Tip 4: From Bolshaya Konyushennaya to the Summer Palace:
From the Market Place Restaurant (Nevsky Prospekt #24) (3 minutes walk west from the Nevsky Prospekt Metro station) - we head west on Nevsky Prospekt, 110 m. Then, we turn right onto Bolshaya Konyushennaya ulitsa (ул. Большая Конюшенная). The avenue is located between Konyushennaya Square and Nevsky Prospect. It was laid out in the early 1730s from the Court Stable (in Russian, Konyushenny) Yard buildings. This side street of Nevsky Prospekt, for its part, was constructed in the 1730s and 1740s near the heart of the power centre of St. Petersburg, the Winter Palace, but also deliberately as the centre for foreign congregations. Thus it came to embrace the
Lutheran churches of that day, the Finnish and Swedish churches (on Malaya Konyushennaya) being amongst them. During the 1880s and 1890s the Bolshaya Konyushennaya underwent a sudden change, a building process of five-storey high stone houses, giving the street an impressive neo-Renaissance and national romantic appearance. Bolshaya Konyushennaya did not enclose any park, but it was also later to get a small boulevard of trees in the middle. After its hectic
building period it also housed a department store. Bolshaya Konyushennaya gained, more and more - a Scandinavian (or, at least, multi-cultural) character. Around 1900 some 10% of the population of St Petersburg was Lutheran. The Lutheran group included Germans, Dutch, Swedes, Danes, Norwegians and Finns. The Swedish congregation consisted of 5,200 members before the First World War and
the Finnish Church had over 17,000 members. At most St Petersburg housed 24,000 Finns, which meant that St Petersburg in 1880 was the second biggest “Finnish” city. Most of them lived in this area of SPB.During the years 1918 - 1991 the street was called Zhelyabova Street, in memory of А. I. Zhelyabov). The avenue is full with history and historical buildings. It includes the Finnish Lutheran Church (house No 6а),
N. A. Meltzer's apartment house (house No 19/8. 1904-05, architect F. I. Lidval), the Gvardeysky Economic Society House of Commerce (house No 21-23, today DLT Trade Company),
and the French Reformed Church of St. Paul (house No 25, 1770-73, architect U. M. Velten, rebuilt in 1858, architect Y. O. Dutel). In the 1730s, the cabinet-minister A. P. Volynsky's mansion (Nos 21-23) stretched all the way to the Moika River. House No 27 was part of the Demut Hotel complex (see Demutov Inn), housing the Medved Restaurant (1878-1929), and a variety theatre (from 1938) where the famous Soviet stand up comedian A. I. Raykin performed for quite some time.
From the 1930s, the French Church building accommodated the City M. I. Chigorin Chess Club. In the 1850-60s, I. S. Turgenev lived in house No 13; in 1889-93, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov lived in house No 11, А. А. Rylov in house No 19, and architect N. A. Trotsky in house No 15. Nowadays, the avenue image is a bit different: the whole length of the ostentatious boulevard Bolshaya Ulitsa is seamed with international luxury labels like Louis Vuitton, Omega, Christian Louboutin, Dior, and Brunello Cucinelli. Just stroll on, even if your budget can only manage window shopping. It’ll still be fun:
We recommend walking approx. 550 - 600 m. NORTHWARD along Konyushennaya (until Konyushennaya Square) and back, SOUTHWARD on the other side of this avenue. Returning back to Nevsky Prospekt, we turn RIGHT (west) to this famous street and walk 150 m. until we arrive to the Moyka river. Cross the river along Nevsky Prospekt over the Green Bridge and cross the Nevsky Prospekt avenue from its northern side to the southern side, walking onto nab. Reki Moyki on the EASTERN bank of the Moyka river - when Stroganov Palace and the Moyka river are on your LEFT (east) and the river on your RIGHT (west):
A bit further southward, still, on our left - the Kazan Cathedral gardens. Walk approx. 400 m. down (southward) along the Moyka river until you arrive to the Red Bridge (Кра́сный мост, Krasniy most). The bridge's name dates from a 19th-century tradition of color-coding the bridges crossing the Moika River. Like other colored bridges, the Red Bridge got its name from the colour of its sides facing the river. Today only four colored bridges survive, the other ones being the Blue Bridge, the Green Bridge and the Yellow Bridge respectively. Three of them have kept their original names, but Yellow Bridge has been renamed to Pevchesky Bridge. The Red Bridge is, actually, a part of Gorokhovaya Street. The length of the bridge is 42 m., the width is 16.8 m. The first cast iron bridge on the site was built in 1808-1813. The bridge was rebuilt in 1953 by architect V.V. Blazhevich. In the same year four small obelisks topped with small bronze spheres were added to the bridge's granite piers. Also, the original cast iron structure of the bridge was replaced by the welded steel arches but most of the decorations are still left intact:
We cross the Red Bridge and move from the east bank of Moyka river to its west side, continuing north-west up along Gorokhovaya street. Walk along Gorokhovaya 140 m.
(at the end of this road - you can see, clearly, the famous top of the Admirality building.
We turn right (north-east) to Bolshaya Morskaya ulitsa. Bolshaya Morskaya Street (Grand Sea Street) is located from the General Staff Arch to Kryukov Canal and full with period building, still, with the past glamor.We shall walk the whole Morskaya street from the Gorokhovaya intersection until its end in the Winter Palace Square (approx. 500 m.). The direction of our walk is from south-east (later, south) to north.
The street was constructed in the early 18th century, in Morskaya settlement (hence the name). After fires of 1736-37, the main part of the street from Nevsky Prospect towards St. Isaac's Square was called Bolshaya Gostinaya (Gostinnaya) Street due to the project of Gostiny Dvor construction (has not been implemented). In 1755-67, the street between Nevsky Prospect and Kirpichny Lane was blocked up with the temporary wooden Winter Palace. In 1902, on account of Morskaya Malaya Street renamed Gogolya Street, the whole street was referred to as Morskaya. Always one of St. Pe
tersburg’s most fashionable streets, shady Bolshaya Morskaya ulitsa is the choice of the artistic elite to this day. It has some exceedingly handsome 19th - century mansions hidden away, especially, between St Isaac’s Square and Pochtamtskiy most.
Interesting buildings right (east) or close to to Gorokhovaya street / Bolshaya Morskaya Street intersection:
Alexander Pushkin lived in Building 26 in 1832.
Building 24 belonged to Faberge firm (1899), today it houses Yakhont Jeweller's. Peter Carl Fabergé, (Карл Густавович Фаберже Karl Gustavovich Faberzhe, (30 May 1846 – 24 September 1920), was a Russian jeweller, best known for the famous Fabergé eggs, made in the style of genuine Easter eggs, but using precious metals and gemstones. In 1885, Tsar Alexander III gave the House of Fabergé the title; ‘Goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown’. The Tsar also commissioned the company to make an Easter egg as a gift for his wife, the Empress Maria. The Tsar placed an order for another egg the following year. Beginning in 1887, the Tsar apparently gave Carl Fabergé complete freedom with regard to egg designs, which then became more and more elaborate. The next Tsar, Nicholas II, ordered two eggs each year, one for his mother and one for his wife, Alexandra. The tradition continued until the October Revolution. Although the House of Fabergé is famed for its Imperial Easter eggs, it made many more objects ranging from silver tableware to fine jewelry. Fabergé’s company became the largest jewellery business in Russia. In addition to its Saint Petersburg headquarters, it had branches in Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and London. It produced some 150,000 to 200,000 objects from 1882 until 1917. The Company was located at Bolshaya Morskaya Street; before 1854 at No.11; in 1854-1900 at No.16; and from 1900 – now at No. 24 (House of Faberge);
Building 18 was being built in the 1910s for Russian Bank for Foreign Commerce (architect L.N. Benois and Lidval), complete in the 1930s (architects L.V. Rudnev, Y.O. Svirsky) for the Textile Institute (today Technology and Design University):
Building 15 is the former Russian Commercial and Industrial Bank (1912-14, architect M.M. Peretyatkovich):
Building 14 was owned by the wealthy Eliseevs brothers since the middle of the 19th century.
Building 12 is the former house of Kotomin.
Building 11 was the private house of architect P.P. Jacot (1830s). The Teremok restaurant resides in this building.
Building # 6:
Buildings 3-5 are the former building of the Azovsko-Donskoy Bank (1908-13, architect F.I. Lidval).
Interesting buildings left (west) to Gorokhovaya street / Bolshaya Morskaya Street intersection:
Building 67 - the former Officers' Corps of Horse Guards Regiment (1844-49, architect I.D. Chernik. Today: University of Aerospace Instrumentation):
Building 58 is the German Reformed Church.
Building 52 belonged to the Polovtsovs. Today - the House of Architect.
Building 47 belonged to the Nabokov Family (1898-1902, architects F.M. Geissler, V.F. Guslisty, today it houses the Museum of V.V. Nabokov):
the Demidov Mansion (No. 43) was reconstructed 1835-1840 by Auguste de Montferrand, architect of St. Isaac's Cathedral. The building is of interest not only for its rather comically posed atlantes (see picture below), but also because the richly decorated interiors included a Malachite Room several years before the idea was adopted in the Winter Palace. The better-preserved house next door (No. 45) dates back to the 1740s, and was also reconstructed by Montferrand, who sold it to the Demidov family in 1836. It later belonged to Countess Vera Gagarina, who employed Maximilian Messmacher to design interiors for some of the rooms. The building is now the House of Composers, and some of Messmacher's and Montferrand's original interiors can still be seen when visiting concerts there:
Buildings 42 and 44 were occupied by Ministry of State Property (1844-53, architect N.E. Efimov; today: the Genetics Institute and Plant Cultivation Institute).
Building 41 - the house of German Embassy:
Hotel Astoria, # 39:
Buildings 35 (1907, architects A.A. Gimpel, V.V. Ilyashev) and 37 (1898, architects L.N. Benois, S.Y. Levi) were owned by Russia insurance society:
Building 61, overlooking the Moyka river, was the mansion of M.V. Lomonosov (1750-60s, reconstructed in the 1840s by architect A.K. Cavos):
We walked 500 m. along Bolshaya Morskaya Street (crossing Nevsky Prospekt - 150 m. before arriving to the Arch of the General Staff Building , which centers on a double triumphal arch crowned with a Roman quadriga (1819–29), leading off Palace Square (see: "St. Petersburg - from Grand Choral Synagogue to the Palace Square" blog):
Allow 20-30 minutes for strolling again in the Place Square (see "St. Petersburg - from Grand Choral Synagogue to the Palace Square" blog). Exit the square in its eastern end and slight left onto nab. Reki Moyki (наб. реки Мойки), 65 m. (short section along the Moyka river). Then, turn left onto the Winter Canal or Naberezhnaya Zimney Kanavki (наб. Зимней канавки), 160 m. Please walk along the LEFT (west) side of the canal. With your back to the Palace Square and to the Moyka river and your face to the north (Neva river) - take the left, narrow road along the dark Winter Canal or Zimnaya Canal. The Winter Canal starts, in the south, between the eastern side of the Hermitage complex and the Hermitage Theatre. The narrow canal connects Neva river and Embankment (promenade) with Moika River in the vicinity of Winter Palace. The canal was dug in 1718–1719. Its length is only 228m, which makes it one of the shortest canals in the city. The width is about 20m. The granite embankment was built in 1782–84, and railings designed by sculptor I.F.Dunker were added at the same time. The special picturesqueness to the canal is added by the arch connecting Old Hermitage and Hermitage Theater, built by architect Yury Felten next to the Hermitage Bridge. There are, totally, three bridges across Winter Canal (from south to north): Second Winter Bridge on the Moika River Embankment, the First Winter Bridge (on Milionnaya Street) and the Hermitage Bridge (on the Palace Embankment):
Winter Canal or Zimnaya Canal or nab. Zimney kanavki (наб. Зимней канавки). We saw there preparations for Russian - BBC co-production of future TV movie:
The Winter canal from north to south. View from the Palace Embankment:
It is a 1.2 km. walk along the Neva river or the Palace Embankment ( наб. Дворцовая) from west to east (from the Winter Canal - turn right, east) - to the Summer Garden, Kutuzov embankment, 2:
Your walk should be pleasant if the weather allows. It might be windy (you can, take an alternative way eastward - along the Millionnaya street. On your right, along the Palace Embankment - are gorgeous palaces and mansions:
The Palace Embankment or Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya (Дворцовая набережная) begins at the Palace Bridge, where the Admiralty Embankment becomes the Palace Embankment, and the street ends at the Fontanka, where it becomes the Kutuzov Embankment. The Palace Embankment is a very popular street among tourists, as it has a wonderful view of the Neva, the Peter and Paul Fortress and Vasilievsky Island. Many sightseeing boats are available for hire there. On our way to the Summer Garden we pass through the following places and attractions:
Marble Palace, (Мраморный дворец), Palace Embankment # 76 or 5/1 Millionnaya Street. The palace takes its name from its opulent decoration in a wide variety of polychrome marbles. The stone decorations of the Marble Room strike with their many colours, smartness and opulence, their perfectly worked marble, selected and arranged with impeccable style. The palace was built by Count Grigory Orlov, an advisor and lover of Empress Catherine the Great and the most powerful Russian nobleman of the 1760s. Construction started in 1768 to designs by Antonio Rinaldi. In 1843, Grand Duke Constantine Nikolayevich decided to redecorate the edifice, renaming it Constantine Palace and engaging Alexander Brullov as the architect. An adjacent church and other outbuildings were completely rebuilt, while the interior of the palace was refurbished in keeping with the eclectic tastes of its new owner. Only the main staircase and the Marble Hall survived that refacing and still retain the refined stucco work and elaborate marble pattern of Rinaldi's original decor. In January of 1992, the Palace was handed over to the State Russian Museum, which marked the beginning of a new period in its history. In 1994, the permanent exhibition Ludwig Museum in the Russian Museum was opened in the Palace. This exhibition is based on the collection donated to the Russian Museum by the famous German collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig. The collection contains works by contemporary European, Russian and American artists. This exhibition is being continuously expanded with new acquisitions and donations. In 2001, the White (or Gothic) Room was opened after having been restored. The room is equipped with the modern high-technology equipment for conferences, symposiums and teleconference bridges. Opening hours: MON, WED, FRI - SUN: 10. 00 - 18.00, THU - 13.00 - 21.00. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays:
Vladimir Palace (Vladimirsky dvoretsor, Влади́мирский дворе́ц) or Palace of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, Dvortsovaya naberezhnaya, 26 was built between 1867 and 1872 for the third son of Emperor Alexander II. Just east of the Winter Palace and the Hermitage on Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya ("Palace Embankment"), the Vladimir Palace was designed by a team of architects lead by Vasily Kenel. The palace's simple, somewhat dour facade is in stark contrast to the wonderfully preserved interiors, where the architects employed a hugely eclectic range of styles and periods, from neo-gothic to rococo to oriental. Guided tours of the Vladimir Palace are available daily except Sundays. Call in advance:
The Golden Staircase inside:
The Persian room:
Bust of Grand Duke Vladimir:
On our way along the Neva river, we also pass through (on our left) the Troitsky Bridge over the Neva river:
At last we arrive to the Summer Garden on your right. We enter the garden through its northern entrance. Skip to Tip 5.
Main Attractions: Lamb & Flag Pub, Museum of Natural History & Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford University Parks, Wadham College, New College, Covered Market, Exeter College.
Start and End: Ashmolean Museum - City Centre. Circular Route discovering several green areas ans sites connected with nature. Distance: 3-4 km. Duration: 1 day. Weather: ideal route for days with rain in the 1st half of the day. Distance: 4 km.
Leave the museum by the main entrance. Head east on Beaumont St. toward St Giles. At the traffic lights you need to go straight
across to the opposite side of St Giles. Use the pedestrian crossings and take care. Once on the opposite side, turn left up (north) St. Giles. Outside the main entrance to St John’s College there is a raised area under several plane trees. The St John's college – is named after St. John the Baptist. The plane trees line this wide road (claimed to be the widest in the UK). The plane tree is very tolerant of urban pollution which is why it is found throughout central London and other cities in temperate regions.
Walk 160 m. north and turn right to the Lamb & Flag Passage. On your right is the Lamb & Flag Pub. The lamb (in the pub's name) represents the lambs which were highly-valued possessions in ancient, Biblical Judaism and were sacrificed to God in order to request forgiveness
of sins. The lamb and flag had therefore become the symbol of St John the Baptist. The Lamb and Flag was also the symbol of one of the orders of knights or crusaders - the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. This order of knights was formed after the capture of Jerusalem in 1099. The order
provided hospitals and shelter for pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land, took care of knights who had been injured or were suffering from diseases and had military units who fought in almost every battle of the Crusades. St John's College took over the management of this pub in 1997, and now uses all pub profits to fund scholarships for graduate students. It is believed that Thomas Hardy wrote much of his novel Jude the Obscure in this pub. The pub also featured in the British TV detective drama series 'Inspector Morse'. Note the chestnut tree - immediately behind the pub, along Lamb & Flag Passage. The pub is recommended for its Beers:
Lamb & Flag Passage continues as the Museum Road. Cross the Parks Road (at the crosswalk), turn left - and on your right is the entrance to the Museum of Natural History & Pitt-Rivers Museum. These are two different museums in one visit. The entrance to the Pitt Rivers Museum is through the Oxford University Museum Natural History (OUMNH) on Parks Road. Visitors need to walk across the ground floor of the OUMNH to reach Pitt Rivers displays. Open: OUMNH - daily, 10.00 - 17.00, FREE. Pitt Rivers Museum: MON 12.00 (!!!) - 16.3, TUE-SUN 10.00 - 16.30 (annoyingly closings 30 minutes before the Natural History Museum), FREE. The two museums are located in an elongated Victorian Gothic building. The building itself is a gem. The Museum of Natural History houses the Oxford University's zoology, entomology, palaeontology, and mineral collections. It is a great learning experience for children and adults alike! The OUMNH is recommend especially if you have children with lots of activities provided to keep them interested. The exhibitions are well laid out and provide great opportunity to see and touch sciences.
The Pitt Rivers Museum, its counterpart next door, holds one of the world’s finest collections of anthropology and archaeology from all the continents and from throughout human history. Both of the museums are fully wheelchair accessible and child friendly. Make sure that you have plenty of time (at least 3 hours) to see the contents of both of the museums. Loads to see for both adults and children - but, I am afraid, children might be bored with the Pitt Rivers Museum. Both museums are ideal for wet days.
In front of the OUMNH stands a memorial stone column commemorating the 'Great Debate', in Oxford, on 30 June 1860, seven months after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, between the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, and the biologist, Thomas Huxley. They debated Darwin’s idea of evolution and natural selection in front of a vocal crowd of 500 people. Darwin’s idea of evolution went against the commonly-held view that God was in control of creation. Even today, 156 years later the debate between evolution and creation continues. You can also find a statue of Darwin inside the museum:
The main atrium of OUMNH is spectacular. Its main attraction are several dinosaur skeletons in the centre and is surrounded by cabinets full of curious artifacts (fossils, minerals, insects and animals) and packed with information. There is a balcony all around the central atrium that has more items of interest and also a small cafe. Note: It can get a bit hot inside during sunny days, due to the glass roof.
Edmontosaurus annectens, Dinosaur, S. Dakota:
Granite - 2,700,00,000 years old:
Humpback Whale Skull:
OUMNH 2nd floor. The Museum's striking glass and iron roof, soaring above the specimens, is a source of fascination to visitors:
Wandering Albatross - a legendary bird:
The remains of the Dodo at Oxford are one of the greatest treasures of the Museum:
Life cycle of Nezara Viridula:
Temporary exhibition: Upper East Gallery, from 18 March to 29 September 2016. Kurt Jackson: Bees (and the odd wasp) in my Bonnet. This exhibition brings together paintings, sculpture and Museum collections to explore the diverse and beautiful world of bees. Kurt Jackson's art is a celebration of the natural world. Recently he has been inspired by the bees he encounters at home in Cornwall and across the UK. Apis, Kurt Jackson, 2015:
Through the back of the hall is the Pitt Rivers Museum which is full of glass cabinets bursting and packed with curiosities from around the world that were, first, collected by the Lt. Pitt Rivers and extended after his donation of his private collection. OUMNH is nature, Pitt Rivers is Anthropological.
