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  • Citywalk | France
    Updated at Jun 5,2017

    Tip 2: From Pont de l'Alma to Pont de Bir-Hakeim:

    Tip 2 Main Attractions: Palais de Tokyo, Jardins du Trocadéro, Pont d'Iéna, Pont de Bir-Hakeim.

    From Pont de l'Alma we head westward along the Seine river (Avenue de New York).  This avenue was formerly named Quai Debilly and later Avenue de Tokio (from 1918 to 1945). The name Palais de Tokyo derives from the name of this street. 300 m. further, from the bridge, we see the Palais de Tokyo on our right. The Palais de Tokyo (Palace of Tokyo), 13 avenue du Président-Wilson (near the Trocadéro) is a centre dedicated to modern and contemporary art. With your face to the complex (and your back to the river Seine) - the right (eastern) wing of the building hosts the Musée d'Art Moderne (Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris). The left (western) wing hosts the Palais de Tokyo / Site de création contemporaine, the largest museum in France dedicated to temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. Closest Metro station: Alma / Marceau. OPen: 12.00 - 24.00 (!) everyday except Tuesdays. Price: 12€, Concessions: 9€. Under 18, it's free. It is a mind-blowing site for lovers of modern art. Before you arrive to the Palace of Tokyo - get updated about the current exihibitions running in this centre. In our visit - there were NO significant exhibitions. The exhibition of Abraham Poincheval, had ended at 08.05.2017. if there is a good temporary art expo inside, most chances it as it is a good art. Many people state that it is the most trendy museum in Paris:

    From the terrace of the palace and from both of  the buildings, of the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, You have a beautiful view on the Eiffel Tower. More or less, the same view - you see from the Port Debilly which extends along the Seine - when we walk further south-west along the right (north) bank of the Seine:

    Port Debilly and Tour Eiffel:

    700 m. from the Palais de Tokyo (now, our direction is south-west) we arrive to the Jardins du Trocadéro.  The Gardens of the Trocadero are  bounded to the northwest by the Palais de Chaillot and to the southeast by the Seine and the Pont d'Iéna, with the Eiffel Tower on the opposite (left) bank of the Seine. The gardens are situated in the hill of the Trocadéro which is the hill of Chaillot, a former village. Today the square is officially named Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre or Place de Varsevie (Warsaw Square), although it is usually simply called the Place du Trocadéro. It was created for the International Exposition dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life which was held from 25 May to 25 November 1937 in Paris. The building on the north end is called Chaillot Palace (Palais de Chaillot). Closest Metro stations: Trocadero (lines 6 and 9).

    The hill of Chaillot was first prepared for the 1867 World's Fair. For the 1878 World's Fair, the Palais du Trocadéro was built here  - where meetings of international organizations could be held during the fair. The palace's consisted of two wings and two towers. Below the palace building in the space left by former underground quarries, a large aquarium was built to contain fish of French rivers. It was renovated in 1937 but closed again for renovation from 1985 until May 22, 2006.

    The space between the palais and the Seine is set with gardens, amusement parks, several snacks stalls and an array of fountains:

    The main attraction, here, is the Fountain of Warsaw (Fontaine de Varsovie), a long water mirror, with twelve fountain creating columns of water, twenty four smaller fountains and ten arches of water. At one end, facing the Seine, are twenty powerful water cannons, able to project a jet of water fifty metres. In 2011, the fountain's waterworks were completely renovated and a modern pumping system was installed. It is a remarkable water display, especially on summer evenings when the illuminations around the fountains add to the attraction. Note: fountains are NOT always on. Beautiful trees, quiet walkways and bridges over small streams make it a romantic place to take a stroll. Climb the hill and take a seat on the steps, especially at night when the Tower is lit up. Don't miss the experience in the evening or the dark. Stunning !!! Open 24/7:

    LA Joie de vivre, by Léon-Ernest Drivier:


    Like in the Palais de Tokyo - the view from the terrace of Palais de Chaillot - is wonderful. It is one of the best spots for taking the unmissable photo of the Eiffel tower:

    The Trocadero Gardens are facing (in the south) another bridge on the Seine: Pont d'Iéna. Pont d'Iéna ("Jena Bridge") links the Eiffel Tower on the Left Bank to the district of Trocadéro on the Right Bank. In 1807, Napoleon I ordered, by an imperial decree issued in Warsaw, the construction of a bridge overlooking the Military School, and named the bridge after his victory in 1806 at the Battle of Jena. The construction of the bridge spanned six years from 1808 to 1814.Closest Métro station: Iéna. The bridge is VERY busy with traffic - but, still, provides inspiring views of Tour Eiffel. Note: because of the increased security to protect  the Eiffel Tower this has pushed sellers and seedy elements, who populate every meter of the bridge:

    Two sculptures are sitting on the bridge by the right bank: a Gallic warrior by Antoine-Augustin Préault and a Roman warrior by Louis-Joseph Daumas:

    Further walking south to Pont d'Iéna, still along Port Debilly,  provides magnificent views of Tour Eiffel:

    The way from Pont d'Iéna to Pont de Bir-Hakeim is a bit dangerous. There might be construction works along Avenue de New York. The constructors forgot about the pedestrians in this area. Crossing the avenue, in several sections, is VERY dangerous (no cross-lights). You are supposedd to raise your hand, halt the noisy and bustling transportation YOURSELF - and cross the avenue from one side to the opposite side, slowly and cautiously. Do not give up and skip Pont de Bir-Hakeim. It provides wonderful sights of Tour Eiffel and of the Seine river from every spot along its pedestrianized spaces. Linking the 15th and 16th arrondissements and crossing the artificial island, the Île aux Cygnes in the middle of la Seine, the Pont de Bir-Hakeim crosses the river just downstream from the Tour Eiffel. Pont de Bir-Hakeim was constructed between 1903 and 1905, replacing an earlier bridge that had been erected in 1878. It was designed by the architect Jean-Camille Formigé, who also designed the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur. The green-painted bridge has two levels: one for motor vehicles and pedestrians, and a viaduct (the "viaduc de Passy") above, through which passes Line 6 of the Paris Métro. The railway viaduct is supported by grey-painted metal colonnades, except where it passes over the île aux Cygnes, where it rests on a masonry arch:

    The monumental stone arch across the tip of the Île aux Cygnes:

    the central arch of the viaduct, at the level of the island, is decorated with four monumental stone statues in high-relief: figures of Science and Labor by Jules-Felix Coutan, and Electricity and Commerce by Jean Antoine Injalbert:

    Looking from Pont de Bir-Hakeim, from the upstream tip of the Île aux Cygnes, towards Parc de Passy:

  • Citywalk | Spain
    Updated at Sep 7,2017

    Tip 3: Eurostars Gran Valencia:

    Overall, a great stay ! Great location. Easy connections with all parts of Valencia through Metro and buses. The hotel overlooks a grandiose square and located near a  wonderful tree-lined avenue. Several quality restaurants around (5-10 minutes walk).  Fantastic 360 degrees views from the high floors' rooms. Generous, big rooms with very comfy beds. Good breakfasts. Polite and helpful staff members.

  • Citywalk | Spain
    Updated at Sep 14,2017

    The Old City of Valencia- Ciutat Vella.

    Tip 1: From Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim to Plaça del Mercat.

    Main Attractions: Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim, Puerta del Mar, Iglesia del Patriarca, Palau del Marqués de Dosaigües (Ceramics Museum), Iglesia de SantoTomás Apostol y San Felipe Neri, Iglesia San Juan del Hospital, Plaça de la Reina, Valencia Cathedral, Santa Catalina Church, Place Redonda, Plaça del Mercat.

    Tip 2: From Plaça del Mercat to Plaça de l'Almoina (see tip 2 below).

    Start of the day: Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim, End of the day: Plaça de l'Almoina.

    We start at Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim. This beautiful square is, also known as El Parterre. It is located at the border between the quarters of San Francisco and Xerea , in the Ciutat Vella district. To the north it borders with the gardens of the Glorieta and the street of Carrer de la Pau (La Paz) ; to the south is Carrer del Pintor Sorrolla. The square is dominated by, a statue of Jaume el Conqueridor (James the Conqueror) , sculpted by Agapit Vallmitjana which stands in the middle of the square.

    Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim in the afternoon:Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim in the morning: 

    From Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim we shall walk eastward along Carrer del Palau de Justícia when the Tribunal Superior de Justicia Sala Civil y Penal is on our right (south) and La Glorieta garden is on our left. La Glorieta garden is home to monuments dedicated to famous Valencian personalities. The most important sculpture of the garden is the Triton, work inspired by a similar one of Bernini:

    The square of Alfonso the Magnanimous and the Palace of Justice are the southern border of the Ciutat Vella of Valencia. We advance along Carrer del Palau de Justícia to the Plaza del Marand Porta de la Mar which are the most eastern edge of the Ciutat Vella. The Plaça de la Porta de la Mar connect with SIX main streets in Valencia - all are outside the Ciutat Vella.

    The current Puerta del Mar, which is actually the Monument to the Fallen during the Spanish Civil War, is a reproduction of the old Puerta del Real, which rose a short distance, opening the way to the now defunct Royal Palace. It was designed by the Valencian architect Javier Goerlich Lleó,  who in 1931 was appointed major architect of the city of Valencia, as a monument to the fallen. It still retains the cross in its main arch, but the plaque in tribute to Generalismo Francisco Franco has been covered.

    It has three bays. The central one is higher and culminates in an arc of half point, whereas the lateral ones, of smaller height, are lined. On these there are four reliefs of the sculptor Vicente Navarro Romero , who represent "The value", "The Abnegation", "The Peace" and "The Glory" ("Valor", "La Abnegación", "La Paz" and "La Gloria").

    The original door had been opened on the wall in 1356. Reformed several times, the last in neoclassical style in 1843, and finally demolished with the rest of the wall. This door is the one that can be seen in the engravings of Alfred Guesdon .

    We change direction and return westward. We'll try to return to the Plaça del Collegio del Patriarca - just to take part in the morning service or, even, in the guided (or free) tour (see our blog on the City of Arts and Sciences - Tip 2). Head northwest on Plaça de la Porta de la Mar toward Carrer del General Palanca. Cross the Glorita Garden and Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim from east to west. Turn left onto Carrer del Verger, 65 m.
    Turn right onto Carrer de Bonaire, 15 m. Turn left onto Carrer de la Tertúlia, 40 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Vestuari, 75 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Nau, 100 m to enter the Iglesia del  Patriarca on your right.

    From the Iglesia Del Patriarca we head north on Carrer de la Creu Nova toward Carrer de les Dames, 110 m. We turn left onto Carrer de la Pau
    100 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Marquès de Dos Aigües and the Palau del Marqués de Dosaigües is on your right after 30 m. The Palau del Marqués de Dosaigües is one of the most significant buildings in the Baroque and Rococo city ​​of the city of Valencia and home of the Ceramics Museum . The space in which it is located is believed that was probably originally the field intended to a Roman necropolis of the 1st and 3rd centuries, due to the findings in one of its courtyards. The palace dates also far back as 15th century, although it has been fully re-shaped since then. Home to a Valencian noble family - the Marquis de Dos Aguas, it was originally a Gothic building. In 1740 it was re-shaped to Baroque by Hipolito Rovira, and it is then that the famous entrance was added. The last modification took place in 1850s-60s, when the entire facade was redesigned to a hybrid of newer elements. In 1949 the palace was bought by the Ministry of Education to house the collection of ceramics donated by Dr. Gonzalez Marti.This mansion that was of the Marqueses of Dos Aguas, is currently owned by the Spanish State, where is installed the González Martí National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts. The palace combines neo-classical, rococco and oriental elements. The unbelievable Baroque entrance to the building never fails to impress the visitors. The rich ornament of the building is enough incentive to come here. The exterior of this palace is an extraordinary. Price: 3 euros.

    Inside, however, more marvel awaits you - the fully furbished interior of the palace and the best of ceramics that Valencia had to offer through the centuries. Two upper floors are devoted to ceramics. Valencia claims to have been a centre for the production of pottery and earthenware in the middle ages and beyond. The focus starts with Roman artifacts. It moves to the Moorish period and early Christian. Then, century by century from 15th through 20th. The first floor is a palace, fully furnished. Several rooms are stunning. Some public rooms and bedrooms are beautifully preserved. Phenomenal ceilings. Luxurious floor and wall coverings. Beautiful period furniture all bear witness to the immense wealth of the family. There is also an interesting reproduction of a 19th century, below-stairs kitchen. A really beautiful place. The staff are very relaxed and there is some information in English. Well worth a visit. Allow about 60-90 minutes.

    Old Carriages in the Ceramics Museum:

    Dormitorio del Marques in the Ceramics Museum:

    Floor 1 - Sala Roja:

    Ceiling of Sala Roja:

    Floor 1 - Sala Pompeyana:

    Floor 1 - Salon de Barli:

    Floor 1 - Ceiling of Salon de Barli:

    Ceramics Panels in the Palace Balcon:

    Floor 1 - Fumoir:

    Floor 1 - A picture in Sala Gotica:

    Floor 2 - Ceramica Panels:

    Floor 2 - Ceramics:

    Head north on Carrer del Marquès de Dos Aigües toward Carrer de la Pau, 30 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Pau, 40 m. Turn right onto Carrer de Ruiz de Lihory, 45 m. In the corner of C. del Mar and C. de Lihory resides an interesting store of textile - Indumentaria Dos Aguas:

    From the intersection of C. del Mar and C. de Lihory - continue east on Carrer del Mar toward Carrer de Sant Cristòfol, 95 m. At Plaça de Sant Vicent Ferrer, take the 2nd exit onto Carrer del Comte de Montornés, 95 m. to face the Iglesia de Santo Tomás Apostol y San Felipe Neri. This church is also known as "The Congregation". It was built in 1725 and it stands out for the simplicity of its design. The church's architectural model corresponds to and resembles the "Il Gesú" church in Rome. It consists of a central nave divided into three parts and various side chapels. It really is an interesting church to visit, though you may do so only during masses services: MON-SAT: 09.00, 10.30, 19.30 20.30, SUN:  09.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 19.00.

    From Plaça de Sant Vicent Ferrer we walk northward along Calle Trinquete de Caballero and at #5 we se, on our left the Iglesia San Juan del Hospital. San Juan del Hospital Church is one of the oldest churches in Valencia. It was built in the 13th century on land donated by Jaime I to the Military Order of the Knights: the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem (now Order of Malta). The king also built a hospital, a convent and a cemetery. It is a building that mainly combines Romanesque, Valencian and Baroque Gothic style. The church, built around 1261, as a Baroque-style building, has a single nave covered with a pointed barrel vault.

    North Door:

    Inside, you may contemplate the magnificent chapel of Santa Barbara, where are the remains of Constanza Augusta, Empress of Greece, and other chapels with painted murals from the Gothic period, discovered recently:


    350 m. walk further west will bring us to Placa de la Reina. Head south on Carrer del Trinquet de Cavallers toward Plaça de Sant Vicent Ferrer, 55 m. At Plaça de Sant Vicent Ferrer, take the 1st exit onto Carrer del Mar
    260 m. Turn right onto Plaça de la Reina. Plaza de la Reina is one of the oldest and busiest plazas in Valencia and the city’s epic centre and beating heart. It is situated in the heart of the Ciutat Vella. and marks the Kilometer 0. It is NOT the usual picturesque Spanish square you’re probably expecting to see, but is an excellent base for exploring the city.

    It is bounded by the Cathedral and its bell tower (the Miquelet) in the north,

    and Plaza Santa Catalina with its charming Iglesia de Santa Catalina and its impressive towerin the south west:

    The center of the PLaca de la Reina plays host to a small patch filled with flowers and benches, where visitors can take a break and watch the world go by:

    The busy plaza is filled with restaurants and bars. Good area to walk around or stop for a bite to eat or drink. Taxis and buses hog the road. A small park has market stalls with tourist fare. A lot of hassle and bustle. Noting in the square itself is impressive. The square is lined with an excellent selection of cafes, terraces, and restaurants, including one of the oldest (200 years old) and most renowned cafeterias in Valencia (Horchateria de Santa Catalina).

    Valencia Cathedral (Valencian: Església Catedral-Basílica Metropolitana de l'Assumpció de la Nostra Senyora de València) was consecrated in 1238. It was built over the site of the former Visigothic cathedral, which under the Moors had been turned into a mosque. The Valencian Gothic is the predominant architectural style of the cathedral, although it also contains Romanesque, French Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Classical elements. Variety of architectural styles, from the Romanesque to the Baroque, can be reflected inn the three main doors of the cathedral. The main door, or Puerta de los Hierros ("Door of the Irons"), is Baroque:

    The Puerta de los Apóstoles is Gothic:

    The Puerta del Palau is Romanesque:

    The Miguelete belfry was built in the 13th and 14th centuries and was designed by Andrés Juliá Torre; it is octagonal, 50.85m high and built in a markedly Baroque style, next to the main entrance.

