichester Cathedral contains pipework by many famous English builders, including Renatus Harris, George Pike England and the Hill family:
The Shrine of St Richard, Chichester's local own Saint and a Bishop in the 13th century, was one of the most important for pilgrims to visit in the two following centuries at the height of the medieval period. It was said to be the most popular after the Shrine of St Thomas a Becket in Canterbury and Our Lady in Walsingham. In modern times people still come to the shrine area to pray and light candles. It was decided in 2011 to give more appropriate form to the area, using the backcloth of the Anglo-German Tapestry, which illustrates some of the miracles associated with Richard the saint. The tapestry is complemented by new candle stands and other items made in cast aluminium and designed by Jonathan Clarke. The beautiful Anglo-German tapestry, designed by Ursula Benker-Schirmer took three and a half years from conception to completion and is made using pure linen, silk and cotton. It was designed to harmonise with the architecture and colours of nearby windows in the Cathedral. The centre panel was woven in Germany and the two side panels at West Dean College, near Chichester. Benker-Schirmer assembled the forms as if they were rock crystal fragments. The tapestry was dedicated on 15th June 1985.
Basck side of the tapestry:
Front side of the tapestry:
The statue of Christ in Judgement (1968), by sculptor Philip Jackson, is positioned in the Retrochoir above the entrance to the Lady Chapel. The subject of the statue is the final judgement of the world by Jesus. The figure of Christ, clad in his windblown burial shrouds, leans forward from a simple throne. With his right hand he blesses and draws the gentle and good to himself and with his left hand he holds aloft a sword. Christ's hands and feet are marked with the wounds of the cross, and suspended above his head is a crown of thorns:
At the far eastern side of the cathedral there is a Graham Sutherland (1903 – 1980) painting of Jesus’ plea of ‘Noli Me Tangere’ (literally translated as ‘don’t touch me’). Jesus’ figure hangs upon this construction, his body creating a strong diagonal line pointing upwards but his gaze and gentle, yet firm, gesture downward emphasises the tension between the two figures. The form of Jesus’ raised arm is reminiscent of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam: through the most delicate part of the human body, Christ is shown to reconnect us to God:
The Lady chapel, constructed to the east of the retro-choir, is a long narrow space, with large windows in the Decorated Gothic style of the late 13th century. In the 13th century, the central tower of the cathedral was completed, the Norman apsidal eastern end rebuilt with a Lady chapel and a row of chapels added on each side of the nave, forming double aisles such as are found on many French cathedrals. So, the eastern end of the building is long by comparison with the nave, is square ended and has a projecting Lady chapel:
The chapel of St. John the Baptist projects eastward from the north aisle and flanks the westernmost bay of the Lady Chapel. Note the decoration (painting of the baptism of Christ) placed above the altar (reredos) in the St. John the Baptist Chapel, which includes religious images. The reredos was made by Patrick Procktor.
The Marc Chagall Window, 1978 is tucked away in the north-east corner of the cathedral and cannot be seen during regular worship. WOW. Marc Chagall drew his inspiration from Jewish religious life, and especially the mystical' legendary Hassidic tradition that flourished in his home town of Vitebsk. His most famous stained glasses are in the synagogue of the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. The hospital windows and the Cathedral window are the only glass by Chagall which are predominantly red; his preferred colour was blue. To see this window lit by the incoming sun is an unforgettable experience. The window is inspired by Psalm 150, which urges its readers to 'let everything that hath breath praise the Lord':
Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
The "new" Treasury of Chichester Cathedral is, actually the formerly Chapel of the Four Virgins (Saints Catherine, Agatha, Margaret and Winifred). In 1976 the vault of the Early English style Chapel of the Four Virgins was secured and the space converted by Stefan Buzas and Alan Irvine into the Treasury in order to display the Cathedral and diocesan church plate:
The Arundel Tomb in the north aisle of Chichester Cathedral was brought from Lewes Priory after its dissolution in 1537. It is a tomb chest and on top lays the recumbent figures of Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, and his second wife, Eleanor of Lancaster. We now see a double tomb, Richard dressed in the armour of a knight of the period and Eleanor in a gown, veil and wimple. The tomb is best known today through Philip Larkin’s 1955 poem,’ An Arundel Tomb’. The final line is much quoted: ‘What will survive of us is love’:
Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone,
Their proper habits vaguely shown
As jointed armour, stiffened pleat,
And that faint hint of the absurd–
The little dogs under their feet.