'Human Form in Art' Gallery. PRM dedicates an extensive gallery to Figurative Art. For thousands of years, the form and meaning of body decoration has been an expression of a particular culture – for aesthetic reasons, to identify kinship groups, for performance or for ceremony. Note: the lighting is a bit dim, even dark sometimes, but once you become used to it, it does rather add to the mysterious atmosphere. A bit tough to walk through and around the huge glass cabinets and observe in the darkness. The fact that the Pitt Rivers Museum is still laid out in its original Victorian pattern makes the museum an exhibit in itself and adds to its charm. The various collections are arranged by function or theme (food, clothes, toys, weaponry, medicine, religion) rather than geographically.
Hindu deity: Janrath (right), his Sister, Sibhadra (centre), his brother Balabhadra (left), Orissa, India:
Dance Mask - Papua New Guinea:
Plaited raffia mat with Lizard design, Cameroon:
11 metres Haida Gwii Totem Pole, Canada, Queen Charlotte Islands:
The shrunken heads:
A bottle with a witch:
Exiting the couple of the museums - we turn right (north) and walk 200 m. along Parks Rd. On our left (west) is Keble College (under massive constructions). Keble is one of the larger colleges of the University of Oxford. Keble College was established in 1870, having been built as a monument to John Keble - an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement (a movement, which argued for the reinstatement of some older Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican theology). The main building of Keble College is the distinctive brick complex in Parks Rd. - designed by Butterfield:
After 200 m. we turn right and enter the Oxford University Parks. The University Parks are bordered in the east by River Cherwell, in the nort side by Norham Gardens, by the north-east with a small plot of land (Mesopotamia) sitting between the upper and lower levels of the river. Parks Road to the west and with the Science Area on South Parks Road to the south. The quite extensive space was originally owned by Merton College, was purchased by the University in the 1850s and was first laid out as a Park for sports and recreational purposes in 1864 - first, for university members and, later, for the public. The park is open to the public almost every day of the year from 07.45 until dusk (the only exception being Christmas Eve) and boasts a choice of walks, a large collection of trees and plants and space for sports and picnics:
Clifford Circus was stationed in the western entrance during June 2016:
Since, we entered the parks from the Parks Rd. - we start with the West Walk section of the parks. The west, north and Lucas sections contain, mainly, flowering perennial shrubs and distinctive, impressive trees. Diverse specimens of trees display gorgeous golden, purple, grey and green colours of foliage. There are also many many brightly coloured flowers. A must visit place for nature lovers. An absolute pastoral heaven. Note: you are not allowed to enter with a bike !! No cycling !! ALLOW, at least, TWO HOURS FOR WALKING AROUND THE PARKS: West Walk, North Walk, Riverside Walk, Lucas Walk and South Walk. Note: after completing the riverside (eastern side) walk - you arrive to a T junction. Take the RIGHT leg - leading to Lucas Walk and the southern section of the walk.
West and North Walks:
Cedars in the West Walk :
You find the Giant Sequoias (Wellingtonias) (which were very fashionable in the Victorian period) in the meeting point of the West and North Walks:
The North Walk is characterized with numerous types of local and overseas trees: Aleppo Pine, American Smoke Tree, HimaItalian Maple, Oriental Plane, Serbian Spruce, Turkish hazel, Valonia Oak,
North Lodge of the University Parks:
The North Walk is characterized with numerous types of local and
Pond with Ducks:
Most of the Parks area is along (east to) the Cherwell river. South to the cement bridge - there is a grassland area which lies between two branches of the Cherwell river. It is known as 'Mesopotamia' after the area between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers - the cradle of human civilization.
Riverside Walk (along river Cherwell:
Leave the Parks at South Lodge and turn right and walk WEST along South Park Rd crossing: St. Cross Rd., Sherard Rd.,(on your left the Plants Science buildings with green windows and, later, on your left the Chemistry buildings), Mansfield Rd. On your left also the Rhodes Building - a green-domed building. Built in memory of Cecil Rhodes, an alumnus of the university and founder of De Beers diamond Company in South Africa. In 1931, Albert Einstein delivered a series of three lectures at Rhodes House:
Arriving to the cross-lights - turn LEFT (south) to Parks Rd. After 70 m. walk in Parks Rd. yous see, on your left, the Wadham College. In term time the Wadham College is open to visitors from 13.00 to 16.15. Out of term the college is open from 10.30 to 11.45 and 13.00 to 16.15. FREE. Only the Front Quad, Fellows' Garden and the Chapel are open to the public. Wadham College was founded in 1610 by Dorothy Wadham, according to the will of her late husband Nicholas Wadham, a member of an ancient Somerset family.
Statues of the founders (Dorothy and Nicholas Wadham) above the main entrance to the College:
The Main Hall:
The gorgeous Wadham College Chapel:
Back Quad with its cute buildings around:
Continuing south along parks Road - you arrive to the junction of: Parks Rd., Holywell Street, Broad Street and Catte Street. Here you face the peculiar Indian Institute with the animals carvings on the walls. Some animals (elephants, monkeys, tigers) are important in the Hindu religion. The Indian Institute was established in year 1875 in purpose to promote Indian studies at the Oxford University - when India was the crown jewel in the British empire:
Continue south along Catte Street and passing through the Bridge of Sighs (See: "Oxford - Day 2 - Part 1" blog). Immediately, turn LEFT (east) to New College Lane. On your left take the St. Helen's Passgge (with 40 cm. width...). St. Helen's Passage continues as Bath Pl. Here I met graduates of one of the local colleges, celebrating completion of their exams and year of study, half-drunk and full with confetti:
Turn right onto and continue along Holywell St. and after 150 m. the entrance to the New College will be on your right. Open: From mid- March to mid-October 2016: from 11.00 to 17.00, price: £4 adult; £3 concessions. Admission includes free map and guide. Other dates: !4.00 -16.00, daily, FREE.
It is called New College from the time of its completion in 1379. This gives an indication of how old and how much history there is in Oxford.
Inner Quadrangle. This cloistered quad has remained unchanged for six hundred years:
The Cloisters are also very interesting with statues of a variety of Saints and plaques dedicated to former patrons and alumni of the New College:
St. Edward the Confessor:
Opposite the entrance gate, in the other side of the Main Quad - there stairs leading to the Main Hall. The dining hall is full of history and with many pictures of Bishophs and Alumni:
picture of Bishoph of Winchester:
The college has beautiful gardens and chapel. The Chapel is just superb. Such wonderful craftsmanship, all done by hand. A few windows, in the chapel, were designed by Joshua Reynolds. The gardens, dominated by the old city walls, are beautiful and would be a peaceful place to sit and read or walk around:
New College Canopies:
New College Chapel:
Several scenes of Harry Potter films took place here: inside the cloisters and around the giant oak tree.
It is time to eat. So, we head to the Covered Market, 650 m. from the New College. Head west on Holywell St toward Mansfield Rd, 160 m., turn left onto Catte Street, 10 m., turn right onto Broad Street, 70 m., slight left to stay on Broad Street, 105 m. Turn left onto Turl Street, 110m. Turn right onto Market St, 80 m. the The Covered Market of Oxford is on your left.
The building dates back to the 1770’s. Most of the shops or the businesses are, here, for generations. Open: MON-SAT: 8.00 – 17.30, SUN: 10.00 – 16.00. Part of the stalls are closed on Sundays. Sassi Thai offers a range of delicious Thai dishes and Thai ingredients. Its a small, simple eatery, with limited, but enough choices. Dishes are available to eat in or takeaway. It costs just £5-6 for rice and a choice of one Thai dish, or for £1 more you get the choice of an additional dish. Very few seats and it's almost always busy. Very popular with locals:
Another well-famed option is Ben's Cookies. This is THE place to get a sweet snack in oxford. Always delightful, delicious, fresh and... sweet. You are attracted by and cannot stand the smell of baking.
We continue walking north-east in the Market Street. Walk 80 m. and turn left onto Turl Street. Turn right onto Brasenose Ln and after 50 m. the Exeter College will be on your left. The Exeter College is one of three in Turl Street running between Broad Street and the High Street. The College is typical of the smaller Oxford Colleges. It has beautiful architecture. The first courtyard you enter has the Hall to the right and the chapel to the left:
The Exeter College Quad was where the fictional Detective Morse character suffered a heart attack and collapsed in the final episode of the series, while Requiem being sung in the chapel:
It has a charming Fellow's Garden to the back with a Mound, situated at the end of the Garden, which offers unobstructed views over Radcliffe Square, including All Souls College and the Radcliffe Camera:
The chapel has a dramatic spire and the interior hall is very atmospheric and retains wonderful medieval feel:
Just inside it on the left is the bust of J.R. Tolkien. It is a little high up and easily missed:
This is one of the most famous tapestries produced by the influential William Morris workshop, depicting the Adoration of the Magi. The tapestry was commissioned in 1886 for the chapel of Exeter College, Oxford, and created to a design by Edward Burne-Jones. Morris and Burne-Jones were former students at Exeter College. The original tapestry was commissioned in 1886 by John Prideaux Lightfoot, rector of Exeter College, Oxford, for the Gothic revival chapel built for the college in the 1850s by George Gilbert Scott. The tapestry proved so popular that another nine versions were made, each with a different border design. The original tapestry still hangs in the college chapel:
Exeter College was originally founded in 1314 by Devon-born Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, as a school to educate clergymen. associated with a number of notable Alumni people, including the writer J. R. R. Tolkien. The Fellows' Garden (see above) is reputed to be where Tolkien first saw the Hobbit.
From Exeter College and Turl Street we turn left onto Broad St, 130 m. We turn right onto Magdalen St., 125 m. We are already in Oxford very centre. Turn left onto Beaumont St., 75 m. and we face the main entrance of the Ashmolean Museum.
---------------------------- Tip 2-----------------------------------------------
Tip 2: Salisbury.
Main attractions: Guildhall Square, the Guildhall, Tourist Information Center, John a' Port's House & William Russel’s House, Hall of John Halle, North Gate, Mompesson House, Arundells, Salisbury Cathedral, Queen Elizabeth Gardens, Town Path, Old Mill Harnham.
Start: Market Place / Guildhall Square. End: Salisbury Railway Station. Distance: 7-8 km. Duration: 1/2 day. Weather: avoid rainy or windy day. Part of this route is under the Salisbury Cathedral sheltered roof and spires.
About half an hours drive from Stonehenge is the city Salisbury (pronounced Soulz bury). Salisbury is a beautiful Cathedral town, with a lively downtown. They have markets during the week on the Market Square. There are lots of shops and restaurants in the downtown area. There are also several parks and walking trails to the countryside. It's a sweet little place with lots of cute old buildings. Salisbury has been an important site throughout human history. Over 5,000 years ago, Neolithic man was dragging huge stones, weighing up to 55 tons from Wales to Salisbury to build Stonehenge (see Tip 1 above). The area was a huge settlement and is surrounded by ancient burial mounds and historical artifacts. We just explored Stonehenge, which is impressive and still one of the most important historical sites in human history, But, Salisbury itself, is even more impressive. Beautifully preserved, this picturesque English country town offers a lot to see. Salisbury is one of very few towns in the UK which were never bombed during WW2. The Germans were under strict orders not to damage it. The city has been immaculately preserved. Around the city, one can see Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Victorian-style homes all meshed with tiny streets. The town market square is very well preserved, and outdoor cafes line the area.
Salisbury Itinerary (1/2 day): Leave the bus at the Guildhall Square / The Market Place:
Do not miss, near the City Council or Guildhall, the Gilbert the Dragon. The flower dragon has been part of summer in Salisbury since 1999 and is maintained by Salisbury City Council. Gilbert is a 1.5 tonnes structure, made up of a wide variety of colourful bedding plants and features a crown on his stomach to celebrate The Queen’s 90th Birthday:
The Guildhall today is the fourth such building within the City of Salisbury. The new Guildhall was built on the site of the three old ones. Alterations were then made to the building in 1829 which included the addition of the Grand Jury Room, extensions to the courts and new accommodation for the judges. Since 1835 the building has been under the control of local government and is now managed by Salisbury City Council. In 2010-2011 there was a further major refurbishment. Changes were made to improve public access to the building, to bring further rooms into public use and to do necessary maintenance and repairs. Following this refurbishment, the building became the home of Salisbury City Council, with offices in the upper floors and council meetings held in the principal rooms.
Try to have a glance at the council rooms. Open: 09.00- 17.00, MON-FRI.
Grand Jury Hall:
The Oak Court:
We take the Queen Street, in the eastern side of the Guildhall Square. With our face to the south - we turn right to the Fish Row (pedestrians only road). On our right is the Tourist Information Office. The Salisbury Tourist Information Center occupies one of the medieval houses on Fish Row. It is located behind the honorable Guildhall in the Market Place. The building was one of many on the east side of the Market Place that housed fishmonger shops in the 14th century. It is a two–story stone structure with arched openings on the first story and tall rectangular windows on the second story. The Tourist Office is just off the Market Square on Fish Row. You can purchase the detailed Visitor's Guide for £1.00. This has a detailed list of accommodations, restaurants, sights, and shops. They can also give you a local map showing walking routes in town and in the surrounding countryside:
Opposite - the Cross Keys House or John a' Port's House & William Russel’s House with its pretty windows and facade, It is regarded as the oldest buildings in Salisbury. They are, actually, twinned timber-framed buildings with pointed roofs. John a’Port’s House was constructed in 1425 by Salisbury's mayor John a’Port. William Russel’s house was built in 1306 but appears newer because of its false facade. Both houses have remarkable interiors with dark beams, fireplaces, chiseled stairs and Elizabethan paneling. The buildings were refurbished in 1930, and they now house a specialty china shop:
Before you turn left from Queen Street to Fish Row, continue a bit southward along Queen Street to find Nando's restaurant, 1-3 Milford Street, on your left (intersection with Milford and New Canal streets.
Head west on Fish Row, 25 m. Turn left toward New Canal, 35 m. You see on your left the Odeon Cinema or Hall of John Halle. John Halle, a merchant and mayor of Salisbury, was the first owner of this house, which was built in 1470. The building, which now serves as the Odeon Cinema, is quite out of the ordinary. Its facade and foyer were designed in the Tudor style and date back to the 15th century. Its medieval interior has a fireplace with John Halle’s coat of arms, leaded windows, tall arched ceilings and walls decorated with pikes and armor. Even though the building now is home to a modern cinema, it has maintained its medieval charm:
We return to Fish Row and continue westward. The road changes to Butcher Row. It ends (the west side) in the Poultry Cross. The Poultry Cross is a market cross marking the site of former markets. Constructed in the 14th century and modified in the 18th century it stands at the junction of Silver Street and Minster Street. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed structure. The Poultry Cross is the only one remaining of four market crosses that once stood in Salisbury. The others were the Cheese Cross in the present Cheese market area, Barnard's Cross (livestock) at the junction of Barnard Street and Culver Street and another which designated a market for wool and yarn at the east end of the present Market Place near the War Memorial. The presence of a market cross on the Poultry Cross site dates to 1307 and the name to about a century later. The present stone structure was built in the late 15th century. The original flying buttresses were removed in 1711, as can be seen in the painting of 1800 by JMW Turner; the present buttresses date from 1852–4, when the upper parts of the cross were rebuilt to the designs of the architect Owen Browne Carter.(cited from Wikipedia). The present day site is used as part of Salisbury Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays:
With our face to the west - we continue along Silver Street. But, before continuing, turn right to the beginning of Minster Street - to see a collection of old houses from year 1817:
In the intersection of Silver Street (west), Bridge Street (east) and High Street (south) - we turn LEFT (south) to the High Street:
We walk along the High Street with our face to the south. Near H/S #49 we see, in front of us the North Gate. The gate was built between 1327 and 1342. The High Street or North Gate is the main point of entry into the Cathedral Close. It housed the small lock-up jail for those convicted of crimes inside the Cathedral Close. Beside the gate stands the Porters Lodge. The post of porter to the Close was a much sought-after by the servants of kings and nobles in the middle ages. Note the two-storey building over and around the north entrance to the Cathedral Close:
Roly's Fudge Pantry near the North Gate:
Note the two-storey building over and around the north entrance to the Cathedral Close:
On our right a marvelous collection of houses from the 16th-18th centuries, a green space and white-washed sculpture. One of these houses is the Mompesson House, Choristers' Green, The Close Salisbury: Town house built for Sir Thomas Mompesson, 17/18th century MP, now a historical exhibit. The building was constructed for Sir Thomas Mompesson, MP in 1679, 1695 and 1701. The house reflects the classic Queen Anne style of that period. To the right of the main house stands the brick built service building which was constructed on the site of the old Eagle Inn that closed in 1625. Thomas's son Charles completed the building in 1701, his initials and date can be seen on the heads of the water downpipes. The Townsend family occupied the house from 1846 to 1939. The Bishop of Salisbury, Neville Lovett, lived there from 1942-46. Closed during the winter. Open: MAR-NOV, SAT–WED: 11.00 - 17.00, last admission 16.30:
Further south, still along the High Street, is The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum, The Wardrobe, 58, The Close: 1,200 items from the Berkshire & Wiltshire Regiment exhibited in a restored, historical residence. Open: FEB: MON-SAT: 10.00 - 17.00. Closed on Sundays. MAR-OCT: MON-SAT, including public holidays: 10.00 - 17.00. Closed Sundays. NOV: TUE-SAT: 10.00 - 17.00. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. The military Museum is closed throughout December and January. Price: adult - £5, concessions - £4. Very interesting, atmospheric building and gardens. A plus is that the museum comes with a Tea Room and beautiful gardens. On June 2016 there was a special (and very moving) exhibition of "100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme" (1st July 1916 - 18 November 1916):
Next door is Arundells: the home of former Prime Minister Sir Edward (Ted) Heath from 1985–2005. A wonderful insight into the world of perhaps the last traditional, old-fashioned England PM of the 20th century. A treasure trove of personal memories. Packed with interesting paintings, sculptures, cartoons and photos of Mr. Heath and its period:
The Salisbury Cathedral is opposite (east) to the museum. Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest church spire in Britain, the oldest clock in the world, and at the moment the best copy of the Magna Carta. This is a wonderful place to visit. Allow between 1.5 - 2 hours for your visit but you can see most of the highlights in 45 minutes if you are really pressed for time.
The Salisbury Cathedral was originally located on Old Sarum (built in the 1000s), but was built in the current location from 1220 to 1258. The cathedral exterior is one of the finest medieval churches in England. Its impressive architectural style in Early English Gothic was possible because it was built in just 38 years (1220-1258). The tower and spire were added after more than 50 years. The spire is the tallest in England. The Cathedral is massive. You can see the spire from miles away. The Cathedral is surrounded by large lawns and trees. This gives the Cathedral the space that is needed to see it. The outside is covered in many stone carvings. Inside it seems very long and narrow, with very high ceilings. This grand structure with its elegant and imposing spire (Britain’s tallest) has inspired many artists, John Constable being the foremost among them. As the Cathedral Church of the Salisbury diocese, it is the Mother Church of several hundred parishes in Wiltshire and Dorset. In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration in 1258.
Salisbury Cathedral West Front:
Salisbury Cathedral North Front:
During summer 2016 there’ was a monumental treat in store for visitors to the Cathedral, who encountered an impressive exhibition by internationally renowned sculptor Sophie Ryder. Life-sized Minotaurs and Lady Hares could be seen the Cathedral lawn and in the cloisters. An high arch formed by massive clasped hands and called The Kiss loomed on the Cathedral’s North side:
Salisbury Cathedral park - Rabbit Dog sculpture - Sophie Ryder:
West Front - Rabbits-Dogs and Horse - sculpture by Sophie Ryder:
Sophie Ryder - the Dancing Girls:
The interior is stunning with wonderful stained glass windows. The entrance is FREE. Salisbury Cathedral is unique with its tall and narrow nave. It is equipped with light grey walls and dark marbled columns. It has tall arcade and open gallery. Spread between the pillars are notable tombs such as that of William Longespée, half brother of King John and the illegitimate son of Henry II, who was the first person to be buried in the cathedral:
The Trinity Chapel is at the eastern end of the cathedral. The Trinity Chapel has fantastic stained glass windows, which are quite inspiring. These windows can bee seen all from the other end of the cathedral, near the entrance. They form a dramatic backdrop to the choir stalls of the cathedral, with the vaulted roof arches receding in the other direction:
Another chapel with stunning stained-glass windows is the Martin of Tours Chapel (or Morning Chapel:
Other wonderful windows can be found in the side Chapel of Edmund And Thomas:
I recommend you take in the breathtaking views of our tower tour. Scheduled and guided tours are every hour (every two hours in the winter) from 11.15 until 14.15. Tower tours are limited to 12 people per tour. You can view all available tour times on the cathedral web site: http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/visit-tower-tours/tower-tour-times-and-booking
During the summer months, you can admire the Cathedral's medieval architecture from across the lawns of the Close from the Bell Tower Tea Room or from the Refectory while enjoying a selection of sandwiches and homemade cakes. Salisbury Cathedral's Refectory Restaurant and Bell Tower Tea Rooms offer a wide range of tasty options to suit all tastes and ages. The Refectory, set within the Cathedral with stunning views of the spire through its glass roof, is open all year round.