    Bell Tower, "Micalet" or "Miquelet":

    There is a spiral stairway inside (207 stairs) that leads to the terrace, where there are views of the city, the countryside and the sea:

    Opening hours: NOV-MAR: MON - SAT: 10.00 - 17.30 pm. Sundays - closewd. APR - OCT: MON - SAT: 10.00 - 18.30, SUN: 14.00 - 18.30. During April, May and September closing time is 17.30 on weekends due to the 18.00 Mass at the Main Altar. Prices: €7- adult, €4 - groups members, €5.50 - pensioners, disabled people and children up to 12 years old. Try to come after closing time and the Cathedral is often still open and FREE. Come on Sundays when it is open and FREE. DO NOT walk around during Mass times !

    Inside, the cathedral contains numerous 15th-century paintings, some by local artists (such as Jacomart), others by artists from Rome engaged by the Valencian Pope Alexander VI who, when still a cardinal, made the request to upgrade the Valencian See to the rank of metropolitan see, a category granted by Pope Innocent VIII in 1492. The Santo Cáliz Chapel, the old Sala Capitular y de Estudios (1356) was originally a Chapter House and study and was separate from the cathedral. The Holy Chalice that according to tradition was used by Christ during the last Supper is kept inside. The "Obra Nova" or "Balconets de Cabildo" were built over three floors next to the cathedral dome and they dominate the Plaza de la Virgen. It was a renaissance work of a triple serlienne arcade.

    Dome of the Cathedral of Valencia:

    The Nave:

    The chapel of the Holy Grail (Chalice) is almost in the end of the guided tour (no. 16 ?). The Chapel of the Holy Chalice is in the south-east corner of the cathedral. It was built by Bishop Vidal de Blanes in the 14th century to serve as a chapter house and burial place for bishops and monks.It was also intended to hold theology classes. It is three metres square and 16 metres high. Note the magnificent cross ribs in the shape of a star on its ceiling:

    The Holy Grail (Santo Caliz) is believed to had been left in the house where the Last Supper took place - a house belonging to the family of St Mark the Evangelists, who later took it to Rome when he went to serve as an interpreter for St Peter. Passed on within the church and used as Papal Chalice, the relic was shipped out of Rome in 3rd century by St Lawrence, in anticipation of a persecution. It was taken out of Rome in the hands of a Spanish soldier to Huesca, Spain. During the Muslim occupation of the Iberic peninsula, the Grail went into hiding and later re-emerged in various Spanish monasteries and cathedrals. The Kings of Spain looked after it, on occasions taking it into their treasuries or palaces, until it was finally presented to the Valencia Cathedral in XV century, where it remained ever since. It briefly left the Cathedral only twice, both times during the 1930s Civil War, for fears of plunder. The Holy Grail (Chalice) of Valencia arouses feelings of admiration and skepticism at the same time. The visitor feels captivated by the beauty of the Grail, its perfect and exceptional shape, the details in gold, the pearls and the precious gems. The observer comes with the mind full of legends, films, even warned by the novels and pseudo-scientific literature. It was the official papal chalice for many popes, and has been used by many others, most recently by Pope Benedict XVI, on July 9, 2006. Most Christian historians all over the world declare that all their evidence points to this Valencian grail/chalice as the most likely candidate for being the authentic cup used at the Last Supper. But, is this grail of medieval appearance the grail of the Last Supper ? The Holy Chalice of the Gospels got mixed up with medieval pursuits of a “Holy Grail” around the time of 13th century Arthurian legends. The “grail” was considered, in different tales, as either a bowl or dish, a platter, or sometimes even just a stone. It was said to have mystical powers of spiritual or material abundance, grace, or eternal youth, and stories of the grail were eventually grafted onto the goblet of the Bible. The Holy Chalice became the Holy Grail, and vice versa. One fact is doubtless: it is difficult to see and take photos of the Holy Grail itself, its details and to step close to this sensational artifact: it is guarded behind glass and, frequently, attracts crowds of visitors around:

    Main Chapel, Valencia Cathedral, Valencia:

    The Valencia Cathedral is situated in the north side of Placa de la Reina. We shall cross the square from north to south.

    The Cathedral Bell Tower (Micalet) - a view from the centre of the square:

    The south side of Placa de la Reina is dominated by the Santa Catalina Church which is one of the oldest in Valencia. The church dates from the Middle Ages (13th century, probably from year 1239), and is built on the site of a former mosque. It is the only Gothic church in the city with a retrochoir in the transept, the same as you will find in the Cathedral. A large part of the building was rebuilt in the 16th century after being destroyed by a fire. The eighteenth century Baroque tower housing the belfry is possibly the most notable element, standing out from the rest of the building. The bell tower, for its part, is in Baroque style. It dates from the 17th century and is the monument's most outstanding feature. It is hexagonal, with five levels, and is topped by a niche and a small dome. The two bell towers: THe Cathedral's Micalet and the Santa Catalina one are, according to popular legend, husband and wife. Open: daily 11.00 - 13.00. FREE:

    The church is composed of three naves with side chapels, crosspiece domes and the apse which includes a chapel. Part of its Baroque decor had lost during the Civilians War:

    Inside, we have, basically, genuine Old Gothic space with coloured windows:

    Santa Catalina Tower marks the entrance to the well-known Mercat neighbourhood:

    The square west to Santa Catalina church is Plaza de Santa Catalina (Plaça de Santa Caterina). Here resides Horchateria Santa Catalina: lovely Valencian cafe, not what you would expect from the modest outside. A great place to try local specialities - horchata with fartons (a sweet, Valencian drink made from pressed chufas (type of nuts), into which you dip finger-shaped buns called fartóns). The price is approximztely €3. 

    From the Plaça de Santa Caterina head west toward Carrer dels Jofrens
    45 m. Continue onto Carrer de la Sombrerería, 40 m. Turn left onto Plaça de Lopez de la Vega, 20 m. Head southeast on Plaça de Lopez de la Vega toward Carrer del Trench, 20 m. Turn left to stay on Plaça de Lope de Vega, 5 m. You arrived to  Plaça Redona (Plaza Redonda) (The Round Square). Place Redonda (Round Square). One of Valencia’s most unique tourist attractions and most enchanting spots due to its peculiar design. Constructed by Salvador Escrig Melchor in 1840. Restored in year 2012. Surrounded by traditional craft shops and tapas bars at street level. A CHARMING SQUARE !! Many stalls that sell lace, silk, embroidery, fabrics and Valencian souvenirs (fantastic, colorful fans !), among other things. Four streets converge together into this round square to form colorful and welcoming site. You can see, from the fountain in the square's centre, a beautiful view of the bell tower of Santa Catalina Church. It stands high over the five stories of the round tower. It was built in 1840 by Salvador Escrig and was the place for local families to come and buy their fish and meat. One of the inlets to the square is called ‘Street of fish’. It is traditionally known as ‘el clot’ which means ‘the hole’. A recent revamp includes a circular covering, creating a cool environment for shoppers to come and enjoy the shade, the history and the ancient fountain at its centre – a perfect spot for sitting in the sun:

    Head southwest on Plaza Redonda, 25 m. Turn left to stay on Plaza Redonda, 16 m. Turn right onto Carrer dels Drets, 110 m. Turn left onto Carrer d'Ercilla, 65 m. Turn right onto Plaça del Mercat (Plaza Mercado), 50 m. A beautiful square where you find the Mercado Central (Mercat Central), the central market hall in modernista style, and outdoor market, La Lonja de la Seda (presented in its own section) and beautiful buildings painted in splendid colours, some in art nouvau style. Mercado Central, built in 1914 is one of the oldest European markets still running. It was designed by the modernista architects Francesc Guàrdia i Vial and Alexandre Soler. About 400 merchants have their stalls (over 1000 according to some sources). it is very impressive and beautiful. The market is open 07.30 - 14.30. Sundays closed. At the square you also find the Gothic church Iglesia de los Santos Juanes, also known as San Juan del Mercado (St John's of the Market). The original gothic interior from the 14th century was destroyed in a terrible fire in 1552 (unfortunately it wasn't open during our visit).

    inside you can find almost whatever in the more than 1000 selling posts: fresh fish, vegetables, meat, fruit... You must go inside to feel the atmosphere of the market, and being surrounded by the smells and colours of this place. Try to visit in the morning, as early as possible...:

    This place like this makes one realize how bland the food shopping experience has become back hom:

    We ate our lunch at Galle de Oro restaurant opposite the main entrance to the market hall. Busy, quality, generous and delicious food. We found it a value for money. But, remember it is very busy:

  • Citywalk | Spain
    Updated at Sep 29,2017

    Tip 2: from Plaça del Rei and Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA) to Plaça Nova.

    Main Attractions: Museu Frederic Marès, Cathedral of Barcelona (Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia), Pont del Bisbe, Casa de l'Ardiaca, Plaça Nova.

    Our last stop in the daily itinerary in Barri Gotic of Barcelona was the Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA). We change direction and move westward towards the Barcelona Cathedral - but, we stop also in the Museu Frederic Mares in Placa Sant Lu. Head south on Carrer dels Brocaters toward Carrer de Segòvia,25 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Freneria, 35 m. Continue onto Carrer dels Comtes for 56 m. to see the entrance to Museu Frederic Marès, Plaça Sant Iu, 5. The Museu Frederic Marès in Barcelona, as the name suggests, is dedicated to showcasing the collections of its founder - Frederic Mares. He was born in 1893 and died in 1991 and obsessively collected statues and valuable atefacts of Spanish and Latin arts from the 12th to the 19th centuries. Marès donated his extensive collection and helped establish this museum in the Catalan capital until the project reached its completion in 1946. Opening hours: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 19.00, SUN: 11.00 - 20.00. Prices: adult - €4.20, concessions - 2.40, child - FREE. After 15.00 every Sunday and on the 1st SUN of every month: FREE.

    The original entrance courtyard garden has been preserved in its original form ! The shady courtyard houses a pleasant summer cafe (Cafè de l’Estiu):

    The museum is housed in a former palace of the Inquisition and, later, a royal palace of the counts of Barcelona:

    Marès gave a whole new meaning and form to the conventional concept of sculpture. As a collector, he gathered a priceless variety of Hispanic sculptures throughout his life. Pieces from the ancient world to those dated the 19th century can be seen in this collection, along with the numerous religious polychrome carvings widely displayed in the museum. NOTE: the main theme is this museum or collection is RELIGIOUS CHRISTIANITY and SACRED ART. It might be, sometimes, overwhelming some visitors !

    In the basement of the museum can be found mainly sculptures of the 3rd and 4 Century, a collection of crucifixes and statues of the Virgin Mary from the Romance and Gothic and other religious artifacts.

    On the first floor will continue this collection of works from the Baroque and the Renaissance.

    Among the most eye-catching pieces is a reconstructed Romanesque doorway with four arches, taken from a 13th-century country church in the Aragonese province of Huesca.

    You'll also find the room of Museu Sentinel, which displays objects from the bourgeois life in Barcelona in the last two centuries: handicrafts, fans, scissors, glasses, canes etc. The room is divided into two areas: goods of women of the 19th Century and the part of men: smoking pipes, handkerchiefs, playing cards and other toys and gadgets of 19th century men in Barcelona.

    When you exit Museu Frederic Marès raise your head to see the bell tower of Barcelona Cathedral - our next destination:

    From Museu Frederic Marès we head northwest across Placita de la Seu, 55 m. 

    Turn left to stay on Placita de la Seu, 20 m. On your right is the Cathedral of Barcelona (Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia), Placita de la Seu. The commonly used name La Seu refers to the status of the church as the seat of the diocese.

    The Cathedral is dedicated to Santa Eulàlia martyr, the patron saint of Barcelona. She was tortured to death in the late Roman period. The body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral's crypt under the high altar. Her feast day is always celebrated on the 12th February. The cathedral was constructed from the 13th to 15th centuries, with the principal work done in the 14th century. The Cathedral is huge with impressive dimensions (about 90 meters high and about 40 wide). FREE entry Weekdays and Saturdays from 8.00 to 12.45 and from 17.15 to 19.30. Sundays and holidays FREE entry is from 8.00 to 13.45 and from 17.15 to 19.30. Prices: Visit the choir: Single: €2,80 per person Groups: €2,50 per person. Visit the rooftops: Single: €3,00 per person Groups: €2,50 per person. Otherwise you have to pay €7 to get in. You can't go in with super short shorts/skirt or bare shoulders. Be advised though, especially for women !!! Beware of pickpockets !

    Note the neo-Gothic façade:

    During the summer months - expect to queue up for, at least, half an hour - to enter (FREE) the Cathedral:

    Breathtaking interiors. This cathedral is comforting, safe and yet majestic and impressive at the same time. The interior of the cathedral is particularly impressive in the light of dusk. There are many chapels around the periphery (28 of them if not wrong...). The high altar is raised, allowing a clear view into the crypt. High ceilings are one of the most stunning aspects of the interior of the Cathedral:

    The interior consists of an imposing nave lit by large windows dating from the 15th century. The nave is flanked by aisles, with 28 side chapels:

    The Cathedral's organ is of great artistic, liturgical and historical importance. It is inside the nave, under the bell tower, in the upper gallery over the door of Saint Ivo. It was built between 1537 and 1539 and the windchest covers are decorated with grisailles by Pedro Pablo Serafín "the Greek":

    If you would like to pray in the cathedral, you can do so in peace and undisturbed view of tourists in the first side chapel (Holy Sacrament and of the Holy Christ of Lepanto) on the right side of the main entrance. This chapel is also the largest chapel in the cathedral. It contains a cross said to date from the time of the Battle of Lepanto (1571). It was constructed by Arnau Bargués in 1407, as the chapter house. It was rebuilt in the seventeenth century to house the tomb of San Olegarius, Bishop of Barcelona and Archbishop of Tarragona:

    Icons in the Cathedral:

    The cathedral contains the tombs of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, Count Ramon Berenguer I and his third wife Almodis de la Marche, and Bishops Berenguer de Palou II, Salvador Casañas y Pagés, and Arnau de Gurb, who is buried in the Chapel of Santa Llúcia, which he had constructed. The two gravestones of the founders of the Cathedral Ramon Berenguer and his spouse Almodia are on the left hand side, right before the entrance of the cloister.

    Crypt and Tomb of Saint Eulalia:

    Tomb of Saint Raymond of Peñafort:

    Cloister of the Cathedral: The cloister, which encloses the Well of the Geese (Font de les Oques) was completed in 1448. Be sure to look at the Cloister with small chapels, gardens, fountains and group of 13 white geese walking around. There are 13 geese because they are representing Eulalia’s age when she dies in tortures. You can hear the loud cackling of the geese from the church building. The geese used to warn the Cathedral dwellers against intruders and thieves. Especially on hot summer days, the cool cloister is a joy. At the top of the garden's fountain sits a statue of Sant Jordi slaying a dragon:

    Cathedral bells tower from the Cloister:

    With the elevator you can get to the roof of the cathedral. The elevator is located in the church building on the left side in the Capella de les del Ànimes Purgatori between the nave and the apse. The roof is notable for its gargoyles, featuring a wide range of animals, both domestic and mythical:

    The view from the roof should not be missed. Rooftop visit is a must, but be prepared to have to wait for the lift to come back down:

    We exit the Cathedral of Barcelona from the main entrance in Placita de la Seu. We walk south on Placita de la Seu towards Calle del Obispo/ C. del Bisbe, 70 m. and turn left onto Calle del Obispo.

    On your left is the Carrer de la Pietat:

    C. del Bisbe x C. de la Pietat:

    After walking 100 m. along Calle del Obisp - we face Pont del Bisbe, Calle del Obispo, 1. Another name of this road is Carrer del Bisbe - meaning ‘Bishop’s street’, where you will find the stunning neo-Gothic bridge known locally as the ‘Pont del Bisbe‘ or ‘Bishop’s Bridge’. The bridge crosses the street uniting buildings on either side: the ‘Casa dels Canonges‘ (Canon’s House) and the ‘Palau de la Generalitat‘ (see above in Tip 1). The bridge was in fact constructed in 1928 by Joan Rubió i Bellver. The architect’s ambition was to construct a series of new buildings inspired by the dominant Gothic style of the area, but his project was not accepted by the government, who only approved the construction of the Bishop’s Bridge. The architect, disappointed with the decision, secretly incorporated a hidden skull with a dagger inside. Legend says anyone who crosses the bridge and sees the skull will fall prey to an evil spell.