Such plainess of the pre-baroque
Hardly involves the eye, until
It meets his left hand gauntlet, still
Clasped empty in the other; and
One sees, with sharp tender shock,
His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.
They would not think to lie so long.
Such faithfulness in effigy
Was just a detail friends could see:
A sculptor’s sweet comissioned grace
Thrown off in helping to prolong
The Latin names around the base.
They would not guess how early in
Their supine stationary voyage
Their air would change to soundless damage,
Turn the old tenantry away;
How soon succeeding eyes begin
To look, not read. Rigidly they
Persisted, linked, through lengths and breadths
Of time. Snow fell, undated. Light
Each summer thronged the grass. A bright
Litter of birdcalls strewed the same
Bone-riddled ground. And up the paths
The endless altered people came,
Washing at their identity.
Now, helpless in the hollow of
An unarmorial age, a trough
Of smoke in slow suspended skeins
Above their scrap of history,
Only an attitude remains:
Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone finality
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.
Gustav Holst Memorial in the North Transept: Gustav Holst (21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher:
We exit the catedral with our face to the bells tower and turn right to West St.
On our left is the Duke & Rye pub. After walking 150 m. eastward along West Street - we arrive to the Chichester Cross. Roman Chichester was built on a grid pattern. The main streets formed a cross, which remains today as North, South, East and West Streets. In the center of the town was the forum, a marketplace lined with shops and public buildings. People in Roman Chichester used cesspits and obtained their water from wells but in the streets there were drains for rainwater. Chichester Cross is an perpendicular market cross in the centre of the city of Chichester, standing at the intersection of the four principal streets (North, West, South and East streets). According to the inscription upon it, this cross was built by Edward Story, Bishop of Chichester from 1477 to 1503; but little is known for certain and the style and ornaments of the building suggest that it may date from the reign of Edward IV. In 1501 Bishop Storey erected Chichester market cross. It was built to provide a covered marketplace from which Chichester's traders could sell their wares, and as a meeting point - mainly for the poor people. An earlier wooden cross had been erected on the same site by Bishop Rede (1369-1385). The stone cross was repaired during the reign of Charles II, and at the expense of the Duke of Richmond, in 1746 and stands to this day. Until 1746 the clock on the cross was square. It was then replaced by four new clocks. Until the pedestrianisation of Chichester city centre the streets around the Cross used to be a busy highway with the main coastal road edging around the narrow gap between the Market Cross and the city centre shops. Nowadays, apart from a few buses, the centre of Chichester is more or less traffic free:
I've been in Chichester during the last day before the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016:
From the market cross head east along East Street toward Little London, 160 m. Turn left onto Little London, turn left to stay on Little London and, again, turn left to arrive to the Ox Market Centre of Arts. A calm, pleasant, sophisticated gallery, located in an old medieval church, with display areas of exhibits ranging from local groups to specified professional artists. Worth a visit of 20-30 minutes:
From the Ox Market Gallery head east toward Little London. Turn right onto Little London, turn right to stay on Little London. Turn left onto East St. Turn right onto Baffin's Ln. Turn right onto E Pallant, 160 m. Turn right onto N Pallant. You pass, on your right, the Pallant House Gallery & Bookshop, 9 North Pallant: an eclectic, independent art bookshop housed in a handsome Queen Anne house and a modern extension, working alongside Pallant House Gallery and offering new, remaindered and out of print books on Modern British Art. Inside, you find a wonderful small gallery. You will find a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and a constantly changing programme of art exhibitions. BUT, the admission price is quite hefty. A visit is strongly recommended. Open: TUE-SAT: 10.00 – 17.00, THU: 10.00 – 20.00, SUN/Bank Holidays: 11.00 – 17.00. Mondays: Closed. Prices: Adults: £10, Children (Up to 16 yrs) Free, Students (with NUS card) Free, Students (with University ID card) £5:
Head south on North Pallant, 160 m. Turn right onto Theatre Ln, turn left onto South St. In this intersection - you find the The Fat Fig Restaurant, 42 South Street (see Tip below).