Salisbury Cathedral Choir sing alternate daily Evensong and Sunday Matins throughout the school year. The evensongs can be a wonderful experience. Get there pretty earlier - because the choir stalls fill very quickly. When the Choral Evensong began, encompassing the whole place with a soft music, lifting the soul. I felt It was like being carried on the wings of an angel, filled with peace. The choir stalls have 13th century woodwork with beautiful carvings of angels and animals. They also have a special type of seat, called a "misericord", which allows someone to look as if they are standing, but they are really leaning back on a small seat. These pull down to be the regular seats:
The cathedral also has the largest cloister in Britain, with a great beautiful tree in the middle of it. The Cloister(s), just outside the Chapter House, is (are) hauntingly beautiful. These were also built in the 1200s and enclose a small graveyard. The cloister looks splendid with arcades all around. Added in the late 13th century, it is a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks. With open arcades on the inner side running along the walls of buildings, it forms a courtyard. This place looks ideal for the cloistered lives of the monks. In the adjacent Chapter House resides the Magna Carta hall.
You cannot miss the best out of the four copies of the Magna Carta which lives in this cathedral, in the Chapter House or Magna Carta Hall. The chapter house is notable for its octagonal shape, slender central pillar and decorative medieval frieze. It was redecorated in 1855-9 by William Burges. The chapter house also displays the best-preserved of the four surviving original copies of Magna Carta. This copy came to Salisbury because Elias of Dereham, who was present at Runnymede in 1215, was given the task of distributing some of the original copies. Elias later became a canon of Salisbury and supervised the construction of the cathedral. The MC copy dates back to 1215 ! The Magna Carta is the first bill of rights in the world. I just think it's incredible that we are able to see something from eight hundred years ago. You're not allowed to take photos of it, but I took a photo of it. Price: adult - £7.50, concessions - £6.50. You can try to convince the check-in person to allow you entering the Magna Carta Hall with your all-inclusive Stonehenge Tour ticket:
A special Biblical frieze circles the interior of the Chapter House above the stalls and depicts scenes and stories from the books of Genesis and Exodus, including Adam and Eve, Noah, the Tower of Babel, and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Magna Carta Hall - Part of a frieze in the Magna Carta hall depicting Joseph being imprisoned (carved scenes from the Bible):
Part of a frieze in the Magna Carta hall depicting Adam and Eve in Paradise (carved scenes from the Bible):
Building Babel Tower:
Jacob and rachel:
Crossing the Red Sea:
Tens of burials reside in the cathedral. Among the people buried in the cathedral, the most famous is probably Sir Edward Heath (1916–2005), who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and as a member of parliament from 1950 to 2001, and who lived in the Cathedral Close for the last twenty years of his life:
Another burials is the monument of an alabaster knight wearing Milanese armour which is dedicated to Robert Hungerford, Lord Moleyns and 3rd Baron Hungerford (1431–1464). Hungerford was opposed to Richard Duke of York's rebellion in 1452. Later in the year he went to Aquitaine with the Earl of Shrewsbury. Captured by the French whilst attempting to relieve the seige of Châtillon in 1453, he remained a prisoner until 1459. He was a strong supporter of Henry VI during the Wars of the Roses. His effigy shows him wearing the Collar of Esses of the Lancastrian party. He held the garrison at the Tower of London against the Yorkist besiegers, until the Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of Northampton 1460, after which he was allowed to leave with Lord Scales. Shortley afterwards he left England to travel in Italy but returned in early 1461 where he took part in the Battle of Townton, and subsequently fled to Scotland with Henry VI and Queen Marguerite of Anjou. He was captured following the Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of Hexham in 1464 and was executed at Newcastle on the 18th of May 1464:
Inside the cathedral interiors - you can find a charming mixture of ancient, ols and new. There are also inside more sculptures of Sophie Ryder.
La Famiglia: Minotaur and Lady Hare lie with family of dogs - Sophie Ryder:
Another sculpture of Sophie Ryder: Girl with a Dog on Shoulder:
Sophie Ryder - Mother and Child:
DO NOT MISS the wonderful wire sculpture of Sophie Ryder - Sitting Horse with Child:
The medieval clock looked like half a dozen wheels assembled together with some pulleys and weights. The clock has no face because all clocks of that date rang out the hours on a bell. It was originally located in a bell tower and when it was demolished, the clock was shifted to the Cathedral Tower. The clock was then placed in storage and forgotten until it was discovered in 1929, in an attic of the cathedral. It was repaired and restored to working order in 1956. Again in 2007, remedial work and repairs were carried out. Its unappealing look certainly eclipsed its impressive background. This is the oldest clock in the world, it doesn't have a face but it dates about 1386 and still works - by ringing a bell on the hour every hour!
The last highlight of the cathedral and, I must say, a breathtaking one, is the font by William Pye which is worth the visit alone. The Cross-shaped font is made of bronze with purbeck stone. A four corned sculpture with water on the top surface that looks like a mirror, giving a fantastic reflection of the interior, and just pouring over each corner. An unbelievable masterpiece of art: Water is the predominant feature of this work, its surface reflecting and extending the surrounding architecture, while four smooth filaments of water pass through spouts at each of the four corners of a bronze vessel and disappear through a bronze grating set into the floor. There is an inscription with the words of prophet Isaiah: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you":
In case you have enough time before the dusk and you are still fit - we leave the Cathedral and start gentle walk around Salisbury's historic Cathedral Close: 2 km, approx. 45 minutes. . We return to Mompesson House (NE to the Cathdral) and start our walk at the NORTH SIDE of Mompesson House. The Close surrounding the Cathedral was originally built to house the clergy. Today the majority of houses are leased from the Cathedral by private residents. Turn right and walk towards the corner of Chorister’s Green. We walk wesward along the New St./ Crane Street with our face to the Queen Elizabeth Gardens. We cross the Avon river:
The path slights rights and we arrive to a wooden bridge crossing one of the Avon's branches. The Salisbury Cathedral is in the (south) background:
We follow the Mill Road with our face to the west. Now we see BLUE signs of "Town Path" and follow these signs - leaving the Mill Road to our right. We cross the Avon river again. On our right Harnham water meadows and on our left the Avon river:
The surroundings are second to none with a very pleasant walk. You get great views of the Cathedral across the water meadows along the town path to town. In one point you get a view of the Cathedral from the water meadows - exactly as the famous painting of John Constable:
It is approx. 800 m. walk along the Town Path from the Mill Road to the Old Mill Hotel Harnham. The location of the peaceful place is stunning. It is more a pub with rooms (11 rooms, all en-suite with views of the river) and restaurant rather than an hotel. The Old Mill Hotel is a 15th century building with features dating back to 1250. From its early ecclesiastical beginnings, it was transformed in the 16th century to a paper mill:
This is a wonderfully romantic, quaint part of the town. The building contains part of the mill wheel, which can be viewed through the restaurant front glass. The Old Mill Restaurant's evening meals are extra fine dining. Try the bowls of chips covered with melted cheese.
In the end of the Town path will wait for you several houses with straw thatched roof:
Your best bet for returning to the railway station is retracing your steps. Head northeast on Town Path for 650 m. Turn left onto Mill Rd and go through 2 roundabouts for 320 m. At the 2nd roundabout, take the 1st exit and the Salisbury Railway Station will be on the right.
Tip 1: from Girona railway station to Girona Cathedral.
Tip 2: from Basilica de Sant Feliu back to Girona railway station.
Tip 3: walking over Girona Walls (approx. 3 km.).
Tip 1 Main Attractions: Pont de Pedra, Rambla de la Llibertat, Pont de les Peixateries Velles, Pont de Sant Agustí, Plaça de la Independència, Pont d'en Gomes (Pont de la Princesa), Culo de la Lleona, Carrer de les Mosques, Pujada del Rei Martí, Plaça de la Catedral, Girona Cathedral.
Start and End: Girona railway station. Weather: Bright days only. Distance: approx. 11 km. Duration: 1 day.
Practical Hints: You need to wear good walking shoes as there are many steps and cobble stones in the old quarters and around the walls.
Never walk on the walls in: very hot day, rainy / windy or stormy day.
Girona Itinerary: From Girona railway station walk east, cross Plaça Espanya from west to east, turn left onto Carrer Barcelona, 180 m. Look, on your right the decorated houses. In the end of Carrer Barcelona you take the RIGHT (east) leg of the narrow and pedestrian road of Carrer Nou (crossing cross-lights and following the signs of "Barri i/Vel". WE continue eastward along Carrer Nou - crossing Carrer de Santa Clara on our left and right. We cross the Riu (river) Onyar on the pedestrians-only bridge Pont de Pedra. Your (almost) first sight of Girona - is no less than spectacular. The river Onyar and the bridges that connect the Barri Vell with the neighbourhood of Mercadal are just marvelous. If you cross these bridges, you can enjoy the sight of the colored houses that overlook the river. Their colours change, during the day, and, especially, as the sun sets. The Pont de Pedra, is made of Girona stone, and is supported on three lowered arches that rest on two pillars. An inscription in the centre notes that it was inaugurated in 1856. YOU MUST move from side to side of the bridge, making stunning photographs of the multi-colored houses built on both sides of the Onyar river, painted in bright colors. Completing the wonderful sights are the towers of the Cathedral and the Collegiate Church of San Felix - icons and attractions of the city. The current stone bridge was part of the road from Madrid to France. It is called, also, Pont d'Isabel II (Bridge of Isabel II, during whose reign it was built), but more popularly known as Pont de Pedra (Bridge of Stone). It replaced a previous bridge of the fourteenth century, which was also of stone and was known as San Francisco.
In the eastern end of the bridge - you see the local Tourist Information office with plenty of maps and aids for your daily excursion in this wonderful city:
We turn left (north) onto Rambla de la Llibertat. On your right (east) the ancient walls of Old Girona. This magnificent long stretch along the River Onyar was developed in the 13th century to hold the market and is characterized by its low-ceilinged arcades and unequal arches. Today, the Rambla de la Llibertat continues to be a popular place for locals to walk and meet. It is lined by a number of buildings of cultural interest, such as the Casa Norat, Rambla Llibertat, 25 with its Modernista façade (1912). Created in the 18th century to host a market, its name comes from l'Arbre de la Llibertat (The Tree of Freedom), which was planted in 1869 during the Sexenio Democrático, a period of Spanish history that followed the success of a revolution in September 1868 and lasted until the restoration of the Bourbons in 1874:
You walk 250 m. northward along Rambla de la Llibertat until you arrive (on your left) to another bridge on the Onyar river: Pont de les Peixateries Velles (also known as Pont de les Pescateries Vella) with its red cage ironwork on both sides and above. It affords great views of the Cathedral and the river side houses. Great place to cross into the Old town shopping areas. Plenty of shops and places to eat right on the other side of the bridge in both directions. Unbelievable scenery from the whole stretch of this bridge. Does this bridge reminds you of Eiffel Tower ? Does it look like an horizontal Tour Eiffel ? Right ! it was designed by Gustav Eiffel. It was built before he started the tower in Paris. This is our 2nd bridge along the Onyar river and there are, actually, 11 of them ! There are four foot bridges over the Onyar river into the old town area (as well as a couple of road bridges). From this particular bridge you have the most striking view of the Onyar river and the colourful houses and apartments that line it.
More distant, more northward, along the river - Girona Cathedral:
Return to Rambla de la Llibertat and continue 200 m. further north onto Carrer de l'Argenteria. On your left (taking the stairs) our 3d bridge on the Onyar river - the Pont de Sant Agustí. This bridge, which connects Carrer de l'Argenteria with Placa de la Independencia, owes its name to the old convent of San Agustín that was in this Independence Square from 1608 until the French occupation in the beginning of the nineteenth century. The convent was abandoned in 1815 and probably destroyed.
In the same place, over time, three bridges have been built: a wooden lever, an iron bridge and, finally, the current reinforced concrete walkway:
In the western end of this bridge is the Plaça de la Independència. The name refers to the War of Spanish Independence against Napoleon Bonaparte. It is surrounded by nice neoclassical buildings with porches on all sides displaying some interesting architecture. Great food and people watching. Great for breakfast, good for lunch and drinks anytime but really comes to life at night. Another walk through to the Jewish Quarter.
In the square's center stands, since 1894, the monument "Girona" dedicated to the 1808-9 defenders (of Napoleon siege) of the city and the work of the sculptor Antoni Parera:
From Plaça de la Independència ontinue 200 m. further north along the Onyar river (now along its western bank) until you arrive to the 4th bridge of Pont d'en Gomes or Pont de la Princesa. It joins Passeig Canalejas with C/Ballesteries. Reinforced concrete bridg, pedestrian bridge (footbridge) completed in 1916 by the company "Construcciones y Pavimentos". If you stand right in the middle of the bridge and jump up and down, you'll feel the bridge move slightly...:
Return to the eastern bank of the river along Pont d'en Gómez. Take the stairs, 30 m. Turn left onto Carrer dels Calderers and walk northward, 130 m (the stairs to Sant Feliu or St. Felix Church / basilica are on your right)
until you arrive to Plaça de Sant Feliu. This square is located just at the foot of the tower of the Cathedral of Sant Feliu , and limits one of its bands with the spectacular stairway leading down the west side. In the summer of 1986, a team of archaeologists found here very well preserved medieval houses , with complex overlays of walls, pavements, and a very important collection of utensils of everyday use, especially ceramics. Further below, there were found remains of Roman monumental tombs and burial tombs. These findings helped in the identification of the northern necropolis of the city, which had a very long use - in this square. Another Roman necropolis, with about twenty tombs of all kinds was located in 1890 in Plaça del Mercadal , in front of the church of Santa Susanna of Girona. Culo de la Lleona is a stone sculpture that we find in Calderers street, at the foot of the staircase of the Church of Sant Feliu , in the old part of the city. The figure is voluminous in relief, and has a part of the face and tail deteriorated. It consists of long and large claws and has the head turned to the side. It is one of the tourist icons of Girona:
Our fifth bridge (on river Onyar) is 70 m. west to Plaça de Sant Feliu: Pont de Sant Felieu. The newest bridge in Girona, which was built in 1995-Designed by the architects Antoni Blazquez, Lluís Guanter and Pere Solà. Connects the Paseo de Canalejas with Placa Sant Feliu , Carrer de Calderers and carrer de la Barca , crossing the Onyar. The bridge main span is 58.4 m. The structural system is a weathering steel frame with only one span, embedded on both ends into the concrete abutments:
From Pont de Sant Feliu - we head east on Pont de Sant Feliu toward Plaça de Sant Feliu and pass through Plaça de Sant Feliu to continue onto Carrer de la Barca, 45 m. Turn right onto Carrer de les Mosques (Flies Street). Says the legend that the French army entered Catalunya and started burning and destroying whatever they find on their way. But in Girona, the whole town was waiting for them locked inside the walls, ready to fight for their piece of land. The Army started occupying the neighbourhoods that were outside the city walls, including the Church of Sant Feliu, where laid the tomb of Sant Narcís. Trying to discourage the citizens, the French opened the tomb of the Saint and started spreading its remains over the streets. A carpenter who saw what happened, picked all the remains and put them into a wooden tomb that he himself made. That same day, thousands of flies came out from that wooden tomb and went straight to the French campsite, attacking soldiers and horses, causing their departure from the surroundings of Girona. The Army of Sant Narcís saved the city ! Relating to this legend we can also find another idiom ” Les mosques, per Sant Narcís, a cada picada en maten sis“, (the flies for Sant Narcís, for each sting they kill six):
In the most eastern end of Carrer de les Mosques, through hole in the walls, we turn LEFT (Carrer del Pou Rodó on our right) and, then, RIGHT onto Carrer del Portal de la Barca. Then, we turn RIGHT to the narrow, cobbled-stone Pujada del Rei Martí - a VERY ATMOSPHERIC and MARVELOUS ROAD with mighty walls on both sides:
Walking southward along Pujada del Rei Martí ends in the Plaça de la Catedral. It is a small space, rectangular, delimited from north to south by the Portal de Sobreportes and Carrer de la Força , and from east to west on the stairs of the Cathedral of Girona and the Palace of Justice. The pavement is made up of cobblestones. All the buildings that surround the square have historical background. The Cathedral Square was a long road that allowed traffic of people from the mountains around Girona to the Augusta road in the time of the Romans. In the 5th century, a chapel, called Sant Genís, was at the west side of the stairway in front of the house where today is the Arc bar. The chapel was in a possession of the monastery of Sant Pere de Roda according to a bull from Pope Benedict VI. In 1604 he was demolished and his tiles were taken for the construction of the Cathedral. However, there was another chapel built during the Romanesque period. It was the temple of Santa Maria de les Puelles, mentioned in a document of the year 1083 and that was placed on the other side of the square, in the old Palace of Justice of Girona or Casa Pastors , near the wall of the Ballesteries. In the year 1245 the chapel was established as a brotherhood. In 1401 the existence of two altars is known, one dedicated to Santa Maria and the other to Sant Martí. Its demolition took place in 1724:
Girona cathedral sits a top a hill surrounded by buildings, foot bridges, lane ways, buttresses and gardens left over from medieval times. It is very impressive If you come in at the bottom of the square and look up to the Cathedral:
REMEMBER - YOU HAVE TO PAY €10 (concessions - €8) to go inside. you get audio guide included. It is a TRIPLE TICKET: to the Cathedral, to the Museu d'Art and to the Colegiata de Sant Feliu. The ticket is valid for 48 hours for all the three sites. The audio guide takes you on a tour of the cathedral, cloisters and treasury. There is a toilet in the bottom floor , in the cloisters. Opening hours: July & august: 10.00 - 19.30, November to March: 10.00 - 17.30, Rest of the year: 10.00 - 18.30. Prices: ticket includes the Nave, Treasury and cloister, as well as the Basilica of Sant Feliu. Adult: 7 € (includes audio guide), Concessions: 5 € pensioners and students with ID (includes audio guide), FREE entrance: children under 7. To enter the Cathedral - you must climb its grandiose flight of 89 stairs. Fitness enthusiasts race up and down the steps in the early morning. Remember the magic scene from "Games of Throne" with the horse striding, slowly along the stairs to the Girona mighty Cathedral main entrance ? Parts of series 6 of "Games of Throne" had been filmed around this cathedral. Quite a demanding climb through these non-ending stairs. Standing atop the steep hill gives great views to get your breath back, Lovely looking around the outside:
The Cathedral Main Entrance:
Note: the Girona Cathedral and the Sant Feliu Church are two distinct, adjacent buildings. The Sat Felieu is a nice small church. Most of the time it is neglected by the visitors to Girona. It is just on the way to the Cathedral and most of the time people by it without visiting this nice small church.
The Girona Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona (in Catalan: Catedral de Santa Maria de Girona). Its construction was begun in the 11th century in the Romanesque architectural style, and continued in the 13th century in the Gothic style. Of the original Romanesque edifice only the 12th-century cloister and a bell tower remain.
Above all looms high the bell tower (14th-16th centuries). Actually, the church has two bell towers. The oldest one, named after Charlemagne, is the surviving one of the two originally flanking the first Romanesque church (the other ceased to exist in the 14th century). Begun in the early 11th century, it has a square plan with six levels separated by friezes with Lombard bands and double windows. The new bell tower, begun in 1590 and completed (with a modified design) in the 18th century, has an octagonal plan. It houses six bells, the oldest one dating to 1574.