    Carrer del Bisbe:

    RETURN back northward along Carrer del Bisbe (if you keep walking southward - you'll arrive to Placa Sant Jaume again). On your left Placa de Garriga i Bachs with the Monument to the heroes of 1809 in contrast to the predominant Gothic style of the surrounding buildings. It portrays five martyrs who were executed following an attempted uprising against the French troops during the occupation of Barcelona in 1808. The year was 1929 and Josep Llimona was commissioned to create the five bronze elements that surmount the plinth. The sculptures show the people who had been executed at the Citadel. They were accused of attempting to free Barcelona from the French forces of occupation who had made the city their stronghold during the War of the Spanish Succession. The plaque on the plinth bears the name of the insurgents:

    We walk NORTHWARD along Carrer del Bisbe.Turn right to Carrer de Santa Llúcia to see the La Casa de l'Ardiaca (Casa del Arcediano) (Archdeacon's House), Calle Santa Llúcia, 1. Here, emerges a piece of the past Roman aqueduct (see below). It houses the city of Barcelona archives. Worth popping in. it is a lovely little courtyard with a nice fountain and palm tree. Not much else to see. Stroll around the supremely serene courtyard, cooled by trees and a fountain. The fountain is the place where the locals celebrate the Corpus Christi day (60 days after Easter Sunday) and the traditional "l'ou com balla" (dancing egg ). Therefore the fountain is decorated with flowers and fruits and an egg is laid under water jet. The current House of L'Ardiaca was built in the 1400s AD by the Archdeacon Lluís Desplà, who converted the traditional 12th-century site of his residence into a Gothic palace. It was renovated by Lluis Domènech i Montaner in 1902, when the building was owned by his sponsor - a rich local lawyer. Domènech i Montaner also designed the postal slot, which is adorned with swallows and a tortoise, said to represent the swiftness of truth and the plodding pace of justice. Opposite this building - Domènech i Montaner added to the Renaissance portal a unique marble-mail box with three swallows , as well as a turtle, work of the sculptor Alfons Juyol. Opening hours:
    From SEP-JUN:: MON - FRI: 9.00 - 20.45, SAT: 9.0 - 13.00.  JUL - AUG: MON - FRI: 9.00 - 19.3. Prices: FREE entrance:

    After passing Carrer de Santa Llúcia on our RIGHT - we arrive to Plaça Nova. The origins of Barcelona's Plaça Nova can be traced back to 1358, when it was the site of the city's hay market. At the time, the locals could still see one of the four gates in the wall to the Roman city. Two circular towers flank the gate that leads into the heart of the Gothic Quarter. These are the result of renovations carried out during the 12th century, although the origins of the towers and wall can be traced back as far as the 1st century BC and, even, the 4th century AD.

    Immediately, before we face Plaça Nova, in the end of Carrer del Bisbe - we see on our right the Torres Romanes and a piece of the Aqueducto Romano - a reproduction of a fragment of the Roman aqueduct, built in 1958:

    Plaça Nova becomes a market with antique dealers every Thursday and Saturdays from 9.00 to 20.00 (Mercat Gòtic de Antiguitats):

    Festivals and Sardanas dances are held here also (Saturdays):

    It was a closed square, typically medieval, until the 1940s , when it was opened and extended - taking advantage of the remodeling due to the destruction caused by the bombings of the civil war.

    Joan Brossa's Bárcino Visual Poem and the reconstructed Roman Aqueduct:

    At number 1-2, the Baroque façade of the Palau del Bisbe (1782-1786), framed by Carrer de la Palla and the right tower of the Roman door, which opens onto Calle del Bisbe; The tower on the left, where there is a niche with the image of Sant Roc in the 16th century and the start of the reconstructed Roman Aqueduct:

    If you look across to the other side of the Plaça Nova, you'll see at number 5, the College of Architects (1958-1962), between Carrer dels Arcs and Capellans Street. The building of the Architects' Association (Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Barcelona). The most striking element is the series of  friezes around the façade. The most famous one, El Mur dels Arcs (Archs Wall), was designed by Pablo Picasso and produced by the Norwegian Carl Nesjar (1961).

    Other ones: the "children's frieze" on the façade overlooking Carrer dels Arcs:

    El fris dels Gegants (Giants Frieze) facing Plaça Nova:

    and the "frieze of the Catalan flag" (Fris de la Senyera) on the façade overlooking Carrer Capellans (Monks St.).

    The Cathedral from Plaça Nova:

    In case you decided to complete your day in the Barri Gotico - return to La Rambla, otherwise, continue to the Plaça del Pi (Tip 3)

    To return to the La Rambla: From Plaça Nova head westward and walk along Carrer de la Portaferrissa until it meets La Rambla, 330 m. Walk south along La Rambla 300 m. further south to arrive to the Liceu Metro station.

    To walk to (350 m. ) to Plaça del Pi: From Plaça Nova continue westward onto Carrer dels Boters, 100 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Pi, 140 m. Continue onto Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 25 m. Turn right to stay on Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol, 10 m. Continue onto Plaça del Pi, 5 m. Skip to Tip 3.

  • Citywalk | Spain
    Updated at Oct 28,2017

    Les Corts and Sarrià-Pedralbes:

    Main Attractions: Pedrables Gardens, Palau Reial de Pedralbes, Pavellons Guell, Parròquia de Sant Ot, Statue of Antoni Gaudi, Carrer Major de Sarrià, Plaça de Sarrià, Monasterio de Pedralbes.

    Duration: 1/2 day Distance: 9 km. (most of them in ascent) Public transport: L3 (the yellow line) to Palau Reial Metro station Start: Palau Reial Metro station. End: GFC Sarrià station or Monastery of Pedralbes.

    Introduction: Les Corts is a district of the small town of Sarrià (now part of Barcelona).

    Our itinerary: The Palau Reial Metro station is almost opposite the Pedrables Park. But, you have to cross the bustling Diagonal street ONLY through crossing lights. Head west on Avinguda Diagonal toward Carrer de Martí i Franquès, 140 m. Turn right onto carrer de John Maynard , Keynes, 25 m. Turn right onto Avinguda Diagonal. Find the main entrance to the Pedrables Gardens Park:

    Some history: The whole grounds of the palace and the gardens were acquired by the count Eusebi Güell towards the end of the 19th century forming the Finca Güell. The pst existing building was remodeled by the architect Joan Martorell i Montells, who built a Caribbean-style small palace, together with a Gothic-style chapel and surrounded by magnificent gardens. Later the building remodeling was given to Antoni Gaudí. Gaudi designed and constructed the surrounding perimeter wall and the side entry pavilions. Gaudí also partially re-designed the gardens surrounding the palace, placing two fountains and a pergola and planted many Mediterranean plants like palm trees, cypress trees, magnolias, pine trees and eucalyptus. Eusebi Güell gave the house and garden to the Royal family, as a thank you for his noble title of Count given to him, in 1918. The house was then remodeled to become a royal palace. The work was done from 1919 to 1924 by the architects Eusebi Bona and Francesc Nebot. During Francisco Franco's regime it was used as a residence for Franco during his visits to the city.

    Pedrables Gardens
    The gardens at the palace, which are highly acclaimed for their beauty are one of the most beautiful parks and gardens in Barcelona. When you pass through the magnificent forged-iron entry door, a large space will welcome you. There is an elegant oval pond in the middle with the sculpture of a woman in its centre. In front, flower beds and, behind, a slight slope covered with grass and well-tended bay trees and orange trees, replete with a small waterfall - created by Carles Buigas,

    the gardens feature palm trees, cypress, cedars, lime trees, fragrant eucalyptus, magnolias, acacias, and flowering plants. The highlight of the gardens is an ensemble of 23 Himalaya cedars (Cedrus deodara), and also pine trees (Pinuspea) located in the esplanade in front of the palace, and a white cedar (Tetraclinisarticulata) very close to the pond in the entrance. You'll discover four exceptionally rare ash trees (Fraxinusornus) and also a savin (Juniperusphoenicea). Other species that we can find strolling through the paths of the gardens: Atlas cedars (Cedrusatlantica), Japanese cedars (Cryptomeriajaponica), incense cedar Calocedrusdecurrens), several pine trees among which are: Pinushalepensis, cypress (Cupressusmacrocarpa), Arizona cypress (Cupressus glabra), white cedar (Thujaorientalis), lime tree (Tilia tomentosa), eucalyptus (Eucalyptusglobulus) and a little forest of bamboo (Phyllostachyssp.). As far as bushes are concerned: big laurels (Laurusnobilis), boxes (Buxussempervirens) and some strawberry trees (Arbutusunedo):

    The most interesting sight in the palace gardens is the Font d'Hércules (Hercules Fountain), a fountain designed by Antoni Gaudí (1884). The fountain was rediscovered in the 1980s and was once completely hidden by dense vegetation. It has a bust of Hercules on top of a pillar with Catalonia's shield and a spout in the shape of a Chinese dragon. The dragon head is a spout from which the water bubbles and under is a stone spout with four bars on its front. There is a bench carved from stone on both sides and a marble bust on the pedestal from which the dragon head emerges:

    Opening hours: from Nov 01 to Mar 31: 10.00 - 19.00, from Apr 01 to Oct 31: 10.00 - 21.00. Prices: FREE.

    Palau Reial: If you continue up the path, the shady lanes will take you to the Royal Palace, located at the back of the park. The path opens up onto a semicircular square in front of the palace, surrounded on both sides by a large balustrade decorated with busts sculpted from white marble. Since the railing is located under the shade of the trees, this is a perfect place to sit for a moment and gaze upon the building:

    The semicircular square, in front of the palace, is sunny and presided over by a white marble sculpture of Isabel II holding her son Alfons XII in her arms and a pond in the middle surrounded by flowerpots filled with geraniums:

    The Royal Palace of Pedralbes served from 1919 until 1931 as the Barcelona residence of the royal family of Spain. It was the residence for the Spanish royal family when they visited Barcelona. The palace is formed by a central building four stories high, with a chapel on the back side and two three stories high side wings that form a curve with the front facade towards the front. The outside facade is done with Tuscan order columns forming two porches, with round arches and medallions and jars on the top. The interior of the building is of many styles both in decoration as in furniture, going from Louis XIV style to contemporary styles. The Palace own gardens were designed by Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí, from a design that included, in a geometrically decorative area, lots of the trees already present, a pond with many decorative elements, Gaudi's fountain, bamboo benches, three lighted fountains by Carles Buïgas, the same designer of the Magic Fountain in Montjuïc and many statues such is the one of Queen Isabella II with her son Alfonso XII on the front of the palace, a work of Agapit Vallmitjana.

    Today two museums are housed here: a ceramics museum (the Museu de la Ceramica) and a museum of decorative arts (Museu de les Arts Decoratives). The building resides in the middle of Pedrables Gardens in the district of Les Corts. The built complex houses also the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean.  It houses the famous Tinell room (14th century) which was used by the Reyes Católicos (Catholic King and Queen) to welcome Christopher Columbus following his return from America. The main access to the building from Diagonal Avenue is presided by a beautiful sculpture designed by Eulàlia Fàbregas de Sentmenat, and that bears the meaningful name of Mediterrània.

    Museu de les Arts Decoratives: Since 1937 Palau Reial de Pedralbes serves as the Museu de les Arts Decoratives, a museum of decorative arts. The museum has a collection of Catalan and Arabic pottery , Catalan glassware, porcelain, wrought iron, furniture and many utensils from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. Thereare, also, works by Miró and Picasso. Opening hours: Monday closed. Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 - 14.00. 

    Museu de Ceramica: Palau Reial de Pedralbes is also home to the Museu de Ceramica, a ceramics museum. Founded in 1966. In 1990 the Museu de Ceramica was placed at the palace. This museum owns an impressive permanent collection of Spanish ceramic art spanning several centuries, from medieval pieces to contemporary works.

    We exit the the Palau Reial de Pedralbes and Pedrables Gardens from the most eastern exit point. We head east, approx, 180 m. Turn left toward Carrer de Pere Duran Farell, 35 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Pere Duran Farell further 150 m. Turn right onto Carrer George R Collins and Pavellons Guell will be on the right after 40 m. Behind the estate's walls - you can't miss the beauty and colour of the giant mythological dragon from the Garden of the Hesperides, a synthesis of Gaudí's symbolism and craftsmanship. During the years 1884 - 1887 Antoni Gaudí landscaped the building and the garden of his patron Eusebi Güell's estate (Finca). From these years Eusebi Güell became Gaudi's main sponsor and patron. Gaudí proposed a fantastic-oriental design, somewhat reminiscent of Mudejar art. Gaudi designed and constructed is caretaker's house, stables and gatehouses. But, the main highlight is the wrought-iron gate in the shape of a dragon, that connects the house and the stables. Finca Güell's gatehouses have a stone base and brick parabolic arches with bright ceramic decorations in geometric shapes. On one side of the gate, a turret, crowned by plant motifs, features a medallion bearing the initials of the owner of the estate and the flower pot on top with an iron plant and flowers. In the centre, the dragon on the gate spreads its wings and its forked tongue. It represents the mythical never-sleeping, hundred-headed dragon named Ladon from the Garden of the Hesperides (the nymphs or daughters of evening), which commemorates Hercules' brilliant plot of stealing apples from the garden. The shape of the dragon corresponds with the position of the stars in the Serpens constellation, because Ladon was turned into a snake as a punishment for Hercules' stealing the oranges. This story was commemorated by the Catalan poet Jacint Verdaguer in his famous poem L'Atlàntida. Over the dragon there is an antimony orange-tree, another allusion to the Hesperides. the gatehouses consist of three small buildings, the central one being polygonal in plan and the others cuboidal. All three are surmounted by ventilators in the form of chimneys, faced with ceramics.

    Opening hours: daily - 10.00 - 16.00. January 1st and 6th, December 25th and 26th: closed. Prices: adult - 5 euros, concessions - 2 euros. Guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays: 10:15 and 12:15, in English, 11:15, in Catalan, 13:15, in Spanish. Public transport: buses: 7, 33, 63, 67, 75, 78, H6, L14, L79, L97, Trams: T1/T2/T3-Pius XII direction: Palau Reial-Pavellons Güell. Overpriced site. A bit neglected. Allow no more than 15-20 minutes. Web site:

    Pavellons Guell external walls:

    Pavellons Guell dome of the longeing ring:

    The Stables: 

    We continue climbing north-west along Av. de Pedrables. In the first intersection (on your right) with Passeig de Manuel Girona - we find the Dunosti Junior Bar: with 9.60 euros/person you get a full lunch: veggies salad + egg, burger with pommes frites or cow lever and dessert (ice-cream, fruit flan and soft drink. We continue eastward, deep into the Sarriá district, along Passeig de Manuel Girona.

    Sarriá is a pretty neighbourhood in Barcelona's and was the last of the independent villages annexed by Barcelona in 1921. It was gobbled up by Barcelona and became the city's new uptown area, not only for its geographical location but also for its more posh homes, shops and restaurants. This former rural village became the place where Barcelona's well-based classes chose to live from the second half of the 19th century, due to its proximity to Collserola woodlands and its unique natural conditions, comprising green areas and springs. This could explain why it retains much of the original flavour and personality of its streets, buildings and local community. It is one of the city's most prosperous districts.  Sarriá still retains its own traditional architecture, with its typical food market and century-old shops. They have been joined by the typical summer villas of the Catalan Art-Nouveau, or Modernista period. The most important example is the Torre Bellesguard and its viaduct (Carrer de Bellesguard, 16), which were designed by Gaudí. Sarriá hardly has any tourism, as it houses virtually no hotels or grand tourist sights.