Head back north on South St toward Theatre Ln, 320 m. Turn right, turn left and 320 m. further - you see, on your ledt, at 22-23 North Street, The Butter Market. The Market House (Butter Market) in North Street was built in 1808 by John Nash to provide accommodation for small traders who had previously traded at the Market Cross. From that year it was illegal to sell any fresh food except in the Butter Market. A second storey was added in 1900 to provide a technical institute and art school, and at one time housed Chichester Art School. It is now an arcade of shops:
We trace our steps back and change direction - heading to Chichester Canal. Head south along North Street, 320 m. Pass the Cross. Turn right toward South St, turn left onto South St for 320 m. Continue onto Southgate Street for another 320 m. A brown sign pointing "Chichester canal". Turn left onto Canal Wharf, turn right and you see the Richmond Pub, 9 Stockbridge Road on your right. We are in Chichester Canal Basin. A beautiful, accessible retreat close to the city, sometimes described as the “green lung” of Chichester. The Chichester Canal is a navigable canal in England. It runs 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from the sea at Birdham on Chichester Harbour to Chichester through two locks. Chichester Canal is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI). What is known today as the Chichester Canal is in fact part of the former Portsmouth & Arundel Canal. This was opened in 1823 and consisted of a 12-mile canal from Ford on the River Arun to Salterns and a shorter cut from Langstone Harbour to Portsmouth Harbour, connected together by a 13-mile ‘bargeway’ through the natural harbours and channels between them. A 1.5 mile branch led from Hunston on the main line of the canal to a basin in Chichester. This and the short connecting length of the main line from Salterns to Hunston were built to a larger gauge and equipped with iron swingbridges to enable coastal ships of over 100 tons to reach Chichester. This was the only part of the canal that enjoyed even a modest success, bringing in building materials and coal, and taking away manure. It carried trade until 1906, while the rest of the canal had been unused since the 1840s and fallen derelict soon after. Transferred to the City Council in 1892 (who in turn sold it to West Sussex County Council in 1957), the surviving four miles were abandoned in 1928. The entrance lock and a short length at Salterns were retained as yacht moorings prior to the building of Chichester Marina alongside; the lock is still capable of operation and a number of houseboats are moored on this length. The remainder of the route to Chichester was leased to the local angling club and gradually silted up over the following half-century. Two main road bridges were replaced by unnavigable culverts. In the late 1970s the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal Society was formed with the aim of restoring the canal. They changed their name to Chichester Canal Society (and more recently to Chichester Ship Canal Trust) to reflect this. Along the years of volunteering work - it was, at last, in year 2002, getting beyond the capabilities of the volunteers (mainly, due to the presence of water voles). The canal centre is closed until the 1st of February 2017. You can still book boat trips (1 and a half hours trip) online: email@example.com. There are, presently, two boats which ply the two mile section of the canal between the Basin and Donnington; a beautiful stretch with excellent views and prolific wildlife. Both boats can accommodate disabled passengers. We'll make part of this section on foot. The whole Chichester Ship Canal passes through 4 miles of open farmland from the Basin to Chichester Harbour at Birdham. Since its abandonment in 1906 it has been relatively undisturbed and has acquired a rich wildlife associated with its mosaic of open water, marginal vegetation, banks and bordering hedgerows. The towpath is part of the Lipchis Way. Cycling is permitted. The path connects with the Bill Way at Hunston and Salterns Way at Birdham, which are long-distance cycle routes to the sea. There are (non-manned) information boards along the canal and also historical remains of the original navigation, including Poyntz Bridge (see below) near the basin and the Selsey tramway abutment at Hunston. There are also several benches along the towpath to sit and appreciate the peace and quiet of the canal and to watch the wildlife. The canal forms an important aquatic and terrestrial wildlife corridor. It links areas of semi-natural habitat between Chichester Harbour and local gravel pits. One of the most beautiful views on the canal is from Hunston Bridge towards Chichester. This view of the canal against a backdrop of the Cathedral and the Downs was painted by JMW Turner in 1828 as 'Chichester Canal' painting. You can get refreshments at each end of towpath from the Canal Centre at the Basin or the Boathouse at the Marina. Or take a break half way at the Blacksmiths Arms at Donnington or the Spotted Cow at Hunston. The whole route towpath is well signed and there are maps available. We'll make only short off-road section on foot. Even if it is raining - you can walk along the towpath. It does not become muddy. The views along the way are stunning. It's all on the flat so suitable for all ages.