The Basilica Sant Feliu from the Cathedral:
The castle-like appearance Cathedral is equipped with Gothic naves and a Baroque façade (13th-18th centuries) begun in 1606, with the upper part finished in 1961. The sculptures decorating the three orders of the façade were executed by local sculptors in the 1960s. Other exterior features include the Gothic portal of St. Michael, on the northern façade, and the southern portico of the Apostles, from the 14th century. The latter originally featured sculptures of the Twelve Apostles, executed by Antoni Claperós in the 1460s, which have mostly been lost, aside from two depicting St. Peter and St. Paul, now in the church's chapter house:
The interior's single nave is surmounted by cross vaults, supported by Gothic buttresses. It is the widest Gothic nave in the world, with a width of 22 metres, and the second widest of any church after that of Rome St. Peter's Basilica (for comparison, the width of the nave of Reims Cathedral is 14.65 m, Saint-Étienne de Sens, 15.25 m and 12 m, in Notre Dame de Paris):
Spectacular architecture inside the Cathedral and you can see the wealth of the church reflected in the building and its decorations and artefacts. It houses also the Christ recumbent (1958), by Domènec Fita i Molat, and Tapestry of the Resurrection (1560):
More sights of the Girona Cathedral Interiors:
The high altar, in white marble, dates to the 11th century:
DO NOT MISS the Sean Scully stained-glass MODERN window:
and older stained-glass windows:
The Cathedral's Romanesque cloister is notable, featuring a series of columns with sculpted capitals: they depict fantastic figures and animals, and vegetable motifs. The cloister's galleries are home to numerous tombs of rich members of the monastery, dating to the 14th-18th centuries, one also by Master Bartomeu (1273). The frieze has scenes from the New Testament:
DO NOT MISS the Cathedral Treasury and Museum - the main highlight of the Girona Cathedral. Most of the cathedral’s extensive art collection is displayed in its treasury.
The most famous artefact is the Tapestry of the Creation, a Romanesque panel of needlework from the 11th century that depicts humans and animals in the Garden of Eden along with portraits of Girona citizens, including members of the city’s prominent Jewish population:
Sant Felip Neri sculpture:
Thomas Aquinas Sculpture:
Tabernacle of the Altar:
Scenes of the Altarpiece:
Tapestry of the Pentecost:
The Blessed Virgin with the Child:
Altarpiece of St. Helen:
Lamentation over the Christ:
Chapel of Hope - a spectacular chapel with magnificent tapestries and exit / entrance to the Cloister:
From the Cathedral we shall continue to the Basilca de Sant Feliu and Carrer de la Forca - skip to Tip 2:
Note: La Ribera and El Born are names of districts in Barcelona which are used interchangeably. So, part of El Born attractions (Carrer de Montcada, Museu Picasso and Basilica Santa Maria del Mar) - you'll find in Tipter blog "Barcelona - La Ribera").
El Born (and a small bit of Eixample).
Main Attractions: Plaça de l'Angel, Passeig del Born, Centre de Cultura i Memòria del Born, Parc de la Ciutadella, Passeig de Lluís Companys, Arc de Triomf.
Start: Jaume I Metro station (yellow, L4 line). End: Arc de Triomf. Duration: 1/2 day. You can COMBINE this itinerary with the Barceloneta itinerary. The Barceloneta route starts (optionally) in the Arc de Triomf. Distance: 5-6 km. Weather: NOT in a rainy day. Avoid very hot days.
Introduction: The El Born district of Barcelona has all the beauty of the Barri Gotic, with those characteristic like narrow streets and quaint cafe-covered squares. But it just far enough removed from the beaten track to maintain a bit of calm, charm and dignity. Despite the popular tourist attractions of Picasso Museum, Sant Maria del Mar, Ciutadella Park, Barcelona Zoo and the (recently opened) Mammoth Museum, the area has maintained a high degree of local life.
From Jaume I Metro station it is 455 m. walk to Passeig del Born. Plaça de l'Angel was Known in medieval times as the Plaça del Blat ("Square of Wheat"), since all grain sales were made here. This atmospheric square connects Jaume I and Laietana on the eastern edge of the Barri Gòtic. Head northeast on Plaça de l'Àngel toward Via Laietana, 30 m. Turn right onto Via Laietana, 15 m. Turn left onto Carrer de l'Argenteria, 230 m. Turn left onto Carrer dels Sombrerers, 100 m. Turn right onto Placeta de Montcada, 35 m. Turn left onto Passeig del Born for 60 m.
Passeig del Born (Paseo del Born in Spanish) an oblong square, is the heart and soul of El Borne where events are often held. An area that is lined with bars and boutique shops. Its small central area is tree-lined and has benches to sit and watch the world go by. A perfect place to start the day. People, here, can be found relaxing under the shade of the trees. People-watching and a delicious Italian ice cream from one of the many Gelaterias are irresistible. The benches on Passeig del Born are undoubtedly one of the best places in Barcelona to sit and enjoy some Gelato or a slice of pizza, It is a relatively exclusive area so prices can often be high, however this is usually reflected in the quality and originality of the merchandise. We recommend to select the right (east) side of the avenue. It is more shady and most of the eateries reside there. The avenue is bounded with the church of Santa Maria del Mar in the south side and Born Market at one end and the Centre de Cultura i Memòria at the other, north end. "Born" in Catalan is for jousting field. In the 16th century the victims of the Inquisition were executed here, and in 1714 it was occupied by Philip V's troops following the Siege of Barcelona. Pretty, fascinating, pleasant and photogenic boulevard. Amazing Barcelona vibe. For breakfast - wait, patiently, for the restaurant in the El Born CCM (see below). For more entertainment, during the day, try to sample these bars or eateries:
Creps al Born, Passeig del Born 12. For creps and cocktails. We'll hit this bar along our route from the Metro station.
Miramelindo, Passeig del Born 15 - a small bar, wooden interiors, Mojitos.
Gusto del Born, Passeig del Born 16 - Great Italian food, Pizzas, Lasagnas, Focaccias, Pasta, Salads. Bargain prices(!). Great solution for lunch.
La Pizza del Born, Passeig del Born 22 - almost next door. Another masterpiece of fast Italian food. Also bargain prices. Wide selection of toppings.
Farggi Born, Passeig del Born 32 - Ice creams, Waffles, Crepes.
We cross the Passeig el Born from south-west to north-east on our way to the El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria, Plaça Comercial, 12. The avenue is 230-250 m. length and the CCM is in the most eastern end of the avenue. The Centre de Cultura i Memòria del Born was, formerly, the Antic Mercat del Born, the city's biggest wholesale markets. Opened in 1876, the Old Born market was the first large-scale cast-iron building to be erected in Barcelona. It fulfilled its role as a market for 95 years, which can be divided into two periods, first being the local market for the neighbourhood of La Ribera, and later, as of 1921, becoming Barcelona’s main wholesale market for fruit and vegetables. Closed since the 1970s, during renovations a number of excavations were discovered, which can be viewed through glass flooring. It was reopened in 2013 as a museum and cultural center. The old market building at the far north end has been renovated inside while maintaining the old and architecturally beautiful exterior,
The centre has been established to preserve the memory of El Born history in an entertaining, diverse and accessible way. It's free to go in, the building itself is nice to look at and the uncovered old town on display below ground level is worth a look even if history is not your thing. The main attractions here are the archaeological site known as the Ciutat del Born and the permanent exhibition on the Barcelona of the year 1700. First of all - it is an impressive 300 year old excavated town beneath the marketplace. You walk round the excavations. There are printed explanations commenting on the uncovered buildings, passageways and even the stream that flowed among them. There are: restaurant cafe' (good breakfast), souvenirs shop, bookstore and modern toilets, too. During the mornings the site is almost empty, but, during the afternoons it might be more crowded. FREE. Opening hours: TUE - SUN: 10.00 - 20.00. Guided Tours: 60 minutes, daily at 16.30 (English), 17.30 (French),
price per person: €6.60, price per group (max. 15): €89.10, children under 8: free entry.
From the El Born CCM we continue walking north-east, crossing the bustling street of Passeig del Picasso (through the cross-lights !) and arriving to the Parc de la Ciutdella. The Parc de la Ciutadella was built on the site of a much-hated 18th-century Bourbon citadel, which was destroyed in 1878. In 1714, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Barcelona was laid siege for 13 months by the army of Philip V of Spain. The city fell, and in order to maintain control over it, and to prevent the Catalans from rebelling as they had in the previous century, Philip V built the citadel of Barcelona, at that time the largest fortress in Europe. To build this fortress, Felip V. pulled away a considerable part of the quarter Ribera, leaving its inhabitants homeless. Therewith, the Bourbon king wanted to put the people under his control. La Ciutadella represented everything that the Catalans hated: the Bourbons and the central government in Madrid. In 1841 the city's authorities decided to destroy the fortress, which was hated by Barcelona's citizens. Yet two years later, in 1843, under the regime of Maria Cristina, the citadel was restored. In 1848, after Maria Cristina's abdication and as the citadel lost its use, General Espartero razed most of the buildings within the fortress as well as its walls by bombarding it from the nearby mountain fortress Montjuic, which helped him gain political popularity. By 1869, as the political climate liberalized enough to permit it, General Prim decided to turn over what was left of the fortress to the city and some buildings were demolished under Catalan orders. Later, the Citadel (the part which was left intact) was converted into a prison - mostly for political prisoners. in 1888, Barcelona held the Exposición Universal de Barcelona extravaganza, inspired by Mayor Rius i Taulet, and the park was redesigned with the addition of sculptures and other complementary works of art. The park was designed under the command of Josep Fontsère, the young and then unknown architect Antoni Gaudí supported him with the design of the waterfall "Cascada". This marked the conclusion of the old provincial and unprogressive Barcelona and the establishment of a modern cosmopolitan city. From that point until 1892, half of the park's layout was enhanced again in order to obtain sufficient space for the zoo.
This oasis of relaxing greenery came about in the late 1890s after serving as the site for the Universal Exhibition. Its many highlights include statues, fountains (one designed by a young Gaudí), a boating lake, a waterfall (La Cascada) with a giant hairy mammoth sculpture, the Domènech i Muntaner-designed Castell dels Tres Dragons (Castle of Three Dragons), which houses the zoological museum, two arboretums, and a small botanical garden. There's also a science museum and -- last, but not least -- the Catalan Parliament, which is located in the former citadel's arsenal and can be visited ONLY by appointment. Stroll to the northern end of the park to view the Modernista / Mudéjar style Arc de Triomf, which served as the entrance to the Universal Exhibition. Probably, the most extensive and greenest oasis in Barcelona.
Opening hours: 23 March to 22 September: daily 10.00 - 20.00, 23 September to 22 March: daily 10.00 - 18.00. FREE. Hire of the boats for 30 minutes: 2 persons: €6, 3 persons: €9, 4/5 persons: €10, Groups from 20 persons: €2.
Public Transport: take the Metro line L1 to station Arc de Trionf. Pass through the Arc de Trionf and head for the car-free Passeig de Lluis Companys directly to the main entrance of the Ciutadella.
As we enter through the southern entrance from Passeig del Picasso - we face a modern sculpture:
and a group of water streams:
Main entrance of the Ciutadella in Passeig del Picasso:
Turn your head BACK to see the gorgeous Av. del Marquès de l'Argentera - the wide avenue opposite the entrance to the Ciutadella:
As you enter the park and walk straight on along Carrer Distllers or Passeig dels Til·lers you see this statue (General Prim) and frieze (the Zoo is on your right):
We've been in the park during the first two weeks of September. The La Merce festival takes place in Barcelona during the end of the 1st week of September every year:
The first outstanding building that we see in front of us is the Military Parish Church of Barcelona. :
Military Parish Church of Barcelona from the Catalan Parliament (see below):
The Parlament de Catalunya can be visited on the first Friday of the month with a guided tour (in Catalan). Similarly, the building is open to visitors on 11th September (the Catalan national holiday) and 12th of September. In the Parliament building, you can visit also the Museu d'Art Modern. Nearby, you can see a replica of Josep Llimona's beautiful sculpture "El desconsol" (Distress), which is one of the most important pieces of public art in the park. The Catalan Parliament is located in a building with imposing architecture. The architecture of this parliament building still looks very much the same as it did when it was designed by the architect and military engineer Próspero de Verboom. Built between 1716 and 1748. It has two storeys and an attic space set out on a cross-shaped ground plan with a central dome and four inner courtyards. The building is made from stone quarried on Montjuïc and terracotta tiles, and is decorated with the busts of eminent figures associated with Catalan art. It is dating back to the 18th century, when it was built as a military arsenal for the mighty citadel. It has been the seat of Parliament since the reinstatement of democracy and civil liberties in year 1932, after over 40 years of dictatorship. Opening hours: SAT: 10.00 - 19.00, SUN and public holidays: 10.00 - 14.00. Closed: January 1st, May 1st, December 25th & 26th, weekends & public holidays in August. On show to the public are the sweeping Escala d’Honor (Stairway of Honour) and the several solemn halls that lead to the Saló de Sessions, the semicircular auditorium where parliament sits:
Note the marvelous plane trees in front of the Catalan Parliament building:
In the lily pond at the centre of the garden in front of the Parliament building is a statue of a seemingly heartbroken woman, Desconsol (Distress; 1907), by Josep Llimona:
A monument of the painter Joaquim Vayreda opposite the Parliament:
This bronze sculpture by Josep Clàra - Als Voluntaris Catalans is SO RELEVANT in these days of Autumn 2017. This sculpture of a nude of a young man with arms raised, dates back to 1918. It symbolizes the Catalan volunteers killed on the battlefield under the Allied forces. In 1923 the sculptor had already finished the monument, but then, the dictator Primo de Rivera came to power and abandoned the project. The dictatorship prohibited any public act of Catalan self-determination. The statue waited for thirteen years. Fnally it was located in the park of the Ciutadella where it has remained until today:
The sculpture was subject of violations during the Franco regime. On the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress, in 1952, the monument was hidden by a huge screen. In December 1952 it was cut off his arms so he was covered again with a box until his restoration. In 1954 the brass arms were restored and the young man's genitals got hidden with a vine leaf. The personal notes of the file of Clarà allow to follow in detail the displeasure of the sculptor about the treatment of his work.
On the 75th anniversary of its inauguration, the shameful vine leaf has been removed, thus recovering the original nude that allows us to enjoy the work of Clarà as it was sculpted, in a new location on the shallow bank of the lake.
Then, we arrive to a small lake where you can hire a rowing boat to paddle boat:
A giant Mammoth and a bandstand are among the other elements which surprise visitors to this vibrant central park in Barcelona:
The park's bandstand, Glorieta de la Transsexual Sònia, is dedicated to a transsexual, Sonia Rescalvo Zafra, who was murdered there on 6 October 1991 by right-wing extremists:
The monumental cascada (waterfall) (Gran Cascada) near the Passeig de Pujades park entrance, created between 1875 and 1881 by Josep Fontserè with the help of an enthusiastic young Gaudí, is a dramatic combination of statuary, rugged rocks, greenery and thundering water – all of it perfectly artificial. Antoni Gaudí immortalized himself on the fountain, which stands by the lake. The water basin in front of fountain is guarded by winged dragons, a figure quite commonly found in his work. But the key role of the design of the waterfall and lake is attributed to Josep Fontseré:
Walking further northward in the park, not far from the northern exit - you see the Sculpture ´World Expo 1888´ by Antoni Clave:
Castell dels Tres Dragons (Castle of the three Dragon): the northernmost building, the Castell dels Tres Dragons houses the Zoological Museum. It occupies the original restaurant designed for the exhibition by Domènech i Montaner. The brick house is an example of early Modernista. The building was built in 1887 by architect Lluis Domènech i Montaner, one of the leading representatives of the Catalan Art Nouveau. An excellent designer, a devoted political leader and a respected teacher among other activities he carried during his life, Lluis Domènech i Montaner (1850-1923) merged his values and convictions based on solid historical knowledge together all kinds of disciplines and a deep commitment with society during his career as an architect in his unique buildings. Since 1920 this building houses the Zoological Museum. The towers and battlements are reminiscent of the Moorish style. The art to decorate building facades with ceramics, was revived and became an important technique of the Modernista trend. The name was probably adopted from the 1865 play by Serafí Pitarra:
The following 3 sites are alltogether adjacent to the northern side of the park - opposite Passeig del Picasso.
Right next to the Castell dels Tres Dragons the winter garden "L'Hivernacle" is located (c/ Melcior de Palau, 32 – 36). The winter garden is a pavilion made of cast iron and glass. The architect was Josep Amargós. In the summer there is a particularly nice café. There are also several jazz concerts. The Hivernacle is still attributed to the Modernista. The building was inaugurated in 1888 for the World (Universal) Exposition. It’s quite a treat for plant enthusiasts and architecture lovers as the two worlds merge in one great experience. The glass, brick and steel construction was designed by Josep Amargós in 1884, it’s an excellent example of the iron and glass based architecture from the same period that saw the construction of the Eiffel Tower. Opening hours: Winter: MON- FRI: 10.00 – 14.00, 17.00 – 20.00, SAT: 10.00 – 14.00, SUN: 10.30 – 14.00. August: MON – FRI: 10.00 – 14.00, 17.00 – 20.30, SAT: 10.00 – 14.00, Sundays: closed:
The Geological Museum is adjacent to the Hivernacle. Built in 1882 by Antoni Rovira i Trias in neo-classical style. The construction of the museum was made possible by a donation from Francesc Martorell Peña. It was the first museum in Barcelona and it has today a large collection of minerals.
Umbracle - a tropical greenhouse for shade-loving plants. The Umbracle is a wood-brick construction. Although this building needs an urgent rehabilitation, it offers a very impressive atmosphere in its interiors. The architect was, again, Amargós. The Umbracle was completed for the World Exposition in 1888:
We leave the Parc de la Ciutadella from its north-west exit and walk north-west along the huge and wonderful Passeig de Lluís Companys. It is a promenade which belongs, formally, to the Eixample district of Barcelona. It starts (east) at the Parc de la Ciutadella, on Carrer de Pujades, and ends (west) at the Arc de Triomf. It was named after President Lluís Companys, who was executed in 1940. The distance from the park to the Arc de Triomf is 450 m. THe promenade is quite bustling BUT very pretty with wonderful buildings and ornate lampposts along its northern side.
Passeig de Lluís Companys - Rius i Taulet monument in 2008:
Passeig de Lluís Companys - Rius i Taulet monument in 2016:
Tribunal Superior de Justícia de Catalunya - a monumental building in a highly ecelctic style, by Enric Sagnier on Passeig de Lluís Companys:
We could not stop admiring the stunning buildings on our right along the Passeig de Lluís Companys:
Passeig de Lluís Companys continues straight north-west beyond the Arc de Triomf and changes its name to Passeig de Sant Joan. Here, sdtands the Memorial Monument of luís Companys (1882-1940):
Northwest of the park, Passeig de Lluís Companys is capped by the Modernista Arc de Triomf, designed by Josep Vilaseca. In 1888 Barcelona hosted the Universal Exhibition. The Arc de Triomf was built as the gateway to the fair which was held in the Parc de la Ciutadella. It has become one of the city's iconic landmarks. The architect Josep Vilaseca designed a monument of classical style and proportions as an allegory of Barcelona's respect for the nations and provinces taking part in the exhibition. As a counterpoint, Vilaseca chose to build the arch from brick and decorate it with sculptural motifs. The combination of red brick with the series of friezes around the arch, make it a singularly beautiful landmark. The frieze facing the park (east side) shows the Barcelona city presenting medals to the exhibition participants. The frieze overlooking the Passeig de Sant Joan (west side) depicts Barcelona welcoming the nations. Josep Llimona did the main reliefs. Just what the triumph was eludes us, especially since the exhibition itself was a commercial failure:
You can COMBINE this itinerary with the Barceloneta itinerary (which, also, extends for 1/2 day). The Barceloneta route starts (optionally) in the Arc de Triomf.
Start: Plaça de Catalunya. End: Palau Güell. Duration: 1 day. Distance: 8 km.
Orientation: The best self-guided walking tour of El Raval in the net. Remember: we devoted one whole blog to Sant Pau Hospital (NOT included in this daily blog). It is a circular route.
The daily El Raval tour is divided into two parts:
Tip 1: from Plaça de Catalunya to Mercado La Boqueria.
Tip 2: from La Boqueria to Palau Güell.
Tip 1 Main Attractions: Carrer dels Tallers, Plaça Vicenç Martorell, Chok, Church of Santa Maria de Montalegre, Plaça Castella, Plaça dels àngels, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), Plaça del Bonsuccés, L'Església de Betlem, the Church of Bethlehem, La Boqueria.
See Tip 2 (below) - for the next half of our daily itinerary in El Raval.
Tip 3: La Gardunya Restaurante, Carrer de Jerusalem, near Placa de Sant Josep (western side of Mercado La Boqueria).