    In the 2nd turn to the left of Passeig de Manuel Girona (intersection with Carrer d'Eduardo Conde) - you see on your left the Parròquia de Sant Ot, Passeig Manuel Girona, 25. Entrance by carrer Eduardo Conde, 1. An architectural attraction:

    We continue walking EASTWARD along Passeig de Manuel Girona crossing Carrer del Dr. Ferran (on your left). On our left (north) we pass through the Institut Marquès - a private Spanish medical institution specialized in gynecology. Continuing eastward we cross Carrer del Capità Arenas. In the next intersection of Passeig de Manuel Girona with Carrer de Benet Mateu (under the Porta de la Finca Miralles) - we find the famous Statue of Antoni Gaudi (1999) by Joaquim Camps:

    WE RETURN BACK WEST along Passeig de Manuel Girona (crossing, again,  Passeig de Manuel Girona on our right) and we turn RIGHT (north) to Carrer del Capità Arenas. Further, north, Carrer del Capità Arenas changes its name to Carrer de Fontcoberta. We turn right (east) to Passatge de Senillosa and continue climbing LEFT (north) to Carrer Major de Sarrià. Major de Sarrià is the main street in the Sarrià neighborhood in the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district of Barcelona. Part of the street is pedestrian-only and is fluent with shops and restaurants:

    THe ASCENT along Major de Sarrià brings us to the Plaça de Sarrià. On the square is the patisserie Foix, which is considered one of the best in Barcelona. In the square there are several cafes, where you can leisurely drink a cup of coffee. Also, there is the ancient church of Saint Vincent, built in the 10th century:

    In the Plaça de Sarrià, Emili Armengol's sculpture, "Portal de Sarrià" (Gateway to Sarrià) (1993), expresses the union between the different villages that make up the district:

    In this square you find the sign commemorating the founding of Sarria in year 1886:

    With our face to the north - on our left is the Placa Consell de la Villa:

    You'll find, also, in Plaça de Sarrià the Santamasa cultural centre and restaurant, Carrer Major de Sarrià 97. Their privileged locationis in a Gothic building from the 18th century in the main square, next to the beautiful church of St. Vincent of Sarrià, adds to the restaurant’s enchanting character. Santamasa offers a delightful menu, combining traditional ingredients with surprising elements; choose a coque topped with smoked salmon with mascarpone or perhaps a Japanese style burger with oriental flavors of teriyaki and sesame. The restaurant also prepares three different sorts of tartars and delicious entrées from hummus to mexican quesadillas:

    Also found in the square - an old bakery founded in year 1903:

    From the Plaça de Sarrià - you have two options. The first, completing your route, for today, and walking to the closest GFC Sarrià station. From Plaça de Sarrià head northwest on Plaça de Sarrià toward Passeig de la Bonanova, 20 m. Turn right onto Passeig de la Bonanova, 120 m. Turn right onto Via Augusta, 350 m and the GFC Sarrià station is on your right. Another option is extending your day and visiting the Monasterio de Pedralbes (if it is still open.... It CLOSES EARLY in the afternoon). It is 1.1 km. walk to the monastery. From Plaça de Sarrià head northwest on Plaça de Sarrià toward Passeig de la Bonanova, 15 m. Turn left onto Passeig de la Bonanova, 45 m. Continue onto Passeig de la Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 550 m and pass through Placa de la Reina Elisenda as well. Continue onto Carrer del Bisbe Català, 300 m. Slight right onto Baixada del Monestir, 35 m. Turn right to stay on Baixada del Monestir, 60 m. Turn left, take the stairs, 10 m. Walk for 100 m. and head southeast for 45 m. The Monasterio de Pedralbes, Baixada del Monestir, 9, is on your right. Opening hours: TUE - FRI: 10.00 - 14.00 (last admission at 13.30), SAT - SUN: 10.00 - 17.00 (last admission at 16.30), Holidays: 10.00 - 14.00 (last admission at 13.30). Closed on the following days:
    1 Jan., Good Friday, 1 May, 24 June, 25 and 26 Dec. Prices: adult - €5.00, concessions - €3.50, children until 15 years (an adult companion required) - FREE, disabled persons: €3.50. Free admissions: 12 February (Santa Eulàlia), 18 May (International museum day), 24 September (Mare de Déu de la Mercè). Free admission with the Barcelona Card. The Monastery of Pedralbes (in Catalan: Monestir de Pedralbes), is one of the most beautiful buildings of the Catalan Gothic in Barcelona. The building from the early 14th century shows the everyday life of nuns. Religious art from the 14th to the 20th century is displayed in the monastery museum. The most famous highlights are: the three-storey cloister and the park inside the monastery. The monastery was founded by Queen Elisenda de Montcada and her husband, King Jaume II. The construction work of the monastery started in March 1326. On May 3, 1327 the nuns moved into the monastery. The monastery was built within just one year. Queen Elisenda chose its location in the village of Sarrià, which back then was far out of the city of Barcelona. The name "Pedralbes" derives from the Latin Petras Albas (white stones), a white stone which is the cornerstone of the apsis. It was not before the 15th century that the third and lowest storey was added to the cloister.
    Monastery of Pedrables is a fine example of particularly homogeneous Gothic architecture in Catalonia. The Pedrables church, Cloister and garden are among the coolest sites in Barcelona - during the hot summer days.
    On the eastern side of the Pedrables complex stands the church:

    It has one nave. Inside the church, on the right side next to a presbytery - a choir:

    Inside the church you find the Queen Elisenda's tomb: the sarcophagus is double-sided. On the cloister side Elisenda is figured as a mourning widow, on the church side as a queen:

    The first interesting sight is the small St. Michael's chapel on the right-hand side by the church wall. It might be closed due to restorations. Its frescoes from 1343 depict scenes from the lives of Jesus and Mary. Note the three-dimensional quality of the frescoes that remind of the Italian painter Giotto, who was considered the first modern painter in 3D:

    There is no direct entry to the interior of the monastery from the church. The entrance is located only a few steps away from the church. You can enter the cloister from there. It is recommended to follow the route that leads through the monastery in an anticlockwise direction:

    The cloister is the central structure around which the monastery is organized. Considered the world’s largest Gothic cloister, it has two galleries with twenty-six columns on each side made of limestone from Girona containing fossil remains:

    On the north side of the cloister, there are several utility rooms, the nuns' day cells and the staircase to the second floor, half of those can be visited. The refectory, where the nuns had their meals, in silence, is located in the cloister, facing the Fountain of the Angel, where the nuns used to wash their hands. The antechamber, called De Profundis, still conserves the original wall cabinets, covered with tiles from Valencia dating from the 16th and 18th centuries, where the individual eating utensils were kept. This intermediate space was where the first prayer was said, addressed to the departed nuns and benefactors of the community:

    The third floor is closed to the public.

    The museum is housed in the former dormitory of the monastery. In a tour you can marvel at pieces of religious art as well as everyday objects of the monastery dating from the 14th to the 20th century. In the middle cloister there are several tiny cells in which the nuns used to pray.

    Walking downstairs from the museum, you can continue the monastery tour through the lower cloister. On the west side, there are utility rooms, such as the dining hall and the kitchen, and in the basement the monastery's store rooms are located.

    One of the store rooms contains a series of dioramas of religious scenes which depict the life history of Jesus.

    The monastery certainly wouldn't be as beautiful and impressive without its park in the courtyard. You won't find a quieter place in all Barcelona - except for the birds singing in the trees and the gurgling of the Renaissance fountain in the centre of the courtyard you won't hear a sound:

    The simplest way to return to Barcelona centre is via Sarrià GFC subway station. You have to walk 20 minutes to the Sarrià station. From Monasterio de Pedralbes head southeast on Baixada del Monestir. Turn left to stay on Baixada del Monestir. Baixada del Monestir turns slightly left and becomes Carrer del Bisbe Català. Continue onto Passeig de la Reina Elisenda de Montcada. Continue onto Passeig de la Bonanova. Turn right onto Via Augusta and the Sarrià station is on your right. Take Train S1 to Pl. Catalunya  (4 stops).

  • Citywalk | Spain
    Updated at Oct 11,2017

    Tip 2: From Basilica Santa Maria del Mar to Placa de Jacint Preventos.

    From Museu Picasso we continue to our next famous destination the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. Head (with your back to the museum buildings turn LEFT) southeast on Carrer de Montcada toward Carrer de l'Arc de Sant Vicenç, 120 m. Continue onto Placeta de Montcada, 55 m. Turn right onto Passeig del Born, 15 m

    and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is on your left. Formally called: Capella del Santissim Sagrament Sant Maria del Mar. Built between 1329 and 1383. An imposing cathedral and an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic church, with a purity and unity of style that is very unusual in large medieval buildings. 

    During the 13th century, in the neighborhood we now call “La Ribera” ("the Seashore") was well-known for its ship-building, imports-exports of all kinds and its workshops for artisans and craftsmen. These trades and businesses are still reflected today in the street names of the area. This was the time when many of the wealthy merchants and minor nobility built their houses on Montcada Street (see Tip 1). This progress demanded a church of more impressive dimensions than the one they had. The King Pere III gave his permission to extract stone from the quarry and use it to build the present church. The architects in charge were Berenguer de Montagut (designer of the building) and Ramon Despuig, and during the construction all the guilds of the Ribera quarter were involved. This church, which is actually a Basilica, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was built by the poorest people in Barcelona – the sailors and the fishermen. Workers loaded and unloaded the ships (the so-called “bastaixos” or porters), fishermen and the simple people used their hands and backs and, of course, their boats to transport the stone they needed from the nearby mountain of Montjuic. Construction work started on 25 March 1329, when the foundation stone was laid by king Alfonso IV of Aragon (III of Catalonia), as commemorated by a tablet in Latin and Catalan on the façade that faces the Fossar de les Moreres and by reading the two inscriptions on each side of the door on Santa Maria Street, one in Catalan and the other one in Latin. The walls, the side chapels and the façades were finished by 1350. In 1379 there was a fire that damaged important parts of the works. The last circular keystone, the closest one to the main door, bears the city’s coat of arms and was put in place on 3 November 1383. The church was consecrated by Pere Planella, bishop of Barcelona, on 15 August 1384:

    The main door of the Basilica pays homage to the porters of La Ribera:

    The 1428 Catalonia earthquake caused 30 casualties and destroyed the rose window in the west end. But the most traumatic damage to the church happened in 19 July 1936 when Santa Maria del Mar was set on fire and burned for eleven days straight. This fire damage call still be seen in the inside of the church’s ceilings. The magnificent Baroque altar and all the images and historical archive were all destroyed. Only the walls, columns and a few of the stained glass windows on the upper level were spared. The fire didn’t get up that high. Restorations in recent years have further emphasized its elegant and sober Gothic style:

    Opening hours: MON - SAT: 9.00 - 13.00, 17.00 - 20.30, SUN: 10.00 - 14.00, 17.00 - 20.00. FREE entry. Note: At noon, visitors must pay to enter and join a guided tour, which includes the rooftop. Metro: Jaume I (L4).

    Guided tours of the Basilica rooftop including the towers, rooftops, gallery and crypt of Santa Maria del Mar - duration: 1 hour. Prices: adult - 10€, students and seniors (older than 65) - 8€, members of groups of more than 10 people - 9€, FREE - children between 6 and 8 years old.

    The Exterior and the interior give different sensations. The exterior suffers from the impossibility of an overall perspective. The mighty and impressive building of Basilica Santa Maria del Mar is pressed and hemmed in by the narrow streets of the Ribera, making it difficult to obtain an overall impression. The better perspective of this immense church is from Plaça de Santa Maria (west) and Placa del Fossar de les Moreres (east) (NOT the direction we came from - north-east).

    The western facade of Basilica Santa Maria del Mar from Placa del Fossar de Les Moreres. From this side, you better see the white bells tower of the Basilica:

    Plaça de Santa Maria in the afternoon hours. It is noteworthy that the north- west tower was completed back in 1496:

    Placa de Santa Maria del Mar in the evening with the monument for the liberators of Barcelona 1711 - 1713. many cafe's around, children, pigeons and, even, music:

    We highly recommend walking to Plaça de Santa Maria - for having a look at the Basilica from its western facade,  dominated by the west end of the church with its rose window. Also, images of Saint Peter and Saint Paul occupy niches on either side of the west door, and the tympanum shows the Saviour flanked by Our Lady and Saint John.

    The main entrance side consists of a traditional Catalan-Gothic facade, with a predominance of horizontal lines and large bare surfaces. Different colors were used for the windows in the different sides of the cathedral. At the front, where the sun is rising, the stained glass in the windows consists of earth tones, red, orange, brown and greens. These colors were being used for representing the Mediterranean land. On the sides of the cathedral the windows are more blue and white, which represents the Mediterranean sea.

    Later, when we'll leave the Basilica, we shall see the Basilica also from Carrer de l'Argenteria.

    Interior: When entering the cathedral, dimensions and balances change. The interior gives an impression of light and spaciousness, extraordinarily beautiful. abundant streams of natural light pass through the high windows. It is universally regarded as a marvel of engineering. What most strikes visitors upon entering the building is the vast and austere interior space. The immense space inside is beautifully lit by colored windows and supported only by slender octagonal columns. The spacing of the columns is the widest of any Gothic church in Europe. As the interiors have such an exceptional acoustics - concerts are often organized in the cathedral. Keep a look out for music recitals, often Baroque and classical. 

    It is of the Basilica type, with its three aisles forming a single space with no transepts and no architectural boundary between nave and presbytery.  Part of the reason for the cleanliness of the interior is that the church was burned, like many others, by the Leftists during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The fire destroyed many of the altarpieces and statuary that had been placed in the church over the centuries, particularly during the Baroque and Neo-Gothic periods in the 18th and 19th centuries. The end result was, ironically enough, that Santa Maria del Mar emerged from the ashes more beautiful than it had been in years, stripped of well-intentioned but unnecessary frills and do-thats that did not suit it. The interior is almost devoid of the imagery, which can be found in other large Gothic churches of Barcelona. Honestly said - Santa Maria was lacking in superfluous decoration even before anarchists gutted it in 1909 and 1936.

    We leave the Basilica from the road which continues west ward Carrer de l'Argenteria - pedestrian street with small shops, restaurants and bars. The view of the Basilica Santa Maria del Mar from this road:

    Carrer de l'Argenteria:

    Turn left onto Plaça de Jacint Reventós:

  • Citywalk
    Updated at Dec 18,2017

    Tip 2 Main AttractionsPoble Espanyol, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya.

    El Poble Espanyol was built for the 1929 International Exhibition in purpose  to concentrate the soul of Spain in a single space. It was intended that Poble Espanyol would be demolished when the 1929 International Exhibition was over, but it continued to function thanks to its great success and the good critical reviews it got. Today most of its constructions remain intact and are scale reproductions of buildings, squares and streets of different regions of Spain. It can be understood as a “Spain in Miniature”, as you can find replicas of the most famous Spanish monuments and landscapes. Its creators visited 1,600 towns and villages of the Iberian Peninsula and Southern Portugal to choose the buildings to be represented at Poble Espanyol.  Poble Espanyol is packed with life 365 days a year. Strolling through Poble Espanyol you’ll discover not only buildings, but also artisans you can watch live as they work, as well as viewing pieces of contemporary art by universal figures like Dalí, Picasso and Joan Miró (see below). Don't miss the new "Feeling Spain" audiovisual installations, which will take you on a virtual trip through the geography and the most authentic traditions of Spanish culture. There is a large array of shops, workshops, bars and restaurants open every day. Some artisans also have their stores here and it is well known around Barcelona for having the best artisans with glass and clay.  There are artisans producing leather, ceramics, jewellery and other articles for sale. You can enjoy family activities, shows, music, cuisine tastings in the open air in unbeatable surroundings. 1.300.000 visitors a year enjoy a unique place and atmosphere representing, in the best way, the face and soul of Spain. The Museu Fran Daurel is another main attraction at the Poble Espanyol. It showcases some 300 works by major contemporary artists, including Picasso, Dalí and Miró. Admission to the museum is included with the ticket to the Poble Espanyol. You will also find Guinovart area, a vast and luminous space with a huge sculpture of Josep Guinovart. Moreover, there is the sculpture garden where 36 sculptures transform the garden of Poble Espanyol into an evocative space where art and nature embrace each other. Also, with the entry ticket you have access to “El Tablao de Carmen”, one of Barcelona’s most famous flamenco Tablaos. Our opinion: The end result is a sort of Spanish Disneyland, complete with inflated prices. Better, come in the evenings (the hot ones). Good choice for kids and the additional expenses concerned. Still, well worth a leisurely visit of 2-3 hours. Usually, there are lots of people in Poble Espanyol, but because it is so extensive you can see everything at your own pace.  Note: signage in Poble Espanyol is very poor.

    Public transport: Metro: Espanya Station (Line 1-Red and Line 3-Green), Ferrocarrils Catalans FGC trains - Espanya Station, Bus: Poble Espanyol stop of Lines 13, 23 and 150, Bus Turístic and Barcelona City Tour (the red route of the Barcelona Red hop on and off bus).

    Opening hours: MON: 9.00 - 20.00, TUE - THU, SUN: 9.00 -  midnight, FRI: 9.00 - 15.00, SAT: 9.00 - 16.00. Open 365 days a year. 25 December: 9.00 - 14.00, 1 January: 13.00 - 20.00, from 8 January to 4 February: 9.00 - 20.00. 

    Prices (on site / on-line): Adult: 14€ / 12,60€, child (From 4 to 12 years old): 7€ / 6,30€, Children under 4 years: FREE, Night (From 20.00): 7€ / 6,30€, Student: 10,50€/ 10,50€, Retired: 9€ / 9€, Family:36€ / 36€. A small tip: if you are planning to eat or attend any activity inside, you can get free entry if you show your booking confirmation at the entrance.

    A good view of the city from behind the monastery:

    It is 850 m. walk from Poble Espanyol back (east) to the MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya ,Palau Nacional). From Poble Espanyol head southwest on Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia toward Carrer de la Foixarda, 40 m. Turn left onto Carrer de la Foixarda, 140 m. Turn right to stay on Carrer de la Foixarda, 130 m. Turn left onto Av. dels Montanyans, 450 m. Continue onto Carrer del Mirador del Palau Nacional, 100 m. The MNAC is on your left. This magnificent museum, located high on a hill, is easily reached by escalator.  The building itself is a work of art, the collection is magnificent, and the view breathtaking:

    We go around the MNAC complex from east to south in purpose to climb the staircase leading to its main entrance in the south facade:

    You have TWO main reasons for investing a significant deal of time in a visit in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya or MNAC: for the views across the city and for the wonderful art inside.  We shall start with the first one. We would recommend coming here for the views alone! The entrance to the Palau is called "The Balcony of Barcelona". The terrace in front of the Museu Nacional is open: On summer weekends, the terrace will remain open until 23.00. Winter: : 19.00 or 21.00, SUMMER: 21.00 or midnight:

    From this magnificent terrace you enjoy magnificent views of the city of Barcelona and the show of light, sound and colour of the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc (at night). You can see the night show of the Font Majika from the balcony of the National Palace, it is a must-see that will take time to forget. If you want really great views to the north over Barcelona city. You can find in foreground the Reina Maria Cristina Avenue with the two Venetian Towers at the height of Spain Square (Plaça d’Espanya), also having a privileged view of the Magic Fountain of Montjuic and Tibidabo mountain with its amusement park at the far north:

    Then there is a special lift (back of the MNAC auditorium) that takes you up to the top of the museum and you can walk around the dome on the outside (€2 special fee). Really breathtaking views on the city, the Olympic Park and the whole Monjuic (to the south, west and east). The views to the north are giving a 360 degree turn. Make sure you visit the roof terrace as the views from there are really great !  Inside the exhibitions were mainly very engaging, but you do a lot of walking. The terrace itself is a nice place to sit and listen to the music ( there is always a guy or band playing a guitar or another musical instruments). A cafe and restaurant are also available. You can get beautiful view of Barcelona old port from the MNAC cafe' as well. From the east side of the roof of the MNAC, you will see the Sagrada Familia, the Agbar Tower and the two Vila Olímpica towers, while facing the south allows views of the Montjuic mountain with the Olympic Park allowing partially views of the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium or the Telecommunications Tower in Europe Square (Plaça d’Europa):

    Public Transport: Metro - L1 (Red Line) and L3  (Green Line) - Placa Espanya. Buses: the best line is 55 (bus stop: Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya/Museu Etnològic), 9,  13,  27, 37, 50, 65, 79, 109, 150,165, D20, H12, V7. On foot: Plaça Espanya – Avinguda Maria Cristina – escalator up to the museum OR Anella Olímpica – escalator up to the museum (as we did in this itinerary).