Southgate basin at the Chichester end is a BEAUTIFUL spot. It is dotted with butterflies sculptures. You'll see more sculptures along the canal:
Now we walk along the Chichester Canal. Spectacular views of Chichester and the surrounding areas:
180 m. further south of the Canal Basin - we meet the Poyntz Bridge: a single span 1820 cast iron swing bridge, It was named after WS Poyntz of Cowdray who was a prominent shareholder in the canal company:
If you look backward - you see the mighty Chichester Cathedral spire:
More pictures of the canal towpath:
After approx. 800 m. from the canal basin - yo see wooden stairs on your right -
leading to Chichester Bypass, and, later (westward) to the Stockbridge Roundabout. From the roundabout continue along Stockbridge road to the NORTH (with your back to the canal - to the RIGHT). 500 m. north from the roundabout - you see, on your left the Stockbridge Students Village, the Nando's restaurant and the whole Chichester Gate Leisure Park (Cineworld Multiplex cinema - ten screens, Lakeside Superbowl Ten pin bowling leisure complex, The Live Lounge - Chichester's largest live music and entertainment venue, KFC Drive, Domino's Pizza, Frankie & Benny's New York - Italian Restaurant and Bar, The Gatehouse Lloyds No.1 Bar - Wetherspoon, McDonald's Eat in and drive thru' burger restaurant, Fortune Inn - All you can eat for a fixed price, Premier Travel Inn Hotel, Nuffield Health - Chichester's premier health and fitness club,
Nando's Restaurant, Mucho Burrito. The Stockbridge Street continues northward as Southgate, and, later, as South Street.In case, you want to give up the walls - turn left (west) onto Cannon Ln and walk along this lane until its end in the Bishop's Palace Gardens).
Continue walking northward along South street. Pass, again, the Chichester Cross, continue along the North Street. Walk 500 m. along North Street (Chichester Library is on your left) until you meet the North Walls Road on your left. Turn left onto the N Walls road. On your left you see the Chichester Cathedral spires. On your right are the Chichester Walls. The historic City of Chichester dates from Roman times. The Roman walls and streets define the shape of the town. They date back to the third century AD. Today the Walls we see are medieval but built on the Roman foundations. They still can be walked after nearly two thousand years. It is 1800 years since the walls and gates were first built around the Roman town of Noviomagus Reginorum. There were 3 reasons for building the walls around Chichester: they were to defend the town and control trade but their principle purpose was to demonstrate status. Today they are the most intact circuit of Roman town defences in Southern England. More than 80% of the original structure has withstood the test of time. The wall of Chichester is one of those places that make us travel back in time, the old structure contrasts with the everyday life of the city. The walk around sections of the wall is very nice and interesting, in the late afternoon the view is even more beautiful, yielding beautiful pictures. Different views of Chichester may be attained with some great sunsets:
On your left is the extensive Priory Park. Inside you can explore sections of the Roman walls. Great playing area for kids plus a great cafe. In the summer there is cricket being played here.
The N Walls road slights left, but, before it slights - turn left onto Tower St, 160 m., turn left toward St Richard's Walk, take the stairs, turn right onto St Richard's Walk (the Cathedral is on our left), turn right onto Canon Ln (we've been here in the start of our daily route). Continuing westward along Cannon Ln - we see opposite us the walled Bishop's Palace Gardens. This is the best place to end your day of walk. A wonderful surprise and well worth a visit. Beautifully tended, lots of flower types, many benches available and some pretty water features. Free to visit. A place of peace and tranquility with wonderful views of the Cathedral:
From the Bishop's Palace Garden, 4 Canon Lane - we head back east on Canon Ln toward St Richard's Walk, 160 m. Turn right onto South St, 160 m. Continue onto Southgate for 160 m. Turn right onto Station Approach
and Chichester Station will be on the left.
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). 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:
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...:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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:
Woman Dreaming Escape:
Woman and Bird in Night:
Woman and Bird in Sunrise:
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:
Mont Roig Village:
Chapel of Sant Joan d'Horta:
Lovers Playing with Almond Blossom:
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.