Introduction: Walking down La Rambla from Plaça de Catalunya on your back, the section of the Old City to the right-hand side is known as El Raval. In the 1930s this area was one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world, when it became known as the Barri Xino (literally Chinese Quarter, but meaning "degenerate"). However, it is one of the districts of the city with the most potential and ambitious plans for regeneration. Although some areas are still fairly run-down and can sometimes feel decaying, significant number of the city's most interesting cultural activities are now taking place in El Raval.
From Plaça de Catalunya
we turn right (WEST) onto Carrer de Pelai, 210 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Jovellanos, 100 m. Turn right onto Carrer dels Tallers, 75 m. Carrer dels Tallers is a beautiful hidden street and can be seen as a sort of connection between El Barrio Gotico and El Raval. It is not at all full of tourists. The street is a very secret place, full of vintage stores, restaurants, bars and spots to relax. When entering the street from “Las Ramblas”, you walk across a tight and pretty dark side street:
The first road to our left is the Carrer de les Sitges (even narrower than Carrer dels Tallers):
Once you walk a little bit further down the street, Calle Tallers turns out to be a small but really beautiful “Plaza”:
Tip for a short detour: Holala!, Taller 73: selected-carefully vintage clothes, furniture and all kind of objects imported from France and the United States. Some of the items that they sell are truly unique and their prices are crazy, but the majority of the stuff has similar prices compared with high street shops. It is for girls and guys. Another branch is in Valldonzella 6.
On the 2nd road to the left (Carrer de les Ramelleres) - turn left Plaça Vicenç Martorell. The upper part of the Raval has long been thought of as more salubrious, and here you will find young couples sitting in the arcaded Plaça Vicenç Martorell drinking coffee while their children run around the central park. On one side of the square is the Casa de la Misericòrdia (1583), formerly a hospice for abandoned children:
The road that extends west to the Plaça Vicenç Martorell is Carrer de les Ramelleres. If we continue walking further (southward) along Carrer de les Ramelleres we the Chok - The Chocolate Kitchen. A small shop that sells chocolates, donuts and cakes along with other sweets. All the products are handmade in the shop and taste amazing. It also serves drinks. The coffee is one of their highlights. Expensive but rare, generous
pieces. Limited space to eat or sit there:
We trace back and return northwest along Carrer de les Ramelleres, 85 m. Turn left onto Carrer dels Tallers, 130 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Valldonzella for 90 m. and Esglesia De Santa María De Montalegre
Carrer de Valldonzella, 13, will be on the left. For over 700 years the Church of Santa Maria de Montalegre has stood paying homage to Our Lady of Joy (Alegre) in Barcelona. The Order of Canonesses of St. Mary of Montalegre was founded around a hermitage dedicated to Our Lady of Joy (“Alegre”) about the year 1100 in Tiana, a town some miles outside of Barcelona. As they community grew in size, the nuns were eventually able to build a priory near the town, which was completed by 1265. In 1362, the nuns expanded the project further with the construction of a new priory immediately outside the walls of the city, which made it closer for the residents of Barcelona. The order continued to grow, and absorbed the sisters from two other priories into their numbers. This led to the amalgamation of the two priories and hence the number of nuns grew more and more over the years. During the Renaissance the nuns refused to implement the new laws of the cloister required by their rule. In 1573 then-Archbishop Martinez de Villar banned the entry of new women to the novitiate of the Order; this effectively sealed its fate. This resulted in the culmination of the cause that the church was built for. However, by the order of Pope Clement VIII this law was dissolved and made ineffective in 1593. In 1598 the old buildings of the monastery were converted for use by the Archdiocese as a seminary, a role which they continued to play until the premises grew too small and a new seminary was built in 1772. The complex then mouldered until the beginning of the 19th century, when it was sold to the municipal government and converted for use as the city’s House of Charity (Casa de la Caritat), or municipal almshouse. It continued to serve this purpose until 1957, when the city moved these facilities to a new location:
We change direction, again. From Esglesia De Santa María De Montalegre
Carrer de Valldonzella, 13 we head northeast on Carrer de Valldonzella toward Carrer de Montalegre, 20 m. Now we face Plaça Castella in front, to our left. A lovely place in summer’s afternoon in Barcelona. It has a couple of cafés and bars with tables and chairs in the square, or if you prefer you can sit on the grass in the sun and gaze up at the beautiful church which overlooks the plaça (Parroquia de Sant Pere Nolasc Mercedarios).
There was a Vincentian monastery on the same spot where the present Parròquia de Sant Pere Nolasc stands. The present church was built between 1710 and 1746 in a Baroque style. The chapel was dedicated to St. Severus and St. Charles Borromeo. The church has a dome covered with a mosaic pattern of tiles, which is not common for Barcelona church architecture, and two bell towers at the entrance portico, the typical style of the Counter-Reformation churches of the period it was built. After reconstruction, Mercedarians took over the church, who renamed the building in homage of their founder, Barcelona's St. Pere Nolasc:
Turn right onto Carrer de Montalegre, 190 m. Turn right onto Plaça dels Àngels and Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Plaça dels Àngels, 1 (MACBA) is on the right, 80 m. The Plaça dels àngels opens up into the unexpected space dominated by the breathtaking MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona). The museum was built in the grounds of the enormous Casa de la Caritat (poorhouse), which once provided a home for thousands of children. The former 18th-century hospice has now become the CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona), a cultural centre with a vibrant programme of exhibitions. Go through the central Patí de les Dones of the CCCB, a courtyard often used for performances or film festivals, into the Plaça Joan Coromines which links it with the MACBA. This area is a central part of the Sónar Festival every June, Barcelona's famed music festival. Plaça dels Àngels has become a daily hangout for hordes of young people. Lit up by blinding white light from the museum, the plaza’s mix of flat paving, steps, and stone benches creates the perfect arena for an international crowd of skateboarders who aren't shy about practicing their tricks while like-minded spectators cheer them on from their perches on the surrounding walls. Across the way, that CCCB (see below) cultural center reflects the backsides and heelflips of the skaters from its massive glass façade, and inside hosts a constantly varied range of events, exhibits, film series, festivals, and more. A slightly older bohemian crowd fills the numerous café terraces around the museum’s periphery, sipping claras (beer with lemonade) and enjoying yet another warm Barcelona evening in laid-back company. Hard to believe this area of El Raval was considered undesirable before the MACBA moved in, as Plaça dels Àngels is now part of one of the city’s coolest districts. The building’s architectural style has strong references to Modernism. This large (120 by 35 meters) white building has much of its southern elevation glazed, providing the visitor with views across the plaza, and allowing natural light into the interior:
Inaugurated in 1995, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) is a vast white temple to modern art designed by American architect Richard Meier. Opening hours WED-MON: 11.00 - 20.00, from September 25: 11.00 - 19.30. Tuesdays: Closed. SAT: 10.00 - 15.00.Open Day, September 24: 10.00 - 20.00. Prices: adult -10 € (the admission ticket is valid for one month. It allows unlimited multiple entries to all current exhibitions for one month from the date of purchase). Concessions: 8 € (students, journalists, teachers, pensioners), free - children under 14. There is 6 museum pass for 30 euros. Museu Picasso (c/ Montcada 15-23); Fundació Joan Miró (Parc de Montjuïc); Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc); CCCB (c/ Montalegre, 5); Fundació Antoni Tàpies (c/ Aragó, 255); and MACBA (plaça dels Àngels, 1):
The better aspects of the MACBA museum are its exterior and its internal architectural design. The exhibitions that were on site during our visit were disappointing. Do inquire in advance on the current exhibitions ! Usually, there are no permanent exhibition-- only temporary ones. WE may dare saying: skip the MACBA:
Head east on Plaça dels Àngels toward Carrer de Montalegre, 80 m.
Turn left onto Carrer de Montalegre, 100 m. The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), Carrer de Montalegre, 5 (former Casa de la Caritat building-see above), is on your left (south). Opening hours: TUE - SUN: 11.00 – 20.00, Mondays - closed. Prices change according to the current exhibitions. FREE Sunday afternoons. Nearest Metro is station Universitat: Red L1, Purple L2. Opened in 1993, CCCB offers innovative programs with exhibitions, festivals, concerts, film series, talks, and panel discussions. The building is a mixture of old and new styles, dating from the early 18th century up to recent renovation of a facade in the Plaça de les Dones. The centre, one of the most visited museums in Barcelona, hosts temporary exhibitions, a cinema, concerts and other cultural events. It opened in 1994 as a centre of urban development and urban culture studies administered coinjointly by the City Council of Barcelona and Diputació of the province of Barcelona, but soon after that became a museum about eclectic and varied subjects ranging from photography to sculpture or video art. Our advice: skip it like the MACBA:
The :Thinking Machine” exhibition. Marking the 7th centenary of the death of Ramon Llull, (1232-1316) “The Thinking Machine” explores the impact of Llull’s thinking on today’s arts, literature, science and technology. Philosopher, logician, and writer, Ramon Llull (Anglicised Raymond Lully) is considered a pioneer of computation theory, especially given his influence on Gottfried Leibniz:
Very difficult to understand exhibition. The exhibition closes with Perejaume’s installation “La rel de l’arbre és una roda” [The root of the tree is a wheel], specially created for the exhibition:
Head southeast on Carrer de Montalegre toward Plaça dels Àngels, 130 m. Turn left onto Carrer d'Elisabets, 170 m. Before you continue direct (east) to Plaça del Bonsuccés - turn right (2nd turn to the right) to Carrer del Notariat to see the Against Muebles Siglo Xx, Carrer del Notariat, 9. Against specializes in architect designed furniture and decorative arts from the 20th century. A furniture boutique, for those with deep pockets, patience and time to have a look and appreciate immortal beauty of retro-designed goods and splendor of household furniture from mid-20th century. Open since 2000, featuring two floors packed with mid-century goods, Against is the place to find vintage furniture, ceramic objects, glass and plastic of European origin dating back to the early 1950s, as well as a wide collection of Spanish furniture from the 20th century. All items featured in the store, are carefully selected to bring good quality and originality. Opening hours: MON - FRI: 16.00 - 20.30, SAT: 11.00 - 14.00:
Continue onto Plaça del Bonsuccés, 30 m.
The Old Convent of the Bonsuccés is a building of the municipality of Barcelona (Barcelona) protected as a cultural asset of local interest . It is a convent built between 1626 and 1635 with Baroque style. It was abandoned in 1835, used as a barracks and, finally, demolished in 1945. Currently, there is only a five-story building body with a half-point arches gallery that is the headquarters of the Old City (Ciutat Vella) District Council and which since 1952 had served as the headquarters of the former fifth district. An interesting architectural element is the work portico of Mallorcan Miquel Perelló from 1690 which leads to Bonsuccés Square:
Head southwest on Plaça del Bonsuccés toward Carrer de les Ramelleres,
30 m. Turn left onto Carrer d'en Xuclà, 200 m. Turn left onto Carrer del Carme and, immediately, on your left is the Parròquia de la Mare de Déu de Betlem. L'Església de Betlem, the Church of Bethlehem, is a rare example of a baroque church in Barcelona and is located at La Rambla, 107 with the main entrance at Carrer del Carme, 2. La Mare de Déu de Betlem or Our Lady of Bethlehem was built on the site of an older church that dated from 1553 and was originally the main Jesuit school in the city. The school and chapel burnt down and the current building was constructed between 1680 and 1732 and at the time it was considered the most important church in Barcelona. The present church was designed by Josep Juli and begun several years later in 1680 with the first stone being blessed by Alfonso de Sotomayor Bishop of Barcelona in 1681. The works were directed by Jesuit priest Father Tort and by Dídac de Lacarse and completed by 1732 in a High Baroque style, although work on the decorations continued until 1855. In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled from Catalonia, and the Església de Betlem housed the Seminary Council of Barcelona from 1772 to 1878. The current parish was not officially created until 1835, but remains very active in providing aid to the poor in the local community of El Raval, traditionally part of the red-light district of Barcelona. In 1936 at the start of the Spanish Civil War, Betlem was burned by anarchists, causing the vaulting to collapse and all of the interior decoration to be destroyed. This is considered by most architectural historians to be among the greatest of the city’s losses during the Civil War as the Església de Betlem was possibly Barcelona's most ornately decorated church. Many important works by Baroque painter Antoni Viladomat were destroyed along with a sculpture of Saint Ignatius by Miquel Sala and the fine church organ. What we see today is a relatively austere church consisting of a single nave with altarpieces from other churches and private collections placed in the side chapels:
The main facade of the church on Carrer del Carme is visible as you walk up La Rambla due to a widening at that point. The main door is framed by two Solomonic columns and sculptures of the Jesuit saints Ignatius of Loyola and Francesc de Borja, both by Andreu Sala and dating from 1688. Above the door there is a nativity scene by Francesc Santacruz, who is also responsible for the sculpture of Sant Francesc Xavier on the corner of Carrer Xuclà:
Head southwest on Carrer del Carme toward Carrer d'en Xuclà, 50 m.
Turn left onto Carrer de les Cabres, 70 m. Carrer de les Cabres turns right and becomes Plaça de Sant Galdric, 30 m. In Plaça de Sant Galdric you can find the more budget stalls of La Boqueria market (the most expensive ones are in the entrance from La Ramblas). Usually, there is Farmers' Market in Plaça de Sant Galdric. Try to sample the small Bistro Au Port de la Lune in the Sant Galdric square. A quiet, French cuisine. Delicious portions. Menu del Dia in 12 or 15 euros. We enter La Boqueria market frim its rear side. Just off las Ramblas in the heart of the city and action in Barcelona. This outdoor covered market is very colorful, noisy and crowded. Watch your wallets and purses. You can shop for almost every food product imaginable and there are several sit down stalls to dine at. We did NOT get off our mind in this market. Quite conventional and NOT cheap.
Main Attractions: Cambridge University Botanic Garden, , Fitzwilliam Museum, Corpus Christi College, Corpus Clock, King's College, Great St Mary's Church, Senate House, Market Square, Christ College, Emmanuel College, Sidney Sussex College, The Round Church, St. John College, River Cam Quayside, Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Trinity College, Trinity Bridge, the Mathematical Bridge, Peterhouse Chapel and College.
Public Transport: There are frequent trains from London King’s Cross & London Liverpool Street to Cambridge. During weekdays - there is a service every 10-15 minutes from Liverpool Street station. The ride takes 1.10 - 1.25 hrs. The train ride is quite expensive. Buy "Advance" tickets. Even if the times of your ride are fixed in advance - you can "round the corner" and catch any train without detected or fined by the the conductors. Duration: 1 day. Weather: ONLY good weather. Walking along Cambridge canals deserves a bright day. Distance: 10 km.
Start & End: Cambridge Railway Station. Orientation: Whether you’re visiting Cambridge on a day trip from London, or you’ve decided to spend a few days in one of England’s finest historic university towns, the best thing to do is to step off the crowded streets of Trumpington and King’s Parade, and into college grounds. These places feel like a sanctuary from the outside world. It’s easy to get transported into another time, with ivy-covered towers built hundreds of years ago, porters manning the gates, green lawns that are not to be crossed, and students stepping out in their black academic gowns for formal dinners.
Spending half-an-hour in Liverpool Street before taking your train to Cambridge: Walk 300 m. west to Liverpool Street to Broadgate Circle and spend lovely 20-30 minutes in the charming Urban Eden site. From Liverpool Street Station head west toward Sun St Passage. Turn left onto Sun St Passage. Turn right toward Appold St, then left. Continue onto Sun St and turn left and right onto Broadgate Circle. This brilliant, modern and mainly-pedestrianized development is located beside (west to) and above the railway approaches into Liverpool Street station. In the winter months Broadgate circle used to host Broadgate Ice; London's only turn up and skate rink (not sure, but think there is another skate rink in Canary Wharf). In November 2017, Broadgate installed their first Christmas market. Broadgate Circle is one of London’s latest dining hubs, with a diverse collection of restaurants, bars, cafes and ‘street food traders. With a collection of no less than 18 separate buildings grouped around several open areas, the site acts more like a small town than an office environment. Broadgate Circle has a unique, modern amphitheatre setting and offers international cuisine all year round – from breakfast to supper. There's a lot of dramatic and intriguing architecture in this area. This open space is one of the most memorable features and has been dramatically filled with an amphitheatre. An upper level walkway, level with surrounding squares, fills the outer parts of the circle and lets on to steps down to a shopping arcade and Liverpool Street Station beyond. The bottom layer of the circle is home to shops. Above this is the walkway with views through to the middle, then above that a circular layer of raised bars for those that want a drink
Its main asset during the spring and summer months is a collection of Urban Eden gardens. Urban Eden forms part of an ongoing initiative at Broadgate, which forms the site as a green space:
Deliciously Ella pop-up garden:
If you have five minutes more, hurry-up to the main entrance of Liverpool street. You find myself in front of a modern statue in bright bronze of a collection of five children. This is the Kindertransport. In 1938 and 1939, ten thousand unaccompanied Jewish children were transported to Britain to escape persecution in their hometowns in Germany and Austria. These children arrived at Liverpool Street station to be taken in by British families and foster homes. Only a few were reunited with their families after World War II. Terrifying and, still, noble chapter in the history of modern Europe:
Our daily Cambridge itinerary: we start at the Cambridge Railway Station and walk westward along the Station Road. 350 m. east of the station resides the Cambridge University Botanic Garden (CUBG). We enter the garden through Station Road Gate which is located behind the War Memorial at the junction of Hills Road and Station Road. Opening hours: JAN, NOV + DEC: 10.00 - 16.00, FEB-MAR, OCT: 10.00 – 17.00, APR – SEP: 10.00 - 18.00. Prices: Adult £6.00, over 65s and students with a recognised identification card £5.50, children 0-16 inclusive FREE. Impossible to deposit luggage at the tickets office. The garden is highly rated by gardening enthusiasts. It holds a plant collection of over 8000 plant species from all over the world to facilitate teaching and research. The garden was created for the University of Cambridge in 1831 by Professor John Stevens Henslow (Charles Darwin's mentor) and was opened to the public in 1846. It is an amazing, sublime garden. A peaceful haven. You can spend here hours or, even, half a day. Lots of areas such as the Stream garden, the Bog Garden, the Dry garden, the Rock garden, The Scented Garden, The Chronological Bed etc. A vast variety of plants, trees and flowers. From the outside you would have no idea how spacious and beautiful the gardens are. Very well laid out and superb planting. Eexplanatory panels guide you through the different species. Take your time and make the most of this wonderful garden. You can see, in these gardens, also birds, reptiles, invertebrates, mammals and amphibians that live in these ecosystems:
To continue with our route - please exit the gardens from the same entrance (Station Street entrance, the eastern entrance). Walk north along Regent Street (most of the roads, in this area, have no signs), and, immediately turn west (left) to Bateman Street.
Someone tried scratching off the "E":
We take this road westward until its end (the Botanic Garden on our left) and turn RIGHT (north) to Trumpington Street. Walking approx. 500 m. north along Trumpington will bring us to The Fitzwilliam Museum. The sole public transport to this museum is the U bus from Madingley Road Park & Ride, Cambridge Station (weekdays ONLY). Opening hours: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 17.00, SUN and Bank Holiday Mondays: 12.00 - 17.00. CLOSED: Mondays, Good Friday, 24-26 & 31 December and 1 January. FREE Admission. No large bags and backpacks) or animals are accepted inside. There are coin operated lockers at the South Entrance for coats and personal items. Photography allowed but NO flash.
The grand façade of the neoclassical building of Fitzwilliam Museum:
Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1951 (stands in one of the inner courts, outside the museum):
The Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection of paintings comprises nearly 1700 works, ranging from the 13th to the 21st century. In addition to the regular galleries (over 30) there are alwaysn special temporary (sometimes, extraordinary) exhibitions on. Among the highlights are paintings by Italian artists, especially those of the Venetian school, with masterpieces by Titian, Veronese, Bellotto and Canaletto; a superb collection of landscapes of all schools, including a notable group of atmospheric outdoor oil sketches by Corot, Turner and Constable; a distinguished group of portraits and portrait miniatures by British artists from the 17th to the 20th century, and a remarkable range of works by French Impressionist painters. There are significant holdings of Dutch and Flemish paintings, among which are distinguished works by Ruisdael, Hobbema, Hals and Rubens. The collection of French paintings has grown significantly in recent years with the gift, bequest and purchase of paintings by Poussin, Delacroix, Géricault, Courbet and Monet among others. A particular strength are works by late-19th and 20th-century British and French artists, with outstanding groups of paintings by Vuillard, Bonnard, Sickert, Augustus John, Stanley Spencer and Matisse. You can then relax in the café where they serve really nice scones.