    Opening times: October to April: TUE - SUN: 10.00 - 18.00, SUN and public holidays: 10.00 - 15.00. May to September: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 20.00, SUN and public holidays: 10.00 - 15.00. CLOSED: Mondays except public holidays, January 1st, May 1st and December 25th. Prices: adult - €12 (w/o audioguide, €14 (with audio guide), Students and Family (2 adults + 1 child) - 30% discount. FREE: under 16 years old, over 65 years old. Entry is free on Saturdays after 15.00. Your ticket is valid for two days so if you want to take a break you can split your visit into two days.

    The MNAC is situated on Montjuïc hill at the end of Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina originating from Placa Espanya. It is one of the largest museums in Spain. The Museum is housed in the Palau Nacional, a huge, Italian-style building dating to 1929. The Palau Nacional, which has housed the Museu d'Art de Catalunya since 1934, was declared a national museum in 1990 under the Museums Law passed by the Catalan Government. the museum MNAC was founded in 1990 by the merger of the Museu d'Art de Catalunya (Romance, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque) and the Museu d'Art Modern (Arts of the 19th and 20th century). The main dome is absolutely stunning. One of its main architects was Pere Domènech i Roura, son of the brilliant modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Domènech i Roura was also the architect of the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium (see Tip 1 above).

    This art museum is probably the best in Barcelona. The MNAC museum and the Palau building consist of two floors. There are about 100 steps up to the gallery which is a good workout. Alternatively there are elevators take you up to the Gallery. With 3 hours it's possible to walk-through (quickly) the whole museum. It's a great venue.  The museum is well designed and easy to navigate. The galleries are large with white walls and cleverly lit to make the works stand out but not stress us viewers out as we wander from chamber to chamber. It is very easy on the eye and they have obviously given a lot of thought as to what works to display and what to hold back. Free wifi is available inside as well. There are couches and places to sit everywhere, if you get tired.

    Basically, There are 4 periods displayed, Romanesque, Gothic, Rennaisance and Modern Art. All sections are organized chronologically - starting with the earliest time and advance chronologically. For example, it is interesting and nice to see the progression of how faces were painted in the different periods. By the end of the Gothic, the faces were very realistic. 

    The museum is especially notable for its outstanding collection of Romanesque church paintings, and for Catalan art. The real highlight here is the Romanesque art section, in the ground floor, considered the most important concentration of early medieval art in the world.

    The Main Entrance Hall:

    Do visit the oval hall which is built in Roman style. A spectacular and unique space. The sculptures and painted ceilings are awe inspiring and well worth a visit. It has an immense dome, which allows the entrance of natural light. Note the organ, 34 metres long and 11 metres high, that overlooks the hall from the balcony:

    The most world's largest collection of Roman frescoes fills most of the rooms of the MNAC. The Romanesque frescoes, that had served to instruct villagers in the basics of the faith, date from the vestibule of 29 major Romanesque churches in the Pyrenees. So they could be saved before being destroyed by the Spanish Civil War. The artwork from medieval churches is spectacular and wonderfully exhibited. The frescoes salvaged from Catalan churches in the mountains, in mostly good shape, are really wonderful. The insides of several churches have been recreated and the frescoes – in some cases fragmentary, in others extraordinarily complete and alive with colour – have been placed as they were when in situ. One famous fresco, in room (Sala) 5, is a magnificent image of Christ in Majesty done around 1123. Based on the text of the Apocalypse, you see Christ enthroned on a rainbow with the world at his feet. He holds a book open with the words Ego Sum Lux Mundi (I am the Light of the World) and is surrounded by the four Evangelists:

    Other famous frescoes, in room 9, are frescoes done around the same time in the nearby Església de Santa Maria de Taüll. Originally, the church interior was totally decorated and despite not being preserved intact what we have is enough for us to know with some certainty what themes were represented and how they were distributed inside the church and to distinguish the different artists. The central fresco was taken from the apse is of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child:

    David and Goliath - Fresco in room 9:

    Fresco from Sant Romà de les Bons, Monastry of Santa Coloma d'Andorra (C. 1164):

    The excellent Gothic collection starts with some late 13th-century frescoes that were discovered in 1961 and 1997, when two palaces in the city were being renovated. There are carvings and paintings from local churches, including works by the indisputable Catalan masters of the Golden Age, Bernat Martorell and Jaume Huguet. In addition, the MNAC shows countless sacred objects.

    Painting, Circa 1200, room 13, front of alter, from the parish church of Sant Andreu de Baltarga (Bellver de Cerdanya, Baixa Cerdanya):

    Opposite the Romanesque collection on the ground floor is the museum’s Gothic art section. In these halls you can see Catalan Gothic painting and works from other Spanish and Mediterranean regions. The exhibitions of Renaissance and Baroque art feature works by major international painters such as El Greco, Zurbarán, Velázquez and Rubens. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, in particular,  was first displayed in the Museu Nacional since 2004:

    Fra Angelico (Giovanni da Fiesole),  painting,  1433–1435, room 38:

    Giambattista Tiepolo -Saint Cecilia - circa 1750-1760, room 35:

    Giandomenico Tiepolo -The Minuet - 1756, room 35:

    Francisco de Goya -Allegory of Love, Cupid and Psyche - circa 1798-1805, room 35:

    Diego Velázquez. Saint Paul circa 1619. This is a painting of youth done by Diego Velázquez, shortly before entering into the service of the Spanish monarch Felipe IV, room 35:

    Rubens - Virgin and Child with Saint Elizabeth and the Young Saint John. Circa 1618. Room 38:

    Tiepolo -Expulsion of the Traders from the Temple - circa 1750-1753, room 38:Retablo de san Miguel y san Pedro, Painting from 1432-1433, room 25.

    The Gothic and Medieval Section:

    Conquest of Mallorca. This mural paintings, from 1285-1290, of the Conquest of Mallorca, come from the old mansion house of the Caldes family in carrer Montcada of Barcelona - nowadays known as the Palau Berenguer d'Aguilar, Carrer de Montcada, and which is currently home to the Museu Picasso. They show the conquest of the island of Mallorca by Jaume I the Conqueror in 1229. Room 17:

    Retablo de san Miguel y san Pedro, Painting from 1432-1433, room 25:

    Salvador (the Savior) by Pere Joan (alabaster, 1435-1445), room 25:

    Retaule de l'Epifania 1469. The altarpiece of Epiphany is a paint in the temple and oil on the table work by Joan Reixac made in 1469 for the convent of the Augustinian nuns of Rubiols de Mora ( province of Teruel ), room 28:

    Saint Otto, Master of La Seu d'Urgell, Painting,
    Circa 1495-1498. Part of a set of cloths that decorated the doors of an organ that has not come down to us. From a total of 12 pieces 11 are kept at the MNAC. Room 28:

    The Deposition of Christ and the Road to Calvary, wood Sculpture, Circa 1500, room 31:


    As we ascend to the second floor - the high-domed main hall is still impressive:

    Ceramic mural that Joan Miró made for the Barcelona headquarters of IBM:

    The new (from 2014) displayof Modern Art , in the 2nd floor, goes as far as the 1950s, including the movement Dau al Set (the first post-World War II artistic movement in Catalonia). The modern collection upstairs is organized by theme rather than chronologically, which is an interesting idea. The Modern Art permanent exhibition is divided into four sections and an epilogue: The Rise of the Modern Artist, Modernista, Noucentista, Art and Civil War, and The Avant-garde revival of the Post-War Years. You'll find good display of Modernista (including Gaudi's)  furniture designs. Interesting Miro tile mural in the main area (see picture above). Some visitors say that the Picasso collection in the MNAC is better than the Museu de Picasso... Anyway, the MNAC two floors leave you with a very good blend of traditional and contemporary art.

    Ramon Casas, Bulls (Dead Horses), room 1:

    Francesc Masriera - Boy on Attic, room 5:

    Francesc Masriera, In the Presence of the Lord, 1891, room 9:

    Hermen Anglada Camarasa, Nightbird (1913) and Portrait of Magda Jocelyn (1904), room 10:

    Romà Ribera, De soirée, 1902, room 10:

    Francesc Masriera - Before and After the Ball, 1886, room 10:

    Josep Masriera, Llavaneres, 1890, room 12:

    Alfred Sisley, A Bend in the Loing, 1892, room 14:

    Francesc Masriera, Winter 1882, Painting, 1882, room 16:

    Joaquim Renart, Bamboo Screen, 1905, room 16:

    Ramon Casas - an exhibition - 150 years from his birthday:

    Ramon Casas - self portrait:

    Ramon Casas and the shadow puppets. This Casas' exceptional collection is a group of 11 shadow puppets, designed by Casas, cut and constructed by the Josep Meifrèn, painter Eliseu Meifrèn's brother and member of "Els Quatre Gats", circle of friends. 1897-1898:

    Litografia - The 4 Cats group:

    Le Chat Noir ("The Black Cat") was a nineteenth-century entertainment establishment, in the bohemian Montmartre district of Paris. Théophile Steinlen's 1896 poster advertising the cabaret, 1896:

    Joaquim Mir, stained glass triptych: El Gorg Blau (The Blue Pool), 1911, room 17:

    Auguste Rodin, Sculpture, 1876, The age of Bronze, room 17:

    Gaspar Homar, Three women picking fruit, 1905-1906, ceramic tiles, room 17:

    Interiors of 'Modernisme': Gaspar Homar, Joan Busquets and Architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, room 56:

    Settee with side cabinets and the marquetry panel “La sardine” by Gaspar Homar, room 56:

    Furniture by Joan Busquets, 1907-1911, room 56:

    José Gutiérrez Solana, Las Coristas (The Choir Girls), circa 1925, room 21:

    Juli González, Woman at her Toilette, Circa 1912-1913, room 23:

    Francesc Domingo Segura, The Gamblers, 1920, room 26:

    Francesc Domingo Segura, The Spectators, 1934, Room 26:

    Introduction to Surrealism:

    Modest Cuixart - Moon Fisher, 1949:

    Pablo Picasso, Woman in Hat and Fur Collar (Marie-Thérèse Walter), 1937, room 31:

    Juli (Julio) González, Montserrat Shouting, No 1 and Shouting, 1936-1939, room 31:

    Juli (Julio) González, Cactus Man, 1939, room 31:

    José García Narezo, Defensa de Madrid (The Defence of Madrid), 1937, From the series 'Esfuerzo-Triunfo' (Effort-Triumph), room 31:

    Ramón Puyol, El estratega (The Strategist), 1936, room 31:

    Olga Sacharoff, Newly Wedding, 1939, room 72. Sacharoff formed part of the noucentisme català, (Catalan movement of the beginning of the 20th century):

    Juli (Julio) González, Raised Left and Right hands, 1942 (year of Gonzalez death), room 78:

    Julio Gorgola:

    Juli González, Nude and Female Peasant, Circa 1920-1923:

  • Citywalk
    Updated at Jan 15,2018

    Tip 2: Victoria Tower Gardens to One New Change Shopping Centre.

    Tip 2 Main Attractions: Victoria Tower Gardens South, Parliament Square, the Supreme Court, Westminster Bridge, Victoria Embankment, Cleopatra's Needle, Temple Pier, Blackfriar Pub, Carter Lane Gardens, St. Paul Cathedral Churchyard, St. Paul Cathedral.

    Start: Victoria Tower Gardens. End: St. Paul Church and One New Change Shopping Centre.

    We took the stairs from the Millbank and Lambeth Bridge down to Victoria Tower Gardens South. and, further north, the Victoria Tower Gardens. The Lambeth Bridge cuts these gardens into two parts: south and north.  They, actually, reside in the '' back '' of  the Houses of Parliament. It is in the shadow of the Palace of Westminster and the Victoria Tower. Their tranquility is their best asset ,more than anything to see here. Victoria Tower Gardens cannot be approached from the more northern Westminster Bridge along the Thames River bank. There is a large open grassed area, nice trees, plenty of park benches and abundant statuary. There are also lovely views of parts of the Houses of Parliament and nice views across the River Thames. There are good views of the Shard and the London Eye along the southern wall. There is also a coffee shop and public toilets:

    Inside the park or gardens there is a number of memorials celebrating freedom. The Buxton Memorial  marks the abolition of slavery. Ordered by Charles Buxton MP, it was dedicated to his father, Thomas Buxton who, along with William Wilberforce and many others, was instrumental in helping to bring about an end to the slave trade in the British Colonies. Originally sited in the Parliament Square, it was taken away in 1949 due to post-war redevelopment - but found a new home in these gardens 8 years later:

    and French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s Burghers of Calais in the north part of the gardens. It tells the story of the siege of Calais in 1347, during the Hundred Years War. Calais had been surrounded for a year by English soldiers under King Edward III. Six leading citizens of Calais, the Burghers, offered to die if Edward spared the rest of the town's people. Edward's wife, Queen Philippa, heard about the Burgher's offer and asked if they could also be spared if the town surrendered. Edward agreed and all the people of Calais were allowed to leave. Rodin made his original sculpture in 1889 to stand outside Calais town hall and later made four casts, of which this is one. It was bought by National Art Collection Fund in 1911. Rodin came to London to give advice on where to put it:

    At the gardens'  northern entrance (opposite Victoria Tower) is a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst (Monument to Emmeline Pankhurst) of the Suffragette Movement:

    We continue further north to the Westminster Palace and Houses of Parliament (see Tipter blog:

    From the main entrance to the Parliament Square - we see the Big Ben:

    More north-west - the Parliament Square, a square at the northwest end of the Palace of Westminster. It features a large open green area in the centre with trees to its west, and it contains eleven statues of statesmen and other  world notable individuals:

    tThe west side of the Parliament Square is its judiciary side - here stands the Supreme Court. The building features distinct and fascinating exterior architecture with the main feature of its facade being a high bell tower. Security controls are VERY strict like in London airports.

    Sip a cup of tea for 2 pounds in its elegant cafe':

    The secondr highlight in the Supreme Court is the excellent museum (and library) in the basement which has many great interactive displays:

    The southern side of the Parliament Square is the Religious side - the Winchester cathedral:

    We change direction and move WESTWARD. From the Parliament Square we head to the Thames River and approach Westminster Bridge. WE DO NOT CROSS IT. We continue NORTHWARD (turning LEFT) along Victoria Embankment

    Walking from south to north along Victoria Embankment - we see, on the southern bank (opposite side of the Thames) the London Eye and The Aquarium:

    1 km. walk northward from Westminster Bridge - we hit the Cleopatra Needle. Cleopatra's Needle is close to the Embankment underground station. It was presented to the United Kingdom in 1819 by the ruler of Egypt and Sudan Muhammad Ali, in commemoration of the victories of Lord Nelson at the Battle of the Nile and Sir Ralph Abercromby at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801. Although the British government welcomed the gesture, it declined to fund the expense of transporting it to London. Made of red granite, the obelisk stands about 21 metres high, it weighs about 224 tons and is inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is probably the oldest attraction in London. There are sister Obelisks in New York Central Park and in Paris. The sphinxes on the base are Victorian versions of the originals. Obelisks were prominent in the architecture of the ancient Egyptians, who placed them in pairs at the entrance of their temples. The two obelisks were originally erected in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis on the orders of Thutmose III, around 1450 BC. The obelisks were moved to Alexandria and set up in a temple built by Cleopatra in honor of Mark Anthony or Julius Caesar - by the Romans in 12 BC. Cleopatra's Needle is the popular name for this pair of obelisks from the same original site - one re-erected in London in 1878 and the other in New York City in 1881. You'll also notice that the benches along the Embankment have sphinxes on them too (and some have cute camels). One of the Sphinxes (the right one) has been damage from a bomb detonation. On 4 September 1917, during World War I, a bomb from a German air raid landed near the needle. In commemoration of this event, the damage remains un-repaired to this day and is clearly visible in the form of holes on the right-hand sphinx. It is a nice place to stroll. Cleopatra's Needle is interesting when you pass by it.