Rubens, The Death of Hippolytus:
The Last of England, by Ford Madox Brown:
Cordelia's Portion , by Ford Madox Brown:
Renoir, La Place Clichy (1880):
Alfred Sisley - A Street in Port Marley (1875-7):
Walter Sickert, Mornington Crescent Nude, 1907:
Jean Leon Jerome, Portarait of Claud-Armand Jerome (1848):
Stanley Spencer, Self-portrait with Patricia Preece:
We leave the FitzWilliam Museum - continuing north along Trumpington Street. We pass: Little St.Mary's Lane, Mill Lane, Silver Street and we see Corpus Christi College on our right. It is notable as the only college founded by Cambridge townspeople. it was established in 1352 by the Guild of Corpus Christi and the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the sixth-oldest college in Cambridge. With around 250 undergraduates and 200 postgraduates, it also has the second smallest student body of the traditional colleges of the Cambridge University. One of the wealthiest colleges in Cambridge and very high-ranking in academic achievements of its undergraduates in the UK. Entrance price: £2.50. Architectural and historical grandeur at its best. Very special atmosphere.
The main entrance - the new court (looking east):
The old court:
The College Chapel:
DO NOT MISS the Corpus Clock or Chronograph which stands at the north-west corner of the college, on the outside of the Taylor Library, at the junction of Bene't Street and Trumpington Street, looking out over King's Parade. It was conceived and funded by John C. Taylor, an old member of the college. It was officially unveiled to the public ONLY on 19 September 2008 by Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking !
From the intersection of Benet Street and Kings Parade (where the Corpus Clock resides) you continue several steps forward more northward - to see the King's College premises on your left (west). The most famous college in Cambridge. King's college lies east to the River Cam and faces out onto (west to) King's Parade in the centre of Cambridge city centre. King's College was founded in 1441 by Henry VI, soon after he had founded its sister college in Eton. However, the King's plans for the college were disrupted by the Wars of the Roses and resultant scarcity of funds, and his eventual deposition. Little progress was made on the project until in 1508 Henry VII began to take an interest in the college, most likely as a political move to legitimize his new position. The building of the college's chapel, begun in 1446, was finally finished in 1544 during the reign of Henry VIII. King's College Chapel is regarded as one of the greatest examples of late Gothic English architecture. One of the largest undergraduate and graduate colleges in Cambridge.
The Front Courtyard:
It has the world's largest fan-vault,
and the chapel's stained-glass windows and wooden chancel screen are considered some of the finest from their era.
The chapel's choir, composed of male students at King's and choristers from the nearby King's College School, is one of the most renowned in the world. Every year on Christmas Eve the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcasted from the chapel to millions of listeners worldwide. SO, we may say that the two most attractive highlights of the visit in King's College would be: the chapel and the choir. Make sure you line up at 16.45 for the 17.30 evensong. Queue up early. If you get there late you might not sit near the choir. The chapel is truly magnificent. It is quite stunningly beautiful.
The picture of the Adoration of the Magi over the altar is world famous and it certainly deserves to be:
Opening Hours: Term Dates: 16 January - 16 March 2018, 24 April - 15 June 2018, 2 October - 30 November 2018: MON - FRI 9.30 - 15.30, SAT 9.30 - 13.15, SUN 13.15 - 14.30. Other periods of the year (non-term dates): everyday 9.30 - 16.30 (except during December and January when the Chapel closes at 15.30). Prices: adult £9.00 or concessions (children and students) £6.00. Photography allowed but without flash and tripod. You buy tickets for entering King's College from the King's College shop on the opposite side of King's parade (the continuation of Trumpington Street). The shop is with books, cards, pictures, clothes, etc associated with King's College. A tip: most of the interesting buildings can already be seen from outside. Attend the service, where you can access the chapel for free and can also listen to the choir. After the service you are free to shortly walk around in the college.
200 m. more northward along King's Parade (north end) will bring us (on our right, east) to Great St Mary's Church, The University Church, Senate House Hill:
it is the university church for the University of Cambridge. The church houses the University Organ and the University Clock. The latter chimes the "Cambridge Chimes" which were later used by the clock tower of the "Big Ben" in London. The first church on the site of the current one was built in 1205, but this was mostly destroyed by fire 9 July 1290 and then rebuilt. During its early years, the church was the property of the crown, but on 15 July 1342, the land was passed to King's Hall. Ownership then passed to Trinity College, where it has rested since. In the Middle Ages it became an official gathering place for meetings and debates for Cambridge University, but this ceased in 1730 when the University's Senate House was built across the street. The present building was constructed between 1478 and 1519. The church was restored by James Essex in 1766. In 1850–51 a restoration was carried out by George Gilbert Scott, followed by further work by Anthony Salvin in 1857. The south porch was rebuilt in 1888. There has been some more restoration work during the 20th century. FREE, but if you want climb the tower you have to pay around 3 pound. Fantastic, amazing views. Not so many stairs (125), but, the stairs are circular and a bit narrow though. On the way up, you go past the bells and can see them as well:
The Senate House viewed from the Great St Mary's tower:
The Senate House is west to Great St Mary Church. It resides in the northern end of the King's Parade road. The Senate House of the University of Cambridge is now used mainly for degree ceremonies. It was formerly also used for meetings of the Council of the Senate. The building was designed and built in 1722–1730 by architect James Gibbs in a neo-classical style. Graduates are presented in the Senate House college by college, in order of foundation or recognition by the university. In the end of King's Parade we turn right (east) to St. Mary Street and, immediately, right to the Market Hill - just to stroll around the busy market stalls. Cambridge Market is centered around the Market Square. This market is one of the landmarks of the city. It is a nice, little, diverse and cosmopolitan market place with local produce and interesting food selection from all over the world - as broad as the selection of countries represented in Cambridge's student population. Many stalls do really good looking "street food". Most of the stalls close at 15.00. Several are open until 17.00:
The next college (Christ College) is 300 m. from the Market Square. Head south on Market Hill toward St Mary's Passage, 70 m. Turn right toward Petty Cury, 17 m. Trn left onto Petty Cury, 130 m. Turn right onto Sidney St, 30 m. Sharp left onto St Andrew's St, 22 m. Turn right and after 15 m. you see the Christ College on your right. The Christ College was founded by William Byngham in 1437. In 1505, the college was granted a new royal charter and changed its name to Christ's College, becoming the twelfth of the Cambridge colleges to be founded in its current form. Within Cambridge, Christ's has a reputation for strong academic performance and tutorial support. It has averaged 1st place on the annual ranking, that lists the Colleges of the University of Cambridge in order of their undergraduate students' performances, from 1980–2006 and third place from 2006 to 2013. One of the wealthiest colleges in Cambridge. Christ College is open to visitors ONLY in terms dates except during the Christmas close down and during the Quiet Period (exams and holidays periods), as follows: College Grounds 09.00 - 16.00 7 Days a week, Fellows' Garden 09.00 - 16.00 Monday to Friday only.
The Great Gate on St Andrew's Street:
The First Court:
The Chapel in the First Court:
The Second Court:
The New Court:
Young Darwin Statue by Anthony Smith, in Darwin gardens adjacent to the New Court, Christ's College:
After exiting Christ College we change direction, for a short (optional) detour, and continue walking along Hobson Street and St. Andrews Street with our back to the north (Christ College) and our face to the south. After passing Emmanuel Street on our left (north-east) and arriving to Downing Street (on our right) we see Emmanuel College on our left. One of the top-ranking and wealthiest colleges in Cambridge. In every year from 1998, Emmanuel has been among the top six colleges in the table, which ranks colleges according to end-of-year examination results. Its mean score places it as the second highest ranking college. Emmanuel is the fourth wealthiest of the colleges at Cambridge. Like all of the older Cambridge Colleges, Emmanuel originally took only male students. It first admitted female students in 1979. The college was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer to Elizabeth I. Mildmay's foundation made use of the existing buildings. The College had been occupied, before, by a Dominican friary until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, between 1536 and 1541 by by King Henry VIII. Emmanuel Collegeis found to be quite a pleasant place with a real sense of community. Not big and scary but not too small and gossipy. It Is also a beautiful college, located right near to the new Grand Arcade shopping centre. It's one of the most competitive colleges to get a place at:
Emmanuel College Chapel designed by Christopher Wren:
Dining hall of Emmanuel College:
We retrace our steps and walk back along St. Andrews Street, with our face to the north, until e meet the intersection with Petty Cury. We continue directly north along Sidney Street. We pass the Green Street on our left, and, immediately further, on our right is the Sidney Sussex College. The college was founded in 1596 under the terms of the will of Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex (1531–1589) and named after its foundress. In her will, Lady Sussex left the sum of £5,000 together with some plate to found a new college at Cambridge University "to be called the Lady Frances Sidney Sussex College". It was from its inception an Protestant foundation. Sir John Harington and Henry Grey, 6th Earl of Kent, supervised by Archbishop John Whitgift, founded the college seven years after her death. Oliver Cromwell studied here. Cromwell was born in the nearby town of Huntingdon and came up to Cambridge to study in 1616. Cromwell's skull was buried in the college ante-chapel in 1960. Sidney Sussex is recognized as one of the smaller, more classical Cambridge colleges. Its current student body consists of roughly 350 undergraduate students and 190 graduates. Academically, Sidney Sussex has tended towards a mid-table position in the unofficial Cambridge University Colleges Table, Surprisingly elegant, peaceful grounds. Open: everyday 09.00 - 15.00. The Chapel Court:
View of the college from Sidney Street:
North face of Hall Court:
Impressive Chapel inside Sidney Sussex College - an unexpectedly long and beautiful place of worship. Before the founding of the college the site was occupied by Franciscan friars, so it's no surprise to find a fine wood-carvings. A beautiful chapel, and empty of tourists...:
We continue walking northward, entering, now, the Bridge Street and passing, on our right, the Jesus Lane. On our right is the Round Church. One of the most enjoyable small churches in East Anglia. The round shape was believed to represent resurrection, since Constantine's church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (regarded as one of the most holy sites in Christendom) was though to stand over the site where Jesus was buried, and where he subsequently rose from the dead. Given this symbolic meaning, only four medieval round churches survive; The Round Church in Cambridge, Temple Church in London, St John's in Little Maplestead, Essex, and Holy Sepulchre in Northampton. The round bit, the older part was constructed in 1130 by a religious guild of local merchants. Sometime before the mid-13th century this Holy Sepulchre church became a 'proper' parish church, served by Augustinian monks from the Hospital of St John. It is the marvelous circular nave and ambulatory, with the wonderful medieval carvings, that make this such an enjoyable church to visit. a real gem. Opening hours: MON 14.00 - 17.00, TUE - SAT 10.00 - 17.00, SUN 13.30 - 17.00. Prices: adult £3, child - £1.50. Bill Gates, the Dalai Lama and Queen Victoria have all visited the Round Church!
Opposite the Round Church (left or west to the intersection of Bridge Street and the Round Church Road or St. John Street) stands the St. John College. Opening hours: 1 MAR - 31 OCT: 10.00 - 17.00, Other dates (off-season): 10.00 - 15.30. The College is closed from 25 December - 2 January. Prices: Adult: £10, Children (12-17), senior citizens & students: £5.00, Children under 12: FREE. The tourist route is accessible by all visitors; however the main route enters the Chapel via steps. The college was founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort (mother of King Henry VII) in 1511. She had begun the process of transforming the ancient hospital of St John the Evangelist, Cambridge (founded c. 1200), into a college for students in the liberal arts and theology. The college's alumni include the winners of ten Nobel Prizes, seven prime ministers and twelve archbishops of various countries. The Romantic poet William Wordsworth studied at the college, as did William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson, the two who led the movement that brought slavery to an end in the British Empire. Prince William was affiliated with St John's while undertaking a university-run course in estate management in 2014. St John's College is also well known for its choir, its members' success in a wide variety of inter-collegiate sporting competitions and its annual May Ball. In 2011, the college celebrated its 500 years anniversary, an event marked by a visit of HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The main entrance is from St. John Street. The gatehouse is crenelated and adorned with the arms of the founder Lady Margaret Beaufort. Above these are displayed her ensigns, the Red Rose of Lancaster and Portcullis. The college arms are flanked by curious creatures known as yales, mythical beasts with elephants' tails, antelopes' bodies, goats' heads, and swiveling horns:
First Court is the oldest part of the college, built in the years 1511-20 to contain all the necessary buildings of a residential college, including living quarters, kitchen, library, and hall. First Court is entered via the Great Gate, and is highly architecturally varied. First Court was converted from the hospital on the foundation of the college, and constructed between 1511 and 1520. Though it has since been gradually changed, the front (east) range is still much as it appeared when first erected in the 16th century. Parts of First Court were used as a prison in 1643 during the English Civil War. In April 2011, Queen Elizabeth II visited St John's college to inaugurate a new pathway in First Court, which passes close to the ruins of the Old Chapel.
The Chapel, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and built during the 1860s, includes in its interior some pieces saved from the original chapel. It is the tallest building in Cambridge:
The Chapel Roof:
St. John's Third Court, Old Library on the Right:
We continue walking north-west along Bridge Street. We pass Portugal Place,on our right, with its white-washed low houses. The next road to the right is Thompson Lane (with a closed Synagogue). At last we arrive to the River Cam. We turn RIGHT and walk with our face to the north-east along the river and along the River Cam Quayside: (note: we shall return back along this section afteer having glance at the bridge, the lock and the pier):
punting can be quite tricky if you do it for the first time, be prepared to collide with others boats and having to control at all first half an hour:
The Lock and the Bridge on River Cam:
Jesus Common (on your right, east) from the Bridge on River Cam:
Return along the eastern bank of River Cam - back to the bridge which connects Bridge Street (the east bank of Rivar Cam) and Magdalene Street on the west bank of River Cam. After passing Prezzo restaurant and the bridge over the river (our face to the west) - we see Pepys Library on our right (east) (second court of Magdalene College). Part of Magdalene College, but should be admired in its own right. This is the personal library collected by Samuel Pepys which he bequeathed to the college following his death in 1703. Regarded as the jewel in the crown of Magdalene College, the Pepys Library is a rare example of a 17th-century private library. The Library is open to members of the public and visiting scholars. Pepys was a lifelong bibliophile and carefully nurtured his large collection of books, manuscripts, and prints. At his death, there were more than 3,000 volumes, including the diary, all carefully catalogued and indexed; they form one of the most important surviving 17th-century private libraries. Pepys made detailed provisions in his will for the preservation of his book collection; and, when his nephew and heir, John Jackson, died, in 1723, it was transferred, intact, to Magdalene College (in the Second Court). The library houses Samuel Pepys’s original diaries and remains one of the most significant collections of books, manuscripts, documents and prints acquired by any private individual. Pepys Library is open to visitors during Cambridge University Full Term and for a period over the summer. Booking in advance is not required. Entrance to the Pepys Library is FREE for individuals. Opening hours: 05.01.18 – 25.03.18: MON - SAT: 14.00 - 16.00, 17.04.18 – 08.09.18 MON - FRI: 14.00 - 16.00, SAT: 11.30 - 12.30, 13.30 - 14.30, 09.09.18 - 30.09.18 Closed. The Library is housed on the first floor of the building. FREE entrance (and from here you can continue to other premises of Magdalene College). The gardens around are very pretty and calming too. You cannot take any bags, cameras or phones into the library. NO photography of any sort is allowed inside. Unbelievable piece of history !!! The old books and manuscripts are wonderful to see:
Follow the signs or walk more to the west and you are facing the other buildings of Magdalene College. Remember: entrance is FREE compared to over charged other colleges in Cambridge. One of the small and more delighted colleges in Cambridge. Wonderful architecture and stunning setting on the river. Walk into the First Court and see the delightful houses around:
Step into the second courtyard and enter the fellows dining hall (no electricity here it all by candlelight). All very Harry Potter like:
Walk into the Fellows Hall and see the wooden panels, the long benches and the pulpit:
From Magdalene College we head southwest. We turn right toward Magdalene St and turn left o(south) onto Magdalene St. We continue south-east onto Bridge St, go through 1 roundabout and turn right (west) onto the pretty All Saints Passage:
We turn LEFT (south) onto Trinity street. The second turn to the right is Trinity Lane:
On the middle of Trinity Lane, on your right (north) is the main entrance (Great Gate) to Trinity College. The Great Court and the Chapel are open daily, 10.00 - 16.30. Tickets, priced at £3 for adults, may be purchased from the visitors’ booth inside Great Gate. Alternatively, Great Court may be viewed from beneath Queen’s Gate, on Trinity Lane, every day, free of charge. Photography is allowed (no tripods) except of the Wren Library section in the back side of the campus. Trinity was founded by Henry VIII in 1546, when he combined two existing colleges and seven hostels. Trinity College is now a home to around 600 undergraduates, 300 graduates, and over 180 Fellows. The most expensive and most reputable College in Cambridge. Members of Trinity have won 32 Nobel Prizes out of the 91 won by members of Cambridge University, the highest number of any college at either Oxford or Cambridge. Isaac Newton discovered gravity here, in this college. Unfortunately, the Wren Library was closed during our visit. We were told it has a very unique atmosphere and very rare documents and books. Walk in the footsteps of the greats: texts by Newton, including his annotated Principia Mathematica, documents of Galileo, and Copernicus, an original copy of the Canterbury Tales, the First Folio of Shakespeare, A.A Milne's hand-written manuscript of Winnie the Pooh as well as Milton's manuscripts are there. The Library is only accessible for two hours, during the day, and only allows access to 15 persons at a time. Only half of the Library's central space is open for visitors. Do not miss the Chapel with the sculptures of, amongst others, Newton and Tennyson.
Great Court of Trinity College:
Great Gate (left side of the photo):
The statue of the college's founder Henry VIII over the Great Gate:
The Clock Tower at the Trinity College:
The Dining Hall:
Head west on Trinity Lane and turn left to stay on Trinity Lane. Turn right onto Garret Hostel Lane and you face, in front the Trinity Bridge over River Cam. It was built in 1765 to the designs of James Essex to replace an earlier bridge built in 1651:
To the left of the bridge (south) is Jerwood Library.
We continue walking SOUTHWARD along the River Cam. We see the Clare College (and a narrow water canal) on our left. It is 800 m. walk southward until this path ends (at Queens College and the Mathematical Bridge). We pass through the back entrance of Kings College (no entrance to the public). When the path ends - we see the Mathematical Bridge. The Mathematical Bridge bridges the River Cam northwest of Silver Street Bridge and connects two parts of Queens' College. Its official name is simply the Wooden Bridge. The bridge was designed by William Etheridge, and built by James Essex in 1749. It has been rebuilt on two occasions, in 1866 and in 1905, but has kept the same overall design. Although it appears to be an arch, it is composed entirely of straight timbers built to an unusually sophisticated engineering design, hence the name. The original "mathematical bridge" was another bridge of the same design, also commissioned by James Essex, crossing the Cam between Trinity and Trinity Hall colleges, where Garret Hostel Bridge now stands.
We turn LEFT (east) to Silver Street. At the intersection of Silver Street and Trumpington Street - we see this church:
We turn RIGHT (south) to Trumpington Street. After walking 320 m. south along Trumpington Street - we see Peterhouse Chapel and College on our right. It is the oldest college of the university, having been founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, and granted its charter by King Edward I. Today, Peterhouse is one of the wealthiest colleges in Cambridge. The college has very small student population. Peterhouse is one of the few colleges that still insists that its members attend communal dinners, known as "Hall". Hall takes place in two sittings, with the second known as "Formal Hall", which consists of a three-course candlelit meal and which must be attended wearing gowns. At Formal Hall, the students rise as the fellows proceed in, a gong is rung, and two Latin graces are read.
From Peterhouse - we have a 2 km.walk to Cambridge Railway Station. Head southeast on Trumpington St toward Fitzwilliam St, 320 m. Slight left to stay on Trumpington St. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Lensfield Rd. Continue to followLensfield Road, 480 m. Turn right onto Hills Rd, 480 m. Turn left onto Station Rd, 480 m.
Saint-Malo Day 1:
Main Attractions: Port de plaisance Vauban, Quai Saint-Vincent, Quai Saint-Louis, Bastion Saint-Louis, statue of Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais, Porte de Dinan, Esplanade de la Bourse, Môle des Noires, Ramparts Walk, Bastion Saint Philippe, Bastion de la Hollande, view of Fort du Petit Bé, Porte Saint Pierre, La Tour Bidouane, Bastion Fort La Reine, Porte Saint Thomas, Place Chateaubriand, Place de la Poissonnerie, Porte Saint-Vincent, Town Hall (Mairie) (out of the walls), Bon-Secours beach, Grand Bé, Petit Bé, Place du Marché aux Légumes.
Start & End: Gare de Saint Malo. The SNCF Station is in the Square Jean Coquelin. The station serves TER regional trains connecting Saint-Malo with Rennes, and TGV trains to and from Paris (Gare Montparnasse). The Gare is also the regional Gare Routière (bus terminal), with buses to Cancale, Dinan, Dinard, Pontorson (for Mont Saint-Michel) and Rennes. Duration: 1 day. Weather: A bright day with blue sky - a MUST. With a fine weather - Saint Malo is one of the most wonderful attractions in France. Distance: 13 km.
Our Hotel: Hotel ibis Styles Saint Malo Port, 6-8 Quai du Val, 35400 Saint-Malo. There is a bus from the train station to the hotel. There is a bus stop next to the swimming pool (La piscine du Naye) - 7 minutes walk from the hotel. The train station is located about 20 minutes walk from the hotel. DELIGHTFUL STAYING. ENJOYABLE. ALL FACILITIES are EXCELLENT. Good breakfasts. Comfortable and quiet room.
A statue near the hotel:
Transport: Taxis cost approximately €8.50 (€12.50 after 19:00, on Sundays and public holidays). Buses run every 20 minutes and go directly to the city centre and the train station. The shuttle bus is called 'Coeurs de Ville' and costs around €1.30 per person. Visit the Keolis Saint-Malo website for more information: https://www.ksma.fr/
Introduction: St-Malo is 417 km (259 miles, 4 hours) west of Paris on the Brittany (west) coast of France. It is an historic walled town bordered by golden sand beaches. During the summer months it is packed with visitors who come to stroll the circuit of its medieval ramparts. St-Malo is packed solid in high summer (July, August, and the first few days of September), very busy April through June and September through mid-November, especially on weekends; and sleepy from mid-November through March. It is a wonderful, VERY PICTURESQUE place. Within the medieval walls (Intra-Muros, designating the historic district) are narrow streets lined with solid granite buildings that, on second look, do not appear to be as ancient as the city or its walls—and, in fact, they aren't. A disastrous fire in 1661 reduced much of the town to ashes, and aerial bombardment during World War II (1 to 14 August 1944) destroyed 80% of the buildings within the walls. You don't come here looking for medieval atmosphere except for the ramparts along the city walls. Come for the delightful seaside atmosphere, the beaches, the sunsets, and boat cruises along the Breton coast. Warning: The tides at St-Malo and surrounding areas can be dangerous, and it's important to be aware of the times of high tide. There are signs posted at various access points to warn that if you get caught on an island. Do not try to return. Rather, wait until the tide recedes and you can safely return. Times of high tides are posted at the Tourist Information Office, or you can check with your hotel. A tide table will tell you the times of high tides (pleines mers) and low (basses mers).
How long ? 2 DAYS IS ENOUGH FOR VISITING THIS WONDERFUL TOWN.
L'Office de Tourisme de St-Malo, Esplanade St-Vincent, St-Malo. The Office du Tourisme is outside the Porte Saint-Vincent (one of the main entrances to the walled town). Just go across the boulevard toward the marina and you'll see it next to the Palais des Congrès. If you're planning to visit the Fort National, the Grand Bé, or the Petit Bé (see below), check with the tourist office for information on tides and the timing of visits.
Our Itinerary: The walk from the Railway Station to our first destination - Port Vauban is 1.3 km (flat terrain). From there It takes approximately 10 minutes to walk to the town centre. From Gare de Saint Malo we walk 75 m. southwest on Avenue Anita Conti. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Rue Théodore Monod (actually, continue direct westward), 190 m. Slight right to stay on Rue Théodore Monod, 25 m. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Avenue Louis Martin (slight left, then, slight right) and go through 2 roundabouts for, totally, 1.0 km. Actually, after 900 m. along Avenue Louis Martin - you see the water on both sides. On your right (north-east) is Quai Surcouf. We are in Port de plaisance Vauban or Bassin Vauban. Port de plaisance Vauban and its continuation (to north-west), Espl. Saint-Vincent enjoy a prime location under the walls of the old fortified city, just a stone's throw from the Porte Saint-Vincent and the tourist office (see below).
City Walls from Espl. Saint-Vincent (north-west from Port de Vauban). On the left side of the photo below - resides the Tourist Office of Saint-Malo in Esplanade Saint-Vincent:
We walk around the Port Vauban basin. We came along Avenue Louis Martin with our face to north-west. we slight left (our face more to the west) and, then, again, left (our face to south-west). Doing this 180° turn along the water basin - we see, on our right (north) the Porte St-Vincent (main entrance to Intra-Muros):
We walk along Quai Saint-Vincent, and,later, along Quai Saint-Louis, with our face to the south. The city walls, along both of the docks - are on our right (west):
Grande Porte (where Quai Saint-Vincent changes to Quai Saint-Louis) on our right (west):
Further south is further, southward along Quai Saint-Louis, with our face to the south - we see on our right (west) Porte Saint-Louis (another gate/entrance into the Intra Muros):
WE approach the southern end of Quai Saint-Louis. Bastion Saint-Louis resides in its most southern edge. The construction of this bastion, named in honour of King Louis XIV began, in 1714 during the second expansion of the city and was completed in 1721 during the third increase of Saint-Malo. This bastion was, after its construction, called bastion Saint-François and, then, changed its name to bastion Saint-Louis in honor of the King. It defended the access to harbour. During the French Revolution, the ground floor of the bastion was used as the storage room for the terrible guillotine.
At the south-west corner of the walls (where Quai saint-Louis meets Rue d'Orléans) stands the statue of Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais (Saint-Malo 1699 - Paris 1753) - French naval officer and administrator, in the service of the French East India Company:
As we cross the Rond-Point de l'Île Maurice (the round square with Bertrand-François Mahé statue) - we see the Espl. de la Bourse - stretching on our right to the west:
Further south, on our right, Gare maritime de la Bourse:
If you walk 1.3 km south from Rond-Point de l'Île Maurice, along Chaussée Eric Tabarly - you'll arrive to the Ibis Styles hotel. In this case - we return from the hotel BACK north to Porte de Dinan via Quai de Trichet. From Hotel ibis Styles Saint Malo Port, 6-8 Quai du Val head west on Quai du Val Rue le Pomellec. Go through 1 roundabout, 350 m along Quai de Trichet. It is 750 m. walk to Rond-Point de l'Île Maurice. Head northwest on Quai de Trichet toward Terre-Plein du Naye, 190 m. At the roundabout, take the 4th exit onto Chaussée Eric Tabarly, 500 m. Slight right to stay on Chaussée Eric Tabarly, 45 m. we enter Rond-Point de l'Île Maurice. 200 m. further to the west and we arrive to Porte de Dinan. Exit the roundabout onto Espl. de la Bourse, 130 m. Continue onto Porte de Dinan, 40 m.
View from Rond-Point de l'Île Maurice and Chaussée Eric Tabarly to the bastion Saint-Louis:
From Rond-Point de l'Île Maurice - we continue east to Porte de Dinan. Exit the roundabout onto Espl. de la Bourse, 130 m. Continue onto Porte de Dinan, 40 m. The gate of Dinan was built in 1714 during the works of the second growth. It then served as an outlet on the south side of the original precincts of the city. It was also called the Navy Gate because the offices of the Navy were on the ground floor of the building to the left of the door entering (1, rue Saint-Philippe). The famous naval commander Robert Surcouf (Saint-Malo, 1773 - 1827) also lived, after his marriage in 1801, in this former hotel, whose facades were rebuilt identically after 1944. It was called, also, "The Bishop Gate" because the bishops of Saint-Malo had to go through it at their first entry into the city:
With your face to the gate - the whole promenade to your right (EAST) is Esplanade de la Bourse. Breathtaking views of the water and beachfront as well a views of the city. Many photo opportunities:
The walk along the esplanade is MAGNIFICENT. The sights of the sea and the ferries dock on your left (south) and the ramparts (on your right and back) are stunning:
We continue walking from Esplanade de la Bourse further south along Môle des Noires. It is a narrow stretch of land with a lighthouse in its southern end. The black pier in Saint-Malo is located at the entrance of the Port. It was put into service in 1838 and was moved in 1934 to the end of the new extended pier. It was a cylindrical turret masonry 9.70 meters. Destroyed by the Germans in 1944. It . Why "Black"? It would be women in mourning who were gathering here. It would also be because of the black rocks on which the lighthouse was built:
We walk BACK from the lighthouse to the city ramparts - with our face to the north and, later, to the east:
We recommend climbing to the walls at Porte de Dinan with our face to the north, on our left (west) Rue Saint-Philippe and on our right Rue d'Orléans (both of them are quite narrow roads). We started our St-Malo ramparts walk at the Porte de Dinan and spent a delightful couple of hours wandering at our leisure. Since, we approach the midday or afternoon hours - we opt for the LEFT side (the sun coming from the west). We start walking on the ramparts over Rue Saint-Philippe. We are in the south-west corner of the ramparts:
Exactly in the south-west corner of the walls - stands Bastion Saint Philippe. Dating from 1714, Saint Philip Bastion has the shape of an irregular triangle - 2 embrasures open towards the west to protect the entrance to Saint Malo harbour and neighboring Dinard:
We go clockwise from there , turn right and start walking along the WESTERN side of the walls.
start walking the western side of the walls - view to the south:
As we advance along the western walls - the road below us (on our right, east) is Rue Guy Louvel:
On our left(west) is a stunning view, deep below, of Plage du Môle (Beach of the Mole). As we said before - one of the explanations for the name "The Black Mole" is for the rocks (or dam, called Black Mole, 500 m. length) on which the beach and pier were built: the Roches Noires, named after their color. it is a very nice sandy beach for swimming:
As we advance northward along the western walls - we arrive to the section of Bastion de la Hollande (Holland Bastion). This section was built to protect Saint Malo from Dutch fleet attack. Constructed 1675 – 1689. Transformed at the time of the first expansion of the city 1708. Holland Bastion was armed with 24 cannon. In 1696, the Count of Toulouse replaced them with larger pieces: 12 of 36 calibre and 12 of 48 calibre. This gift was given to the inhabitants of St Malo for their courage and successful defense during the 1696 attacks.
Further north, still in the green area of Bastion de la Hollande, we arrive to an extensive area with cannons and statues facing the Fort du Petit Bé (an island in the sea during the tide hours). A gem of French military architecture. At the end of the 17th century, the maritime war between French, English and Dutch raged. At the heart of this economic and military battle, Saint-Malo is fast becoming the first port in France. It was urgent to defend the famous corsair city of Saint Malo, where its strategic position is of prime importance. To do this, Louis XIV commissioned the architect Vauban to implement a military defense. Vauban designed and constructed an ambitious defense system that perfectly integrated the geography of the coasts and the possible maritime attacks. At the center of this complex of fortifications, the Petit Bé island fort was built under the direction of Garangeau. It is located 700 meters from the ramparts of Saint-Malo and not far from the Grand Bé. The fort could accommodate a garrison of 160 men during the sieges. It consists of a large platform, a building on three levels and two bastions. Until 1885, it was occupied by the French army which maintained it. Beyond this date, it downgraded militarily. Although classified as a Historic Monument in 1921, the Petit Bé was abandoned for more than a century. From year 2000 the island is restored by the municipal authorities of Saint Malo and the Petit Bé is open to the public (during the low tide hours). Since then, many works have been done and guided tours allow walkers to discover the history of Petit Bé. It is Accessible all year round at low tide or by boat (free) (see below). Guided tours of Petit Bé include: presentation of the defense systems of the Bay of Saint-Malo, commented exhibition on the mechanism of the tides, models of the 5 versions of the fort of the bay. The fort is still standing proud. A building like that which is over 300 years old, located in the open sea, with 120 years of abandonment, it is fabulous. On this island - you rub shoulders with history:
THe long and wide space of Bastion de la Hollande is quite extensive (5 minutes walk). It is bordered, below the walls, on the east side by Rue de la Clouterie and, in its northern edge, by Porte Saint Pierre - a gate in the walls. The massive building on your right (east) is Logis Hôtel de la Porte Saint Pierre (run by the Tiphaine family since 1936). The Hotel-Restaurant Porte Saint-Pierre boasts a wonderful location, not just within the walls of the old St. Malo, but right next to a gate in the walls giving access to the beach and offering stairs up to the top of the wall. The views to the ocean are spectacular !
We continue 150 m. further north, along the western walls of Saint Malo - arriving to Crêperie Le Corps de Garde (on our right), 3 Montée Notre Dame - a nice little place overlooking the bay. Rue de la Crosse is below the walls on our right:
220 m. walk further north will bring us to another (smaller) green area over the walls - Passage de la Poudrière and La Tour Bidouane. The Bidouane Tower is one of the main fortified towers of the Malouin ramparts. 23 m high and 13 m wide, it is part of the desire to make Saint-Malo an important stronghold. It was built on a rocky promontory during the second half of the 15th century, at the northwest corner of the Intra-muros enclosure. The tower changed its name several times: Bidouet, Tour des Champs-Vauverts or Bell Tower. It took its current name only in 1691, during its repair. It was also against this tower that the Anglo-Dutch tried to lead in 1663 an "infernal machine", that is to say to blow it up by sending a ship filled with explosives. It consists of a horseshoe plan very characteristic of the artillery towers of the fifteenth century. The fortified structure at the back of the tower, on the city side, is called the Champs-Vauverts rider. Its corner turret built in corbelling bears the date of 1652. On the platform, we find the statue of Robert Surcouf (Saint-Malo, 1773 - 1827) - a famous French corsair. The Bidouane Tower rises on three floors and allows, from its upper platform, to observe the tip of the Cap Fréhel. For several years, the Bidouane Tower has hosted many exhibitions. The views back to the south along the western walls - are not less than breathtaking !
The views of the beach (Passage Des Bés), downstairs are also wonderful:
On your right (east) is La Maison du Québec. Its goal: to make Quebec known and loved in France, and to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two Francophone communities. Here, beyond this green space, in the most north-west corner of the walls - we leave the walk over the walls and descend down to the old city of Saint Malo - continuing from west to east along We have an opportunity to get a closer glance to the beach from this road:
Walking 180 m. eastward along Rue du Château Gaillard - and we see, on our left, the Bastion Fort La Reine. The bastion was originally an artillery battery called the White Horse Bastion, built on Vauban's orders in 1694 after the first Anglo-Dutch bombardment of the city. At its feet are the rocks where exploded the "Machine infernal" in 1693, a powder ship launched by the English to attack the port of Saint-Malo. This military fortification was raised to its current level during the work of the fourth growth of the city (1737-1744). This stage of work connected the fort with the gate (into the walls) of Saint-Thomas (Porte Saint Thomas):
Offshore (more to the west, in the sea) is the fort of La Conche, begun in 1692 to defend the entrance pass of the Pit Norman. The latter is considered the masterpiece of the maritime forts of Vauban:
Towards the southwest, stands the islet of . The tomb of François-René de Chateaubriand (Saint-Malo, 1768 - Paris, 1848) stands out at its northeastern end (see below):
You can return to the walls from Rue du Château Gaillard (or from Place Chateaubriand a bit south to this road). Attention: we shall return to this point and to Hôtel de Ville in Place Chateaubriand downstairs within several minutes:
The northern walls command nice views over the northern beach with the relics of the Vauban glorious fortifications. Here, in Porte Saint Thomas - there is a "kink" in the walls. The St. Thomas Gate was opened in 1740 during the work of the third enlargement of the city. Near this gate were located the famous baths of Saint Malo. In 1835, the city of Saint-Malo made the decision to develop the baths which knew a growing success. The first mobile cabins were made available to bathers and a bathhouse opened in 1838 on the north side of the ramparts. In 1843, men and women were still bathing in separate parts of the beach. In 1905, wearing trousers below knee, shirt or vest were still mandatory...
The northern wall - view to the west:
The northern wall - view to the east. Further to the east - we see Château De La Duchesse Anne and the Hotel De ville (see below):
Now, as we promised before - retrace your steps and return back and down to the old city (walk back westward along the walls and descend to the city in Place Chateaubriand). The main attraction here is the Hôtel de Ville. Open: MON - FRI: 8.30 – 12.15 and 13.30 – 18.00:
You may find yourself in the Hotel de Ville area around midday and quite hungry. The restaurants here are quite fluent, touristic and pricey. Better walk deep into the old town to find a nice, more budget, crêperies) - restaurants specialising in making crêpes. We found a nice restaurant in Rue Sainte-Marguerite - 170 m. from Place Chateaubriand. Head east on Place Chateaubriand, 20 m. Turn right to stay on Place Chateaubriand, 80 m. Continue onto Place Guy la Chambre, 40 m. Turn right onto Rue Sainte-Marguerite, 80 m. Slight left onto Place de la Poissonnerie. Here, we found Crêperie Le Touline, Place de la Poissonnerie. 21.60 euros for two portions of generous Crêpes and two cups of cider (be cautious !). Delicious Galettes in the heart of old Saint-Malo. A nice local crêpe experience. A special atmosphere around. BTW, the Hotel Bristol Union in this square - might be a viable option with reasonable prices.
Our next stop is Porte Saint Vincent (150 m. walk). From Place de la Poissonnerie we head back north toward Rue Sainte-Marguerite, 10 m. Place de la Poissonnerie turns slightly right and becomes Rue Sainte-Marguerite, 80 m. Turn left onto Place Guy la Chambre, 40 m. Turn right onto Porte Saint-Vincent, 20 m. In 1616, a Benedictine convent (Our Lady of Victory) was established here. Some arcades of the old cloister are still visible, as well as the spire of the bell tower of the old church rebuilt in 1959. The first (military) extension of Saint Malo, planned by Vauban in 1689, opened the Porte Saint-Vincent in 1709 and gained a whole new district on the sea, connecting it to the Grande Porte with a new wall pierced by twenty-two embrasures and sheltering thirty-two shops topped with vaulted dwellings, "bombproof". The whole area around this gate was planned by engineer Simeon de Garengeau (Paris, 1647 - Saint-Malo, 1741) during the years 1709 to 1742. Merchants enriched by Peru's silver imports purchased spaces around and built stately homes there. In 1890, a second identical gate was added south of the first. The gate of 1709 is surmounted by the sculpted coat of arms of Brittany with the motto Potius mori quam foedari: "Rather death than defilement" and that of 1890, bears the motto Semper fidelis: "Always faithful":
When you exit the gate of Saint Vincent (out of the walls) you can see, more clearly, on your back the bastion (and the parking lot with amusement facilities):
Looking forward you see the Jardin des Douves, left side - Tourist Information office and right side - the pier with a small marina:
Slight 45° and turn left towards the outer side of the Town Hall (Mairie). The section of the walls near the Town Hall - is very impressive:
AGAIN, we return walking over the walls. We shall climb the stairs near Saint Vincent Gate and start walking on the EASTERN walls with our face to the SOUTH.
View of the Tourist Information Office from the eastern section of Saint Malo ramparts:
Our first section of walk over the eastern walls of Saint Malo is over Rue Jacques Cartier. When Quai Saint Vincent changes to Quai Saint Louis (downstairs, on our left) - also Rue Jacques Cartier meets Place du Poids du Roi (and Hotel ibis Styles Saint Malo Centre Historique) - downstairs, on our right.