    We continue walking along the river (the direction is north-east) and approx. 480 m. beyond Cleopatra Needle we arrive to the Temple Pier (if not blocked by construction works). Temple Pier is the home pier of London Pleasure Boats and is where embark and disembark most of these pleasure boats. It is located opposite Temple tube station and the Walkabout pub on Victoria Embankment. Temple is named after the Knights Templar's Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. Today it is best known as the legal district of London, and is home to many barristers and solicitors, as well as the famous Royal Courts of Justice.

    The Thames southern bank from the Temple Pier:

    Continuing walking east - we meet an office worker hails a cab on John Carpenter Street, just off Embankment:

    It is quite probable that you would be hindered near the Blackfriars tube station, and, you'll be forced to leave your route along the river, and, surround the underground station, continuing eastward along Queen Victoria Street. In case there are no construction works - you can continue walking along the Thames - using the Blackfriars underpass. BUT, we do recommend using the bypass via Queen Victoria Street ! DO NOT MISS the  Blackfriar Pub, a public house on 174 Queen Victoria Street in Blackfriars district of London. It was built in about 1875, and remodeled in about 1905 by the architect Herbert Fuller-Clark. Much of the internal decoration was done by the sculptors Frederick T. Callcott and Henry Poole. It looks Great on the outside and fantastic on the inside, a one off. The extraordinary interior is filled with marble sculptures, mosaics, paintings and resembles a church. Arched ceilings and fireplaces make it very dense and welcoming. The interiors are, frequently, packed, busy and full with cheerful people. it's built on the foundations of 13th century friary. It is NOT the oldest pub or bar in London. it only opened in 1875. BUT this is an exceptional, wonderful pub. A dark, deceptively roomy pub with walls depicting medieval life in distinctive, simplistic Edwardian style. The Blackfriar is a perfect architectural encapsulation of how London has continuously called on its rich history to inspire its cultural advancement. The legends say that part of Henry VIII's divorce proceedings from Catherine of Aragon took place here. A unique place !!!

    Continue walking east along Queen Victoria Street. Pass Blackfriars Lane, St. Andrew's Hill on your left. Pass the Church of Scientology London and Godliman Street on your left andturn LEFT (NORTH) onto St. Peter's Hill (changes to Sermon Lane further north). Cross the Carter Lane Gardens, also known as Information Centre Garden (London Tourist Office on your left) from south to north - and you face the St. Paul Cathedral. These gardens extend on both sides of the wide paved path that forms the pedestrian route from St Paul's to the Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern (on the southern bank of the Thames):

    The St. Paul Cathedral Churchyard garden is part of the precincts of St Paul's and is an important part of its setting, as well as providing valuable open space for public use. The garden was laid out in 1879 by Edward Milner, designer of private gardens and public parks. The garden includes winding footpaths, fountains, sculpture and seating, and features lawns and mature trees and shrubs, as well as a lovely rose garden. The restored 1714 churchyard railings are important early examples of cast iron work:

    St. Paul Cathedral stands at the highest point of the City of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. The present cathedral, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. Its construction, completed in Wren's lifetime, was part of a major rebuilding program in the City after the Great Fire of London. At 111 m. high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1967. The dome is among the highest in the world. St Paul's is the second-largest church building in area in the United Kingdom after Liverpool Cathedral. Its dome, framed by the sp ires of Wren's City churches, has dominated the skyline for over 300 years. The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognizable sights of London. St Paul's Cathedral occupies a significant place in the national identity. Services held at St Paul's have included the funerals of Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and Baroness Thatcher; jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer and the thanksgiving services for the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees and the 80th and 90th birthdays of Elizabeth II. It was and is a central subject of much promotional material, as well as of images of the dome surrounded by the smoke and fire of the Blitz in WW2. 

    Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 8.30 doors open for sightseeing, 9.30 galleries open for access, 16.00 tickets office closed, 16.15 last entry to galleries, 16.30 cathedral closes for sightseeing. Prices: adults (18yrs+) £18, 
    concessions (Students & 60yrs+) £16, children (6-17yrs) £8,  families (2 Adults + 2 Children) £44. These prices will allow you unlimited sightseeing visits to St Paul's over a 12 month period at no extra charge. No charge is made to worshipers. Free entry to St. Paul's Cathedral with the London Pass. Very severe and strict security procedures in entry. No large bags, large rucksacks or large suitcases may be brought into St Paul’s. Online tickets: Online tickets must be booked at least the day before a planned visit and can be booked for the current or following two months only. Please refer to the relevant Tipter blog for more in-depth descriptions:

    Paternoster Square resides NORTH to St. Paul Cathedral. The square itself  is a privately owned public space. The area takes its name from Paternoster Row, once centre of the London publishing trade. It was devastated by aerial bombardment in The Blitz during the WW2. It is now the location of the London Stock Exchange which relocated there from Threadneedle Street in 2004. It is also the location of American, British and Japanese investment banks and securities banks or int'l funds. The main monument in the redeveloped square is 23 m. tall Paternoster Square Column It is a Corinthian column topped by a gold leaf covered flaming copper urn, which is illuminated by fibre-optic lighting at night. The column was designed by the architects Whitfield Partners and also serves as a ventilation shaft for a service road that runs beneath the square. It is sometimes referred to as the "pineapple":

    At the north end of the square is the bronze Paternoster (also known as Shepherd and Sheep) by Dame Elisabeth Frink. The statue was commissioned for the previous Paternoster Square complex in 1975 and was replaced on a new plinth following the redevelopment:

    Another sculpture in the square is Paternoster Vents by Thomas Heatherwick:

    The Temple Bar, a Wren designed stone archway that once stood on Fleet Street to mark the westernmost extent of the City's influence, was relocated to the cathedral northern side entrance to the Paternoster Square in 2004: 

    St. Paul Cathedral (northern wing) from Paternoster Square:

    Our last destination in this busy day is the One New Change Shopping Centre. An unforgettable site. Your best route is through the east side of St. Paul Cathedral and the Festival Gardens. Head east on Paternoster Sq. toward Queens Head Passage. Turn right onto Queens Head Passage. Turn left, turn right, slight right, turn left, turn left and you face the impressive One New Change at 1 New Change. There is a large number of restaurants to choose from In here as well as a number of shops.

    See more on this charming and stunning place at Take the FREE elevator (GLASS LIFT) to the 6th floor, top roof / terrace to see breath-taking, fabulous views of the City of London. A stunning view of the dome and the nearby Old Bailey. You get views across to the Square Mile, St Paul, the Thames, South Bank and beyond. There's a bar up there too, on the roof, but also plenty of space if you just want to wonder around or take a seat in the sunshine and soak in the cityscape. It makes a good alternative to the viewing platform at St Paul:

    St. Paul cathedral fro the top terrace of One New Change Shopping Centre:

  • Citywalk | France
    Updated at Mar 18,2018

    Angers - 1st day:

    Main Attractions: Galerie David d'Angers, Château d'Angers, Tenture de l’Apocalypse (Apocalypse tapestry), Saint-Maurice Cathedral, Rue Saint-Laud, Place du Pilori, Jardin des Plantes, Pont de la Haute Chaîne, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine. 

    Part 1: Galerie David d'Angers, Château d'Angers, Tenture de l’Apocalypse (Apocalypse tapestry).

    Part 2: Saint-Maurice Cathedral, Rue Saint-Laud, Place du Pilori, Jardin des Plantes, Pont de la Haute Chaîne, Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine. 

    Start and End: Ibis Styles, 23 B rue Paul Bert / Le Gare. Duration: 1 day. Weather: Only bright day. Distance: 15-16 km.

    Orientation: We spent 2 days in this rich and wonderful city.  The first day is quite busy and involves a long deal of walks on both sides of the Maine river. The second day is more in leisure. A lively university city today, Angers makes an engaging western gateway to the Loire Valley. The old city is on the river’s left bank, with three bridges crossing to Doutre. Despite the damage of past wars, particularly World War II, Angers is still rich in medieval architecture. NOT ALL the attractions are "covered"@ in our two blogs.
    Introduction: Angers is located 91 km from Nantes, 124 km from Rennes, 132 km from Poitiers and 297 km from Paris. Getting to Angers By Train (SNCF-TGV) : 35 min from Nantes, 90 min from Paris. The old medieval center is dominated by the massive château of the Plantagenêts, home of the Apocalypse Tapestry, the biggest medieval tapestry ensemble in the world. Before the French Revolution, Angers was the capital of the province of Anjou. Angers enjoys a rich cultural life, made possible by its universities and museums. The Angers metropolitan area is a major economic center in western France, particularly active in the industrial sector, tourism and horticulture. The city’s traditional industries such as slate quarrying, distilling, rope and cable manufacture, and weaving have been supplemented by electronics, photographic equipment, and elevators. Angers is on both the Nantes-Paris and Nantes-Lyon railways. The city has several train stations, all originally built in the 19th century.  The main station, Angers Saint-Laud, is on a TGV line and has a direct TGV service to Paris (1 hour 30 minutes), Lyon (3 hours 45 minutes), Strasbourg (4 hours 35 minutes), and Lille (3 hours 25 minutes), as well as Avignon, Marseilles and Montpellier. Regional trains go to Cholet, Saumur, Tours, Blois, Nevers and Bourges. The nearest airport is Angers - Loire Airport.  The airport is located 20 kilometers from Angers. The mostly pedestrianised old town supports a thriving cafe culture, thanks in part to the dynamic presence of 38,000 students, as well as some excellent places to eat. The city is famous for two sets of breathtaking tapestries: the 14th-century Tenture de l’Apocalypse in the city’s medieval château, and the 20th-century Chant du Monde at the Jean Lurçat museum - both of them are "covered" by our daily itinerary. Largest city of the department of Maine et Loire (795 000 people, 27th most important department in France), Angers is situated in the center of the Pays de Loire Region and is home to 149 017 people, and the urban center of an area with a population of close to 270 000 people (18th city of France). Angers is a very young city with 48% under the age of 30.

    Major festivals and events:

    • Festival Premiers Plans (January): an annual competition for promoting young European film makers.
    • Made in Angers (February): more than one hundred companies open their doors to the public for behind-the-scenes tours.
    • Cinemas of Africa (April, biennial).
    • Artaq festival of urban arts (June).
    • Festival d'Anjou (June-July): France’s second-largest theatre festival features some 20 performances, all outdoors and in historic venues.
    • Tempo'Rives (July-August): along the banks of the River Maine. You can enjoy 10 free concerts held in the historic Angers suburb of La Doutre.
    • Festival des Accroche-Cœurs (September): this 3-day pan-European ‘Kiss Curl’ Festival mixes culture, entertainment and fun: street theatre, dance, music, outdoor cinema and art installations.
    • Soleils d’hiver (December): this ‘winter sunshine’ event lights up Angers with a traditional Christmas market and jolly street illuminations.

    Angers Loire Tourisme: 7 place Kennedy 49000 ANGERS. Telephone:
    02 41 23 50 41. Email:

    Our hotel: Ibis Styles, 23 B rue Paul Bert. VERY pleasant hotel. Pretty close to the railway and bus stations. Quiet but central. Clean. Colorful decor. Good, filling, rich buffet-breakfast. Reasonable price. Comfortable beds and bathroom. Coffee and tea were available at reception with take away cups also. A computer for guests use. Turn left out of the hotel, and then up (a modest climb) the street, left again and you reach the heart of Angers.

    Our 1-day Itinerary: From the train station or the Ibis Styles hotel, Paul Berth 23 you head northwest (the railway station is on your left) on Rue Paul Bert toward Rue Béclard, 190 m. Continue onto Boulevard du Roi René, 500 m. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Place du Président Kennedy, 70 m. Continue and climb onto Rue Toussaint  (follow the sign of "Jardin de Musee des Baux Arts") and after 140 m. the Galerie David d'Angers, 33Bis Rue Toussain is on your right. You can enter the gallery from the street (through an old stone arch)

    or via the Beaux Artes museum:

    The way from Jardin de Musee des baux Arts:

    The David d'Angers Gallery : beautifully restored, the former 13th-century Toussaint Abbey is now the home containing works by the sculptor David d'Angers. The Angers-born sculptor Pierre-Jean David (1788–1856) (the French Revolution), or David d’Angers, is renowned for his lifelike sculptures, which adorn public monuments such as the Panthéon and can be seen in the Louvre and Paris' Père Lachaise cemetery. You can see, inside, Interesting sculptures of famous historic people. The setting is also exquisite; the 12th-century or 13th-century Toussaint Abbey was in ruins before it was converted for this museum in 1984, with a new glass roof filling the galleries with natural light. Here in the  Toussaint Abbey, you can admire models and most of his creations. The site is very nice with a mix of ancient style and modern architecture. The church fell into ruin but in 1984 it was restored, a glass roof was added. The ruins have been turned into a bright museum space by the use of copious amounts of glass. This all made an ideal backdrop for the works of sculptor Pierre-Jean David, known as David of Angers. While the sculptural artwork is worth the visit to this museum, the fact that they are displayed in such a dramatic setting greatly enhances the experience !

    David d’Angers was a leading sculptor in the 18th and 19th centuries, receiving commissions from all over Europe and even America.  The gallery is not a big one, but it is packed with so many sculptures and drawings that you are overwhelmed. There are 985 statues, medallions and busts in all, including those for preeminent contemporary figures like Goethe, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Balzac, Chateaubriand, Paganini, Napoleon and La Fayette. On the gallery's upper floor you are invited to make your own drawings of the exhibited pieces of art. Papers, pencils and drawing-boards are made available.

    You can buy combined ticket (€10 combined) for the gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts. There is, even, a better , more extensive-combined ticket, 15€,  for 5 museums in Angers and the Castle (that's a bargain !). Photography allowed.


    Honore de Balzac:

    Victor Hugo:

    Jean Bart:


    Nicolo Paganini:

    Austerlitz Battle:

    From Galerie David d'Angers, 33Bis Rue Toussaint we head west on Rue Toussaint toward Place du Président Kennedy, 140 m. On our right is the Tourist Information Office. We turn right onto Place du Président Kennedy, 110 m. Continue onto Promenade du Bout du Monde for 85 m. facing Château d'Angers, 2 Promenade du Bout du Monde. The  Castle of Angers  was during the Middle Ages the core of the city defense system, composed of tall city walls and river chains to prevent enemy ships from going up the Maine. In the tenth century the counts of Anjou erected a palace inside the Gallo-Roman town enclosure of Angers. From 1230 onward king Louis IX built a massive fortress boasting seventeen towers and two gates around the palace, incorporating part of the town walls. In 1356 king John II granted Anjou to his second son Louis. Becoming Duke, the latter and his descendants refurbished the great hall, rebuilt the residential wing of the palace and added a ceremonial wing and service buildings. Of particular mention are Louis II (built the chapel prior to 1410) and René I (built the royal residence between 1435-1440 and the chatelet in 1450). At the end of the sixteenth century the fortress was adapted to modern warfare. The towers were cropped, the walls were thickened and artillery platforms were installed. Henceforth the site served as a military camp and a prison. 500 British sailors were imprisoned in the castle between 1779-1781 and some carved their names into the walls. Only a single wall of the tenth century palace still stands. Less than one quarter of the buildings erected by the Dukes of Anjou have survived to this day. Today, portions of wall are still visible in Rue Toussaint and Boulevard Carnot, as well as some towers, like the Tour Villebon and the Tour des Anglais. The massive walls (2.5 m. thick) are about one kilometer long and punctuated by 17 towers - each 18 metres in height. Some imagination will be required to visualize the fortress in its heyday. The remaining structures are unfurnished and are mostly used as exhibition rooms, displaying excellent scale models of the castle in its various phases of construction.

    The castle dominates the river Maine and the old town. You can walk around the top of the castle's ramparts, which afford spectacular views, along the Chemin de Rond (Parapet Walk). Some parts of the parapet walk includes steep steps, one access port does has a gently sloping ramp. The Mill Tower in the north corner is the only tower to have retained its original height, and once supported a windmill. On the southern side of the ramparts near the restaurant you can see the original entrance to the castle with its defensive systems and portcullis:

    The Castle Courtyard:

    As you walk around the ramparts you also have lovely views across the roofs of Angers, the flower gardens in the moat, as well as various gardens on the ramparts including a vineyard and a herb garden. There are great views of the Maine and town from the castle walls and you can also take stroll in the sweet formal gardens at the base of the walls in the castle’s former ditches. The interior gardens offer a haven of peace and are well worth lingering. Visitors can discover the stronghold of Angers with the help of a guidebook or an audio guide. They can also participate in a guided tour, lasting about one hour. Allow at least an hour to walk the chateau and perhaps another hour for the tapestries. We spent several hours looking around:

    A purpose built gallery houses the famous tapestry of the Apocalypse, manufactured for duke Louis I between 1373 and 1382. It is the stunning Tenture de l’Apocalypse (Apocalypse tapestry), a 104m-long series of tapestries commissioned in 1375 to illustrate the story of the final battle between good and evil, as prophesied in the Bible's Book of Revelation. it is a majestic work of art. In the 1370s, Louis I, the Duke of Anjou commissioned artist Jean Bondol to make the preliminary sketches for what would become the immense tapestry that is presented inside the castle. The Apocalypse Tapestry was finished in 1382 and would have required as much as 85 accumulative years of labour from its weavers at their workshop in Paris. When it was done it had six sections, each one just over six metres high and 24 metres wide, and is seen by critics as one of the greatest artistic representations of the Book of Revelations and a medieval wonder. The colours are vivid. BUT, to preserve the tapestries, there is little light in the exhibition area, and the interior is painted black, so be aware, it may be difficult to move in there without stumbling. Better guiding lights should have been in place. Each of the panels of the tapestries is labelled so if you don't know what it's about it is difficult to follow the story, which is explained in the guide that you're given but it's too dark to read it. Moreover: the hall with the tapestries is extremely cooled. Bring a sweater or jacket. To see the tapestries in detail - bring your binoculars. Viewing the tapestries is not to be missed. Said to be the largest collection of tapestries in the world. One simply cannot be prepared for the immensity of the tapestries. Words really cannot describe the beauty of a work of art miraculously rescued (for the most part) from having been cut into separate panels. The guided tour of the tapestry leaves from the gift shop:

    From the movie on restoration of the tapestries:

    Now, skip to Tip 2 (below)

  • Citywalk | France
    Updated at Jun 26,2018

    Paris: The 9th arrondissement (quarter) and Montmartre (1/2 day itinerary).

    Main Attractions: Place Saint-Georges, Musée de la Vie romantique, Musée national Gustave Moreau, Place d'Estienne d'Orves, Église Notre-Dame de Lorette,  Rue des Martyrs, Moulin Rouge, Place du Tertre, Espace Dalí, Sacre Coeur Basilica, Paroisse Saint Pierre de Montmartre, 13 Rue du Mont-Cenis, Rue Foyatier, Barbès - Rochechouart Métro station.

    Start: Place Saint-Georges (Closest métro stations: Saint-Georges (line 12). End: Métro station (line 4)  Barbès - Rochechouart.

    Duration: 1/2 day. Weather: no rain. Distance: 7-8 km. Orientation: the three main points are:

    * This is an itinerary for 1/2 or 3/4 day.

    * We left the Montmartre for the afternoon and sunset hours.

    * Not all the Montmartre sights are covered in this blog. More spots and         experiences are detailed in other Tipter Paris blogs.

    Our lodging in Paris: Holiday Inn Gare de L'est. Expensive. We were looking for a last-minute hotel. This hotel was the ONLY one we found with vacant room. Very good breakfast. Rooms: so-so (depending on floor and specific room). The rooms in the 8th floor (the highest one - are NOT recommended).

    Sacre Coeur from Holiday Inn in Gare de l'est:

    Place Saint-Georges is an elegant square with beautiful townhouses that surround it. It owes its charm to the fountain in its centre, its old lampposts, and the mansions around the square. Place Saint-Georges is situated at the junction of rue Saint-Georges and rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in the 9th arrondissement. The square is was laid out in 1824 and named after a real estate transaction by a financial corporation, the Compagnie Saint-Georges. The fountain was placed there for horses to drink from. The fountain was dried up following the construction of the métro and, came alive again, in 1995. At the centre of the square stands the monument of the illustrator Paul Gavarni (1804-1866) - constructed at year 1911. Below, the monument's column is decorated with characters he created:  Pierrot, Lorette and other girls ("filles légères") who lived behind Notre-Dame de Lorette (see below):

    Several  mansions are noteworthy: The mansion of Adolphe Thiers (# 27), behind the Gavarni Monument, was built in 1873. It has since been transformed into a library and hosts, nowadays, the Dosne-Thier Foundation:

    #28 is the mansion of La Païva and was built in 1840 by E. Renaud in neo-Gothic and Renaissance styles. Esther Lachmann  (7 May 1819 – 21 January 1884), was known as La Païva and was the most famous French courtesan of 19th-century. A courtesan is a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person. She was born in Russia and became very influential in Paris of the 19th-century. She married TWO of Europe's richest men (Albino Gonçalves de Araújo and Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck), maintained a noted literary salon out of Hôtel de la Païva, her luxurious mansion at 25 avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris. She lived on Place Saint-Georges in 1851 before moving later to the new luxurious mansion at 25 avenue des Champs-Élysées: 

    If you have enough time - get a stroll in the nearby streets (like, Rue d'Aumale west to the Saint George square) to admire a few Haussmann-era buildings with elegant iron balcony railings.

    With our back to the Saint-George métro station - we turn left (north-west) to Rue Notre Dame de Lorette. This is the most chic area in the 9th arrondissement. Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Street is served by the line (M) (12) at Saint-Georges and Notre-Dame-de-Lorette stations , as well as by bus lines 26 32 43 67 74 . We walk until we arrive to a big junction. Here, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Street changes its name to Rue Pierre Fontaine. Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle is on your right. We turn LEFT (still, north-west) to Rue Chaptal. Walk 130 m. and you arrive to the Museum of Romantic Life, 16 Rue Chaptal. The Musée de la Vie romantique (The Museum of Romantic Life, or Museum of the Romantics)  or Hôtel Scheffer-Renan stands at the foot of Montmartre hill. It is an hôtel particulier building equipped with a greenhouse, a small garden, and a paved courtyard. A tribute to the tradition of 19th century French Romanticism, the Musée de la Vie Romantique offers a free permanent collection. The museum is open daily 10.00 - 18.00 except Monday. Permanent collections : FREE. Temporary exhibitions: Full price : €8, reduced price : €6. It is one of the City of Paris' three literary museums, along with the Maison de Balzac and the Maison de Victor Hugo. The nearest métro stations are Pigalle, Blanche, Saint-Georges, and Liège. The main house, built in 1830, was the Paris base of the Dutch-born painter Ary Scheffer (1795–1858), close friend to King Louis-Philippe and his family. For decades, Scheffer and his daughter hosted Friday-evening salons, among the most famous in La Nouvelle Athènes. George Sand (1804–1876) used to come as a neighbour with Frédéric Chopin. Other guests or participants were: Eugène Delacroix, Franz Liszt, Gioacchino Rossini and singer Pauline Viardot. Later in the century, Charles Dickens, Ivan Turgueniev, and Charles Gounod attended regularly.
    The Museum displays on the first floor family portraits, household possessions, pieces of jewelry and memorabilia - mainly, of George Sand - including number of her own unique and rare watercolours paintings called "dendrites". On the second floor there are a number of Romantic canvases, sculptures and paintings by Ary Scheffer and other 19th century French contemporaries.

    From the Museum of Romantic Life - we retrace our steps along Rue Chaptal. Head east on Rue Chaptal toward Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, 130 m. Continue onto Rue Notre Dame de Lorette, 30 m. Turn right onto Rue de la Rochefoucauld, 270 m. On our left is the The Musée national Gustave Moreau, 14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld. The nearest métro stations are Saint-Georges and Trinité – d'Estienne d'Orves. The Musée national Gustave Moreau is an art museum dedicated to the works of Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau. The museum was originally Moreau's dwelling, transformed by his 1895 decision into a studio and museum of his work with his apartment remaining on the first floor. Today the museum contains Moreau's drawings, paintings, watercolors, and sculptures. Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10.00 - 12.45 and 14.00 - 17.15. Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.00 - 17.15. Tuesdays - closed. Prices: adult: €6, concessions: €4. Gustave Moreau first rose to fame with the exhibition in the 1864 Salon of his Oedipe et le sphinx. From the 1880s onwards, he increasingly shrank from public exhibition. This house in Nouvelle Athens, which had been his childhood home, became his increasing focus during this period of his life. In 1895, he commissioned the young architect Albert Lafon to convert it from hôtel particulier into a museum including a dedicated gallery space, private domestic quarters and studio. The latter extended over the second and third floor, connected by a small staircase, providing space for hundreds of paintings and thousands of drawings. In 1897, Moreau decided to bequeath the house and its contents to the French nation, in the hope that its preservation in total would 'allow the public to appreciate the culmination of the artist's lifelong work and labour'. When it opened to the public in 1903, the Musée Moreau had in its collection some 14,000 works. The museum appears today much as it did then, and includes a major collection of paintings both by Moreau and his contemporaries. Wealth of mythological and biblical subjects paintings. Wonderful spiral flight of stairs connecting the painter's drawing rooms and his past studios. From this huge collection of paintings and artifacts - certainly, you can find some wonderful gems and unforgettable pictures. A moving journey to La Belle Époque of Paris during the era of the French Third Republic:

    With your back to the museum - turn left and head south on Rue de la Rochefoucauld toward Rue de la Tour des Dames, 15 m. Turn right onto Rue de la Tour des Dames, 170 m. Turn left onto Rue Blanche, 80 m. Continue straight onto Place d'Estienne d'Orves, 45 m. Place d'Estienne d'Orves resides exactly between the Chaussée-d'Antin district and the Saint-Georges district of the 9th district of Paris. The place d'Estienne-d'Orves is served by the line (M) (12) at the Trinité - d'Estienne d'Orves station , as well as close by the 80 99 bus lines. The painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted the place several times during his life. 

    This extensive square is a pleasant stop, facing the imposing Trinity Church. You can rest on some benches installed in a circle in front of the facade of the church, sheltered by some trees or in the amusement park (WI-FI connection !). You will discover this garden at the foot of the Trinity Church. At the top of the staircase leading to it, three statues, "Faith", "Charity" and "Hope", by Duret and Lequesne protect three children at the foot of which three bronze vases allow the water to fall back. You will certainly see sparrows or pigeons come to drink there. The square is very noisy due to its proximity to a big intersection with a lot of traffic. The Trinity Church dominates this square:

    Withour back to the church in Place d'Estienne d'Orves we turn left. Head south on Place d'Estienne d'Orves toward Rue Saint-Lazare, 35 m. Turn left onto Rue de Châteaudun, 500 m. note the building at Rue de Châteaudun #44:

    In the intersection with rue Laffitte - satnds Église Notre-Dame de Lorette. An earlier chapel of the same name was situated at 54 rue Lamartine but was destroyed during the French Revolution. In 1821, plans were made to rebuild Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, with Louis-Hippolyte Lebas the sole architect. Originally, the church was planned to face northward towards Montmartre, but eventually faced southward towards rue Laffitte. Construction of the church began in 1823 under the reign of Louis XVIII and was completed in 1836 under the reign of Louis-Philippe. Architect Hippolyte Lebas, 1823-1836. The austere structure of Roman basilica contrasts with the pompous interior design Louis-Philippe style. Musician Georges Bizet was baptized at the church on March 16, 1840, and painter Claude Monet was baptized on May 20, 1841. The early 19th century is characterized with neoclassical style, with the church also being designed in this manner. The façade features Charles-François Lebœuf's sculpture: Six angels in adoration before the Madonna and Child. 


    We continue walking several steps east along Rue de Châteaudun (beyond the church and its intersection with rue Laffitte) and turn LEFT (north) to Rue Flechier. We continue CLIMBING northward along Rue des Martyrs (Metro: Notre-Dame-De-Lorette) (this road climbs upwards into the base of Montmartre). This is the main shopping and market street of the 9th arrondissement - an authentic food shopping experience. It is home to nearly 200 small shops and restaurants. Actually, rue des Martyrs cuts through the formerly working-class ninth and 18th arrondissements. This street is said to have been named after Saint Denis - the first bishop of Paris (250 AD). Tradition has it that Saint Denis, the patron saint of France, was beheaded here in the third century. According to the legend, Saint Denis managed to walk several miles through Paris, preaching while holding his head in his arms. He finally collapsed in the Saint Denis suburbs, a place that is now the site of a beautiful medieval Basilica. Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted acrobats at the circus on the corner, Emile Zola situated a lesbian dinner club here in his novel Nana, and François Truffaut filmed scenes from Les 400 Coups. Rue des Martyrs is mentioned in Gustave Flaubert’s L’Education Sentimentale, arguably the most influential French novel of the 19th century, and in Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-Ami. Rue des Martyrs is now one of the nicest streets in Paris, home to bohemian concept stores and culinary shops beloved by Parisian foodies. Starting from Notre Dame de Lorette, Rue des Martyrs leads up through Pigalle, all the way to Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur. Once, it was known for its dodgy bars and restaurants, Rue des Martyrs, is now a a Mecca for culinary Parisians. This neighbourhood was once a little run down and dirty, although just as lively and popular as it is today. La Chambre aux Confitures (number 9, part of a small chain) sells more than 100 jams, chutneys and chocolate spreads. Première Pression Provence next door specializes in French olive oil. Pâtisserie des Martyrs (#22) may make the best lemon tart in all of Paris and a perfect assortment of other luxury confections. Apiculturists offers honey-based everything: candles, lotion, tea, nougat, and pollen grains at #30 Rue des Martyrs. Mesdemoiselles Madeleines at #37 makes only Madeleines, the little shell-shaped sponge cakes. Rose bakery #46 was under construction works in May 2017 and, presently, it is beyond its past-famed heydays. There’s always an appetizing selection of healthy organic salads and quiches – not to mention, Rose’s famous carrot cake, zingy lemon loaf, and freshly-made scones. People Drugstore at #78 offers hundreds of brands of beers:

    Boulangerie (intersection with rue Manuel):

    As we climb rue des Martyrs - we pass Place Lino Ventura:

    At the end of climbing Rue des Martyrs - Boulevard de Rochechouart is on our right and Boulvard de Clichy is on our left.

    We turn left (north-west) and walk, carefully, along Boulvard de Clichy, for 150 m. until we arrive to Place Pigalle.

    The Boulevard de Cichy is located near the Paris Metro stations Place de Clichy, Blanche, and Pigalle, and served  2, 12  and 13 bus lines. A bit of a dodgy area but feel safe. At Boulvard de Clichy # 68-70 resides the old cabaret, Le Chat noir (The Black Cat), which originally opened (at 1881) around the corner at 84 Boulevard Rouchechouart. This place was famous for its excellent (and vulgar)  entertainments.

    adjacent (west) to the Le Chat Noir are two more famous "institutes". At #. 72: Musée de l'Erotisme (Museum of Eroticism) - closed from year 2016. At # 82, beginning in 1889, this is where the Moulin-Rouge (Red Mill), the home of the Can-can, opened its doors. It was founded by Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler. It is famous all over the world by the red windmill on its roof. The Moulin Rouge is the birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance. The can-can dance revue evolved into a form of entertainment of its own and led to the introduction of cabarets across Europe. Today, the Moulin Rouge is a tourist attraction, offering musical dance entertainment for visitors from around the world. The club's decor still contains much of the romance of la Belle Époque in France. The Expositions Universelles of 1889 and 1900 are symbols of this period. The Eiffel Tower was also constructed in 1889. On 6 October 1889, the Moulin Rouge opened in the Jardin de Paris, at the foot of the Montmartre hill. The extravagant setting – the garden was adorned with a gigantic elephant – allowed people from all walks of life to mix. Workers, residents of the Place Blanche, artists, the middle classes, businessmen, elegant women, and foreigners passing through Paris rubbed shoulders. Nicknamed "The First Palace of Women" by Oller and Zidler, the cabaret quickly became a great success. The place was loved by artists, including Toulouse-Lautrec whose posters and paintings secured rapid and international fame for the Moulin Rouge. The early years of the Moulin Rouge were marked by extravagant shows, inspired by the circus and clowns' performances. One event in the history of Moulin Rouge is the visit of Edward VII. In 26 October 1890 the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, who on a private visit to Paris, booked a table to see this quadrille whose reputation had already crossed the Channel. Recognising him, La Goulue, the famous can-can dancer, with her leg in the air, spontaneously called out "Hey, Wales, the champagne's on you!". In January 1903 the Moulin Rouge reopened its doors after renovation and improvement work carried out by Édouard Niermans, the most famous architect of the Belle Époque in Europe. Until the First World War, the Moulin Rouge became a real temple of operetta. In 27 February 1915 the Moulin Rouge was destroyed by fire. In 1921 the rebuilt Moulin Rouge reopened. After World War I the Moulin Rouge took off again, thanks to stars such as Mistinguett, Jeanne Aubert, and Maurice Chevalier, and gave the first showing in Paris of American revues. During the Second World War years (1939–1945) the German Occupation 'Guide aryien' counted the Moulin Rouge among the must visits in Paris for its troops. The famous Moulin Rouge stage shows continued for the occupation troops. In 1944, a few days after the liberation of Paris, Edith Piaf, who had been a frequent performer at German Forces social gatherings, during the Second World War, and had been considered a traitor by many, performs again at the Moulin Rouge, with Yves Montand, a newcomer chosen to appear with her. In 22 June 1951 Georges France, called Jo France acquires the Moulin Rouge and starts major renovation work. The evening dances, the acts, and the famous French cancan were back at the Moulin Rouge. In 19 May 1953 performs Bing Crosby, on the first time, on an European stage. The evening attracts 1,200 artists and stars from around the world, including Josephine Baker who sings "J'ai deux amours". Between 1951 and 1960, manyf famous artists appear including: Luis Mariano, Charles Trénet, Charles Aznavour, Line Renaud, Bourvil, Fernand Raynaud, Lena Horne. In 1955 Jo France transfers the Moulin Rouge to the brothers Joseph and Louis Clérico who already own Le Lido cabaret. In 1960 the Revue Japonaise, entirely composed of Japanese artists, launches the Kabuki in Montmartre. In 1962 - the first aquatic ballet in Moulin Rouge. Still,  the famous French cancan is performed at every revue. In 7 September 1979 the Moulin Rouge celebrates its 90th birthday. On stage, for the first time in Paris, Ginger Rogers is surrounded by various stars including Thierry Le Luron, Dalida, Charles Aznavour, Jean-Claude Brialy (later, movies star), Georges Chakiris,  Zizi Jeanmaire. On 23 November 1981 the Moulin Rouge closes for one evening to present its show to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 4 February 1982 - one-off show with Liza Minnelli. 3 July 1984 - gala with Dean Martin.
    25 September 1984 - gala with Frank Sinatra. 1 December 1986- Mikhail Baryshnikov, creates an original ballet by Maurice Béjart at the Moulin Rouge. On 20 February 1988 Prince Edward is the guest of honour. 6 October 1989 -  Centenary (!) gala with Charles Aznavour, Lauren Bacall, Ray Charles, Tony Curtis, Ella Fitzgerald, Gipsy Kings, Margaux Hemingway, Barbara Hendricks, Dorothy Lamour, Jerry Lewis, Jane Russell, Charles Trénet, and Esther Williams (!). 14 November 1999 - last showing of the Centenary revue Formidable, seen by more than 4.5 million spectators between 1988 and 1999. 6 October 2014 - Moulin Rouge celebrates its 125th anniversary. Unique club or cabaret with UNBELIEVABLE history and record of international fame and success. As for the spectacles nowadays - remember two facts: No photos during the show and less formal dress code is allowed. Not cheap but, well worth it !

    Place Pigalle (Pigalle Square) draws its name from the sculptor, Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (1714–1785). At the end of the 19th century, it was a neighbourhood of painters' studios and literary cafés of which the most renowned was the Nouvelle Athènes (New Athens). The area around is busy, noisy, dirty and not worth more than a quick photo:

    Now, we head (mostly, climb up) to Montmartre. From Place Pigalle - head northeast on Place Pigalle toward Boulevard de Clichy, 60 m. Continue, still northward,  onto Rue Houdon, 190 m. Turn left (north-west) onto Rue des Abbesses, 400 m. We elaborate more on Rue des Abbesses in another Tipter blog.  Rue des Abbesses continues in the same direction (north-west, and, later, north, north-east and, finally, eastward) as Rue Lepic. Rue Lepic is an ancient road climbing the hill of Montmartre from the boulevard de Clichy to the place Jean-Baptiste-Clément. In 1852 it was renamed rue de l'Empereur, and renamed again in 1864, after the General Louis Lepic (1765-1827). It is a long and demanding climb along this road until we arrive almost to the top of Montmartre hill. This street winds up the slope of Montmartre and features cafes, restaurants, some charming houses, including the two mentioned below. Scenic walk, but it is very steep.  Even if the walk is not easy - this street has all the charm of Paris located in one delightful locale. Many small bars, bakeries, and grocers adorn the lower levels, while the upper levels that lead to Sacre-Coeur are lined with pre 1900 multi story apartments.  Rue Lepic is our sportive and quaint alternative to reach Sacre Coeur without the crowds, steps, dirt and pickpockets (the tourist hordes at the main steps of the Sacre Coeur are unavoidable).

    Rue Lepic #15 - setting of the movie "Emillie" - Cafe des Deux Moulins:

    At #54, lived Van Gogh and his brother Théo, on the third floor, from 1886 to 1888:

    Rue Lepic #61 - "Le mulin de la galette", one of the last remaining historical windmills in Montmartre:

    From Le Moulin de la Galette - it is, still, 350 m. climb up until the famous squares of Montmartre. Head northeast on Rue Girardon toward Rue Norvins, 35 m. Turn right (north-east) onto Rue Norvins, 260 m. Turn right onto Place du Tertre, 40 m. Place du Tertre. The hilltop village of Montmartre has an exciting past. Before it became a part of Paris, it was a quaint village covered in little farms, vineyards and windmills. During the Belle Époque, it became a haven for artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Maurice Utrillo, Van Gogh and Picasso thanks to its more affordable cost of living and cheap wine (it was exempt from Paris’s wine tax)! Here, an artistic community was formed, and a lively cabaret culture flourished, many of which you can still see standing today. Place du Tertre used to be the main square in the village of Montmartre before it was absorbed into the modern day city of Paris. Artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Pissarro, Modigliani and many more, have all drawn inspiration from what has become known as “The Artist’s Square”. This little square is famous for the artists lined up on all sides to sell paintings or to draw your portrait or caricature and the accordion playing musicians. The square also is surrounded by overpriced restaurants with indoor and sidewalk seating, as well as tables in the square itself. This lively square resides off one block beyond the Basilica du Sacre-Coeur. Good place, especially for both a sunrise and sunset. Touristy, but still full of Parisienne character. Place du Tertre has to be Montmartre's heart. The picturesque square on the hill gets views of the Sacre Coeur church. BTW, The artists located in the square of Place due Tertre pay an annual fee of just over 550 euros for a 1 sqm. space, which is shared on an alternating roster with another artist. Essentially they only work half the week. Nevertheless, with more than ten million visitors per month to this fine street, this has the potential to be a lucrative business. Currently an artist must make an application and display proof of their artistic abilities to an official at the town hall of Montmartre, then they may be invited to join the ten year waiting list for acceptance. Currently there are a little under 300 painters, portraitists, caricaturist and silhouette artist’s formally and legally operating at Place du Tertre. Don’t get caught! A common tourist trap is not setting a price first before the artist begins the portrait. 10 euros might be a reasonable price... Many people assume that tertre is a derivative of Montmartre, but it is actually much more straightforward than that. Tertre simply translates as a small hill, and place means a public square. Therefore, the Place du Tertre isn’t anything more than a very descriptive name, since it sits on the top of Paris’s largest hill at about 130 meters height.

    From Place du Tertre - we make a short detour to Espace Dali. From Place du Tertre head south for 60 m. Turn left to stay on Place du Tertre, 25 m. Turn right onto Place du Calvaire, 40 m. Continue onto Rue Poulbot the special museum of Dalí Paris, 11 Rue Poulbot is on your right. Open everyday 10.00 - 18.30. Prices: adult - € 12, youngsters (8-26) - € 9. At this small and unique museum, visitors can sample the curious and provocative world of Salvador Dalí the famous surrealist artist. The Espace Dalí is the only museum in France entirely devoted to the work (paintings, sculptures, and graphics) of Salvador Dalí. It is a limited exhibition in quantity BUT, quite high in quality and perfectly organized. Many of the artworks illustrate characters from literature such as Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, and excerpts from the Bible. Amazing photo opportunities. Visitors will be awed by the artist's renowned sculptures: Venus de Milo (Dalí's version), the unusual Femme Girafe and a mysterious rendition of Alice in Wonderland. The classically inspired Femme Rétrospectif was Dalí's first sculpture. Provoking, but, still,  delightful. Audio guide in a variety of alnguages BUT with an additional fee. Not cheap. Allow, at least, 1 hour:

    RETURN (130 m. walk) TO Place du tertre. The Sacre Coeur Basilica is one block more to the east. But, still, you have to walk 250 m. until you arrive to its entrance. Head east on Place du Tertre toward Rue Norvins, 50 m. Turn right onto Rue Norvins, 15 m. Slight right onto Rue du Mont-Cenis, 55 m. Turn left (east) onto Rue Azais, 100 m. Turn right onto Parvis du Sacré-Cœur and take the stairs, 70 m. to Sacre Coeur Basilica, 1 Parvis du Sacré-Cœur. Metro: Anvers, Abbesses, Château-Rouge, Lamarck-Caulaincourt, Bus: 30, 54, 80, 85, Montmartrobus. Opening hours: The Sacre Coeur Basilica is open every day from 06.00. to 22.30. Entrance is FREE. Many people choose to visit the Basilica at night. Why? Partly because it is more romantic of course, and the sky over Paris is especially lovely during summer nights. One of Paris’ most visited monuments. A majestic, WHITE, impressive edifice atop the hillock of Montmartre. The whipped-cream look of the edifice is mainly due to its stone which came from the Château-Landon quarries. In wet weather, the calcite contained in the stone acts like a bleacher to give the church a definite chalky white appearance. ‘Sacré-Cœur’ means ‘Sacred-Heart’ in English and is a reference to the heart of Jesus, which is the representation of his divine love for humanity.

    The top of the hill of Montmartre where the church now stands has been a sacred site where druids were thought to have worshiped there. The Romans had built temples dedicated to gods Mars and Mercury. At first glance you may think the Basilica is very old because of its style of architecture, but it was actually built in the late 1800’s. Its design is based on the style used in the ancient Romano-Byzantine empire, which you can see more often in the southern regions of France. Authorized by the National Assembly in 1873, the project was to build an imposing Christian church visible from all over Paris. The cathedral was built to honour those who perished during the French Revolution and during the Franco-Prussian war, and to make good for the 'crimes' committed by the Paris Commune. As well as honouring those who died it was also built to inspire faith into the French people who lived on and struggled during what was a very trying era. Originally the funds for the construction of Sacre Coeur were to be only from wealthy donors. Seventy-eight different architects entered a competition for the right to design Sacre Couer. The winning design was submitted by a veteran architect named Abadie. Abadie was already well known for his restoration of the St. Front Cathedral in Perigueux. The foundation stone of the Basilique Sacré-Coeur was laid in 1875. It was consecrated in 1891, fully completed in 1914, and elevated to the status of a basilica in 1919, after the end of the WW1.

    Sacre Couer from rue du Chevalier-de-La-Barre:

    The Bell Tower is not open to visitors.  The church bell tower is also enormous, in fact it is one of the largest and heaviest in the world weighing 19 tons. However, despite its size the inside of the Basilica de Sacre-Coeur is vast rather than interesting and fails to live up to the expectations you have from the outside. The great bell, the Savoyarde, is one of the world's heaviest bells at 19 tons:

    Access to the Basilique Dome is outside the Basilica on the left. There are 300 steps to climb and no lift. Opening hours: Every day from 08.30 to 20.00  (May to September) and 9.00 to 17.00  (October to April). From the top of the dome of Sacré-Cœur (accessible to the public by stairs), a breathtaking view of Paris extends to La Défense, the Eiffel Tower, the Montparnasse Tower, the Panthéon, the Bois de Vincennes, the Buttes-Chaumont and the basilica of Saint-Denis. Nearly all the monuments of Paris can be seen with the binoculars. it is the second-highest viewpoint after the Eiffel Tower. The walk around the inside of the dome alone is worth the climb. The dome is supported by 80 columns, each topped with a different capital.

    Every Sunday: 11.00 High mass with the Little Singers of Montmartre, 18.00 and 20.15 Last masses. You can walk into the cathedral for FREE and take photos of the stained glass windows and various pulpits. If you're lucky, you can hear the nuns singing which is lovely (no photos and silence whilst service is on).

    Inside, the Sacré-Coeur is dim and rather gloomy except for the golden mosaics glowing from apse. This apse mosaic, designed by Luc-Olivier Merson (1922), is the largest in the world. It depicts Christ in Majesty and The Sacred Heart worshiped by the Virgin Mary, Joan of Arc and St. Michael the Archangel. The floor plan is an equal-armed Greek cross, with a large dome (83m high) over the crossing. In the huge choir, 11 tall round arches support a barrel vault. The main portal has grand bronze doors with foliage designs. Created in Romano-Byzantine style, the Sacre-Coeur has several design elements that represent nationalism as the principal theme. The triple-arched portico is surmounted by two bronze equestrian statues of France's national saints, Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis IX, designed by Hippolyte Lefebvre. The crypt (might be closed) contains statues of saints and a relic that some believe to be the very Sacred Heart (Sacré-Coeur) of Christ. The Sacre-Coeur Basilica houses a large pipe organ, constructed by Aristide Cavaille-Coll, containing 78 speaking stops and 109 ranks extending across the 32-note pedalboard and four 61-note manuals. At the rear of the grounds is a contemplative garden and fountain:


    Sacre Couer is one of the best places in Paris, rivaled only Montparnasse Tower and the Eiffel Tower, for a birds eye view of the city. When you get to the Sacre Coeur, there are stunning views (mainly, incredible views of Parisian rooftops) over Paris. 

    If you don't want to climb the steps you can get the venicular tram up for a couple of euros. Particularly convenient for handicapped, elderly and children is to take the Petit Train from the Moulin Rouge to the Place du Tertre - 6,50€ per adult:

    We start our way back from the Montmartre. From Sacre Coeur Basilica we walk southwest on Parvis du Sacré-Cœur toward Rue du Cardinal Guibert. Take the stairs, 70 m.  Turn right onto Rue du Cardinal Guibert, 95 m. Turn left onto Rue du Chevalier de la Barre (get nice  photos of Sacre Coeur - see above), 85 m. On your right, at the intersection of 13 Rue du Mont-Cenis - note a plaque paying tribute to the old cabaret of Patachou that packed Parisian nights in the past. Patachou is one of the most popular singers of the post-war period in France. Henriette Ragon, of her real name, grew up in Paris. In 1948, Henriette Ragon opens with her husband "Chez Patachou", a tea room and a restaurant. She then hires an accordionist to offer a musical atmosphere and sometimes "push the ditty". Seduced by her voice, customers push her to try the song. It is a success and journalists are hurrying into what will quickly become the cabaret "Chez Patachou" of Montmartre. The biggest names came to perform in this famous cabaret. Jacques Brel sings for three years. In January 1952, it was the turn of Georges Brassens to make himself known thanks to the Patachou scene, pushed by his friend Pierre Galante, a journalist at Paris Match. Sung by Patachou, the songs Brave Margot and the Lovers of the public benches pack the spectators and Georges Brassens goes up to sing including The Gorilla and Fuck of you:

    At the NORTH end of Rue du Mont-Cenis stands Paroisse Saint Pierre de Montmartre, 2 rue du Mont Cenis. Opening hours: everyday from 9.00 to 19.30 except on Friday from 9.00 to 18.00. The historic Saint-Pierre de Montmartre, one of the oldest churches in the city definitely deserves a visit. Saint Pierre de Montmartre is the oldest church in Paris. It replaces an ancient chapel where pilgrims stopped over on their way to the Basilica of Saint-Denis in the north of Paris. This first chapel was erected on the site of the Temple of Mars built by the Romans after they invaded France 20 centuries ago. It is the only remainder of the old royal Benedictine convent of Montmartre, built in the 12th century by order of King Louis VI and his wife, Adelaide of Savoie. The Church was partitioned in 1134 and was hence able to receive both Benedictines and parishioners at the same time. Restored by Sauvageot in 1905, the interior of the church has some beautiful contemporary stained glass windows by the master stained glass window maker Max Ingrand, and outside there are bronze doors dating from 1980. Next door is the Jardin du Calvaire (Calvary Garden; closed), which contains Stations of the Cross created for Richelieu. THe adjacent cemetery (rarely open) contains the tomb of the circumnavigator Louis Bougainville (1729-1811) and the sculptor Pigalle (1714-85):

    The church is built on a traditional Latin-cross plan, with three aisles and a transept, and is a jumble of medieval and later styles. Inside, the nave is Romanesque but is covered with a 15th-century vault and flanked by aisles added in 1765 (north) and c.1838 (south). The windows are filled with stained glass windows of the 20th century. The transept and choir are also Romanesque, and the choir has one of the earliest ribbed vaults in Paris (c.1147). The apse was rebuilt in the late 12th century. Behind the altar is the tomb of Adelaide de Savioe, the nunnery's foundress and the mother of King Louis VI. Four marble Roman columns with Merovingian capitals (7th century) can be seen in the church: two against the west wall, one at the apse entrance and one in the north aisle:

    Head south on Rue du Mont-Cenis toward Rue Saint-Rustique, 60 m. Turn left to stay on Rue du Mont-Cenis, 55 m. Continue east onto Rue Saint-Eleuthere - heading to the Funiculaire station, 60 m. 

    Rue Saint-Eleuthere:

    Turn your head to the south to get a sunset view of Tour Eiffel:

    On your right - Espace Montmartre. A unique building in Montmartre with a panoramic view over Paris, the Sacré Coeur, the Eiffel Tower. A building built for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900.

    We take the stairs and descend along Rue Foyatier. One of the most famous streets in Paris, it consists of flights of stairs giving access to the top of the hill, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, and the other attractions of the upper-Montmartre neighborhood. The Montmartre funicular runs alongside it:

    view of Sacre Coeur from Rue Foyatier:

    At the southern end of Rue Foyatier we turn LEFT (east) to Place Saint-Pierre. Facing you are the grassy and terraced gardens leading you to the basilica. The gardens were once gypsum quarries, hence the odd design.  it's time to take the obligatory photos no (see photo above). If you are hungry, grab a crepe or sandwich from the stand on your left, or the pleasant café with the best view of the gardens and basilica on your right.

    Turn RIGHT (south-east) to Rue Seveste. Head southeast on Rue Seveste toward Passage Briquet. Turn left onto Boulevard de Rochechouart. Turn right. Turn left and you arrive to the Métro station (line 4) of Barbès - Rochechouart.