Further south, on your LEFT (east) - Quai Saint Louis and the harbour:
On our right, downstairs - We keep walking southward along the eastern walls until we arrive to the south-east corner of the walls:
Here we see AGAIN the statue of René Duguay-Trouin:
The harbour near the south-east corner of the walls and the ferry to Saint Severine (annexed town to Saint Malo):
From here - we REPEAT part of our daily itinerary. We RETURN to the western beach of Saint-Malo in order TO ACCESS THE FAMOUS ISLANDS, adjacent to the town, DURING THE AFTERNOON LOW-TIDE HOURS (basses mers). It is 450-500 m. walk, again, to Porte Saint Pierre (the best entry point to Saint Malo western beaches). We choose the shortest (and different) route (already not explored, yet, today...). Head west on Rue d'Orléans toward Rue d'Asfeld, 85 m. Turn right onto Rue Feydeau, 50 m. Continue onto Rue de la Fossé, 130 m. Continue onto Rue André Desilles, 50 m. Continue onto Rue de la Pie Qui Boit, 120 m. Turn left onto Rue de la Crosse, 10 m. Turn right onto Place du Guet, 40 m. Cross Porte Saint Pierre and continue westward, down, onto the beach. You have, now, different views of the western walls of Saint-Malo from the Bon-Secours beach opposite Porte Saint Pierre:
The path to and from the island is only accessible at lower tide levels, so plan accordingly where possible to ensure that you can get both on and OFF the Grand Bé. During the low tide hours - the island can be reached on foot from the nearby Bon-Secours beach and you can climb along a coastal path to the fortress and Tombeau de Chateaubriand:
In a bright day, during the afternoon hours - the scenery is beautiful: bright blue waters, white sand, magnificent coastline, small islands and forts out in the water. A magical place !!!
For instance: this is the stunning coastline you see from the ascent to the island:
Go for the sunset, it is stunning. With low tide you can enjoy the beach even more. Standing on the Grand Bé gives the opportunity to see the city walls and out to sea from a different angle:
The ascent up the hill of the Grand Bé island (and down back to the beach) are a bit demanding and quite time-consuming. BUT, on the top - you are afforded with glorious views of the ocean and the city and a few VERY ROMANTIC moments:
François-René de Chateaubriand, a romantic French writer native to Saint-Malo, is buried on the island, in a grave facing the sea on both sides of the island: west and north:
From the Grand Be - you can have a view even further (west) out to Petit Bé, which has recently opened up its 17th century fort and battery to visitors. Fort National can also be reached on foot from the Grand Plage ('great beach'):
We did the walk to the Petit Bé and it took us further 15 minutes to walk along the cobbled-stone path from the Grand Bé to the Petit Bé and its fort. In 1667 the French government built a small fort on the island of Petit Bé. Construction of the island's fort began in 1689. The fort was part of the defenses that Vauban designed to protect Saint-Malo from British and Dutch fleets. The defensive works included the walls of Saint Malo, Fort National, Fort Harbourg and Fort de la Conchée. Construction works began under the direction of the engineer Siméon Garangeau. The fort was still under construction in at the time of the British attack on Saint-Malo in November 1693. When an Anglo-Dutch force attacked Saint-Malo again in 1695, the fort helped repel the attack. It was finished in 1707, the year Vauban died. The French army occupied the fort until 1885. Later, the army turned the fort over to the city of Saint-Malo. We did not enter the fort but you can pay a small fee for a guided tour (All the explanations are in French) of the fort (6 euro per adult and 4 euro for youngster). The fortress has been restored by a private enthusiast and its well worth making the visit to support him:
There are VERY impressive views of the south-western walls of Saint Malo from the Petit Bé:
You have to hurry up returning to the mainland. Otherwise you are stranded in the high tide for hours (do not dare swimming back !!!). The way back from the fort can also be done by boat if the island(s) is (are) surrounded by water. If the tide is still low - make the way back along the cobbled-stone (and cemented) path to Saint Malo. The sun is on your back and the sights of Saint Malo town, opposite, are FANTASTIC. It is a breath-taking 500 m. walk from the island(s) to Porte Saint Pierre.
We shall CLIMB along the path (100 m.) when the boats of the Société Nautique de la Baie de Saint Malo are on your left and arrive to the Porte Saint Pierre to enter (again) the town of Saint Malo:
From Porte Saint Pierre - head east on Place du Guet toward Rue de la Clouterie, 40 m. Turn left onto Rue de la Crosse, 10 m. Turn right onto Rue de la Pie Qui Boit, 120 m. Continue onto Rue André Desilles, 50 m. Turn left onto Place du Marché aux Légumes, 30 m:
We are in the centre of Saint Malo. To return to the railway station - it is a 2 km. walk. Head north on Place du Marché aux Légumes toward Passage Grande Hermine, 25 m. Continue onto Rue de la Vieille Boucherie, 75 m. Slight right onto Rue Porcon de la Barbinais, 140 m. This road is full with colorful, delicious and aromatic Bretagne shops and foodies: chocolates, Belgian waffles, scoonies etc':
Turn right onto Rue Saint-Vincent, 140 m. Turn right toward Porte Saint-Vincent, 10 m. Turn left onto Porte Saint-Vincent, 25 m. Slight right onto Avenue Louis Martin, 40 m. Turn right toward Quai Saint-Vincent, 30 m. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Quai Saint-Vincent, 120 m. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Avenue Louis Martin, 120 m. Slight left to stay on Avenue Louis Martin. Go through 2 roundabouts, 900 m (!). At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Rue Théodore Monod, 230 m. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Avenue Anita Conti and the station is on the right 90 m further.
Along the eastern seafront from Sant Marti to Barceloneta:
Main Attractions: Torre Telefonica, Museu Blau,
Start: El Maresme | Fòrum Metro station. End: Barceloneta Metro station. Both are serving the Line 4 (Yellow) line. You can take Tram line T4 as well. Duration: 2-3 hours. Weather and time: Bright afternoon. Orientation: Quaint and relaxed walk along several of the most splendid beaches of Barcelona, far from the bustling streets.
The Itinerary: we wak 400 m. from the Fòrum metro station to our first destination the Museu Blau. We are at Sant Marti district. From El Maresme | Fòrum station we head southeast on Rambla de Prim, 140 m. At the roundabout, continue straight, 210 m. On your left - the Torre Telefonica or Torre Diagonal Zero Zero. Torre Telefonica is located at the most eastern end (the origin) of Diagonal, Barcelona's main avenue. Exceptional building - sharp and stylized, a clean and serene form, whitish and light. Very impressive architectural complex. The building is 110 metres tall with 24 floors. The tower hosts the corporate headquarters in Catalonia of Telefónica Group. The monumental building was erected in eight months, working in three shifts a day, seven days a week. Unbelievable.
Turn left, 35 m. You face the Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Barcelona, Carrer de Leonardo da Vinci, 4-6. On your left is the Museu Blau or Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona. Opening hours: From October to February: TUE - FRI 10.00 - 18.00, SAT 10.00 - 19.00, SUN, holidays and open days 10.00 - 20.00. From March to September: TUE - SAT 10.00 - 19.00, SUN, holidays and open days 10.00 - 20.00. Closed: MON (except public holidays), January 1, May 1, June 24, and December 25. FREE: The first Sunday of every month, all day; and Sundays throughout the year, from 15.00, February 12 (Saint Eulàlia); May 18 (International Museum Day), and September 24 (La Mercè). Prices: Museu de Ciències Naturals: € 6, Temporary exhibition: € 6,50, Combined admission fee,Museu de Ciències Naturals – Jardí Botànic: € 7, Combined admission fee, permanent exhibition Planet Life – temporary exhibition: € 10,50. Concessions (Peopled aged from 16 to 29 years, Peopled aged 65 and over, Families with a maximum of two accompanying adults, providing one is the father, the mother or the legal guardian. There must be at least one member under 16 years): Museu de Ciències Naturals: € 2.70, Temporary exhibition: € 4,50, Combined admission, Museu de Ciències Naturals – Jardí Botànic: € 3.50, Combined admission fee, permanent exhibition Planet Life – temporary exhibition: € 6,50. For holders of a valid bus Turístic , a 20% discount on the normal admission price. The Museu Blau is located at the Parc del Fòrum. It was designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron - a Swiss architects company. It is an iconic triangular blue building (hence its name). Before being converted into a museum in 2011, the structure was popularly known as Forum Building. It was originally conceived as the main venue of the Forum Universal de les Cultures. Hosted in Barcelona in 2004, the Forum event somewhat initiated the urban renovation of an area comprised between the eastern end of the Avinguda Diagonal avenue, the city waterfront, and the Ronda del Litoral (see below); previously, this 40-hectare site was a sort of neglected land, occupied by old industrial buildings and disused technical infrastructures. It occupies 9,000 square meters distributed on two floors with modern facilities and services for all audiences. All exhibitions and activities are structured around an immense free access hall, which is the starting point and the arrival point of all the programs and Museum services: the reference exhibition "Planet Life", the spaces for temporary exhibitions, the Media Library, the Science Nest for children 0-6 years, the classrooms, the auditorium, the workshops and the shop. A beautiful, but quite small, museum. The exhibits are mostly of stuffed animals, fossils, rocks and crystals. A big part of the building is dedicated to educational groups. One of the main advantages of this museum - is being an introduction for the eastern promenade of BCN. A great fall back in case of weather change. Well worth a visit on a rainy day. STUNNING ARCHITECTURE OUTSIDE AND INSIDE !!! The building is a piece of art in itself !!! Photography allowed - but WITHOUT flash.
Snowboarding near Museu Blau - Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona:
From the Museu Blau we'll head to a chain of beaches - skipping the Parc de Forum (seeing it from distance). From the Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Barcelona, Carrer de Leonardo da Vinci, 4-6 we head southwest, 35 m. Turn left toward Av. del Litoral, 35 m. Turn right toward Av. del Litoral, 210 m. Turn left toward Av. del Litoral, 35 m. Take the pedestrian overpass, 190 m. Turn left onto Av. del Litoral, 240 m. Turn right toward Moll de la Vela, 15m. Turn right onto Moll de la Vela. The beach of Banys Fòrum ((Forum pools)) is on your right after 500 m. We see the Parc de Forum on our back :
We continue walking southward along the beach and the next beach (1.2 km further south) is Platja de Llevant:
1.1 km. further south and we arrive to the Nova Mar Bella beach and Skate Park mar Bella:
500 m. furtherb south and we arrive to Platja del Bogatell. 600 m. more to the south we pass Platja de la Nova Icària. Locals say that this is the BEST beach:
700 m. further south-west and we arrive to Torre MAPFRE and Hotel Arts. You see two skycrapers. The more northern one (black and white) is Torre MAPFRE and the more southern (distant) one (all white) is Hotel Arts:
The beach opposite Torre MAPFRE and Hotel Arts:
In front of the Hotel Arts stands El Peix: Frank Gehry’s Golden Fish Sculpture. The fish statue was built for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The 52 m. long golden fish sculpture El Peix is one of the best known and most striking landmarks on Barcelona’s seafront. It’s gold coloured stainless steel surface shines under the sun and changes colors depending on the angle of the sun and the current weather conditions:
We turned noth-west to Placa Villa Olimpics and approached Hotel Arts. A stunning hotel. Everything concerned with this establishment is classy, aristocratic and breathtaking. The hotel is utterly guarded. Good chances you'll see a celebrity coming in or getting out through the hotel's doors:
We tried to get a panoramic view from one of the upper fllors of Hotel Arts. After severeral efforts we sneaked into the hotel and took photos:
The closest Metro station is Ciutadella | Vila Olímpica. From Hotel Arts,
Carrer de la Marina, 19-21, we head northwest on Carrer de la Marina, 75 m. At the roundabout, we take the 1st exit, 85 m. and turn left onto Carrer de Salvador Espriu, 200 m. We enter the Parc de les Cascades. It is, actually, an open avenue, a gateway to what was then the Olympic Village. The park, under which passes a section of the Ronda del Litoral ring road, is named after a cascade, or waterfall, that descends from a pool towards its namesake avenue. An ensemble that can be see from the small, round, raised square at the side of the water.
From Parc de les Cascades we head west toward Carrer de Moscou, 20 m. We continue onto Carrer de Moscou, 130 m. We turn left onto Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 15 m. Slight left to stay on Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas and 55 m. further you see the Ciutadella | Vila Olímpica Metro station. It's served by L4 (yellow line), and tram route T4, of which it is a terminus.
Paris - Madeleine, Palais Garnier - Opera, Grand Magasins:
Main Attractions: Place de la Madeleine, l’Egise Saint-Marie Madeleine, Galerie De La Madeleine, Paris Olympia, Hotel Scribe and Restaurante Lumière, Musée du Parfum, Garnier Opera House, Théâtre de l'Athénée, Place Édouard VII, Place Diaghilev, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps.
Start: Place de la Madeleine Metro station. You have the metro on lines 8, 12 or 14 and disembarking at the Madeleine stop, or buses numbers 24, 42, 52, 84 and 94 will also get you here. Place de la Madeleine (metro station at the Boulevard de la Madeleine, situated on the right hand side as you look at the Madeleine church). End: Havre - Caumartin Metro station (lines 3 and 9). Duration: 1/2 day. Distance: 5 km. Weather: any weather.
Introduction: The neighborhood around Opéra and Bourse is a elle époque paradise of grand boulevards, refined arcades, and mass-market art-nouveau entertainment. Here, modern day workers continue to take advantage of the legacy that nobility and finance left in the 19th century. Brightly-lit brasseries, theaters, and cinemas sit side by side with French bistros predominating in one area and Japanese restaurants in another. The area is most famous for the Palais Garnier opera house and glamorous department stores.
Our 1/2 day itinerary: Place de la Madeleine is located at the end of the Rue Royale and is named after the impressive structure called La Madeleine, which was eventually consecrated as a church almost one hundred years after this square in Paris was first established. We shall explore, first, the culinary gems of this district - before entering the mighty church of La Madeleine.
Place de la Madeleine is a Parisian district of luxury and prestige. One of the top places in Paris for shopping. Stylish restaurants and top-notch shops are gathered here, competing to show off the most beautiful window. In fact, the square now seems devoted to food. The square excels in its abundance of gourmet food stores. Famous specialized food brands such as Fauchon and Hédiard have shops here. The Madeleine Square neighborhood has always been capable of attracting well-to-do shoppers and visitors.
Patrick Roger, #3 place de la Madeleine, Chocolatiers & Shops - Beautiful, expensive and eclectic boutique chocolate shop with intriguing decoration:
The tiny Maille boutique, easily overlooked in the corner nook (# 6 Place de la Madeleine), stocks mustard. Only in Paris could you have an entire shop devoted to mustard. Maille, one of the oldest mustard brands in France, has its origins in Marseille when distiller Antoine Maille set up his first mustard tap in 1723. You can find here more than 60 different types of mustard flavored with everything from violets to champagne - including exotic flavors such as raspberry basil, Thai spices, Cassis, chestnut, cherry and almond, celery and truffle:
Next door two prestigious caviar houses rival for attention—Caviar Kaspia (no. 17). In #17 resides the shop that stocks one of the most prized foods in the world, caviar at Kaspia. Stocking the finest caviars since 1927, the shop has Beluga, Ossestra, and Baeri imported from Italy and Bulgaria. Smoked salmon, crab, Foie Gras, Vodka, and Iberian ham are also for sale. The elegant restaurant has an Art Nouveau décor:
Café-Restaurant Paris London, Place de la Madeleine #20:
At La Maison de la Truffe (#19), the rare and sought-after delicacy is well represented. Truffle varieties sold include: Burgundy, scallop carpaccio with Brumale truffles, White Alba, Black, and Summer. A restaurant and tasting room offers a selection of dishes prepared with truffles. There is also a shop for gourmet gifts including truffle-infused Armagnac:
Aristocratic grocer Hédiard (no. 21) is even older than Fauchon. Ferdinand Hédiard introduced Parisians to the joys of exotic fruits in the 1850s and Hédiard jams, marmalades, chocolates, biscuits, teas, confections, spices and pâtes de fruit are still bestsellers today, lined up with an enticing array of oils and spices and a fantastic wine cellar. Hediard is the ultimative upscale Parisian food shop. The bold black and red striped insignia is prominent on the boxes and tins of packaged foods. The fresh food counters offer premium quality fruits and vegetables, take out and prepared foods, pastries, cheeses, and Foie Gras. The boutique also has an extensive wine cellar and restaurant. The shop is CLOSED:
Founded in 1886 by Auguste Fauchon and revamped by designer Christian Biecher. Fauchon is one of the leading luxury gourmet shops in Paris (between # 26 and # 30 (between#26 and #30 Place de la Madeleine) and around the world. You cannot miss the gorgeous pink packaging that rivals the fashion boutiques of Avenue Montaigne. Two outlets adjacent to each other. One shop carries mostly packaged products with their signature colors of hot pink and black, including chocolates, biscuits, cookies, candies, tea, coffee, jellies, jams, and mustard. The other offers an extensive line of prepared and takeout foods, including cakes and pastries, appetizers, quiches, cheeses, caviar, hams, patés, and a bread bakery. There are tables to eat the prepared foods. A restaurant, café, and cocktail lounge complete this set of premises:
The Madeleine Church (its full title: l’Egise Saint-Marie Madeleine), the anchor of the square, is a neo-classical, Greco-Roman style temple and originally started as a shrine to the battles Napoleon had won. During the period known as the First Republic (1792-1804), following the French Revolution, the foundations of earlier sacred buildings were removed and discussions were had as to what to do with the space. As France had been de-Christianized during the Revolution a civic rather than a religious function for the building was decided upon; various suggestions were put forward including a new site for the Bank of France. Considerations were brought to a halt, however, when in 1804 Napoleon crowned himself Emperor. What followed was one of the most ambitious propaganda programs of the nineteenth century. As well as looting works from the world’s finest collections to display in the newly refurbished Louvre, renamed the Musée Napoleon, some of the greatest artists and sculptors of the age were recruited to exalt the new emperor. It was only fitting that Napoleon would turn to architects, too, to realize his vision of an imperial capital city. Three monuments of particular note were constructed with this end in view: the Arc de Triomphe, the Vendôme Column and the church at the Place de la Madeleine. To celebrate the Napoleonic army achievement, having defeated the Austrians in the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, a competition to select the best design for the Temple was established in 1806. The competition had to be judged by to a jury selected from the Imperial Academy. As it turned out, it was Napoleon who opted for the design of one Pierre-Alexandre Vignon (1763-1828). Vignon, who had trained under the great neoclassical architect Claude Ledoux, envisioned a peripteral temple (a temple surrounded by a single row of columns). Lacking Ledoux’s more visionary character, however, Vignon’s design for the exterior was basically a scaled up version of the Maison Carrée in Nîmes. But the project was abandoned after Napoleon was exiled. The Bourbon Restoration (1814-30) sought to revive the relationship between church and state. For this reason it was decided, as the temple was still incomplete, to return to the pre-Revolution purpose of the building project, namely to construct a church dedicated to Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene has very strong connections with France. According to tradition she was among the first Christian proselytizers: after the crucifixion she journeyed to Provence from the Holy Land converting the French to Christianity.
Open every day from 9.30 to 19.00. FREE. Admire the church’s architecture, listed as a historical monument in 1915. Its tall columns of 20 meters invite you to meet this neoclassical monster in Paris. Unlike the Maison Carrée though, the portico of La Madeleine has eight columns rather than six. These fluted Roman Corinthian columns – there are fifty-two of them in all – rise up to a staggering twenty meters and encompass the entire structure:
Note the pediment frieze, designed by Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire in 1829 (the Bourbon Restoration). The subject is The Last Judgment, a centuries-old motif found on relief sculptures above the doors of countless churches and cathedrals. While Lemaire largely follows iconographical convention, depicting Christ the Judge at the center of the composition and on His right the archangel Gabriel with his horn announcing the Day of Judgment and on His left the archangel Michael wielding the sword of justice, it is in the figure of Mary Magdalene kneeling at the foot of Christ that the underlying message of the sculpture is revealed:
The church's bronze doors bear reliefs representing the Ten Commandments. The bottom relief - Nathan the prophet Confronts David the king:
In contrast to the severity of its exterior - on entering the church, we are faced with a surprisingly opulent spectacle. Inside, the church has a single nave with three domes, lavishly gilded in a decor inspired by Renaissance artists. At the rear of the church, above the high altar, stands a statue by Charles Marochetti depicting St Mary Magdalene being carried up to heaven by two angels:
A History of Christianity, a painting by Jules-Claude Ziegler on one of the domes:
Above the entrance door is the famous pipe organ, built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, on which such composers as Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré played:
Baptism of Christ by François Rude:
From L'église de la Madeleine - head southwest on Place de la Madeleine. Turn right to stay on Place de la Madeleine, 90 m. Turn left to stay on Place de la Madeleine, 20 m. Turn right onto Galerie de la Madeleine, 65 m. Galerie De La Madeleine resides west to the church. It connects Rue Boissy d'Anglas and Place de la Madeleine. The French architect, Théodore Charpentier (1797 – 1867) specialized in designing theatres and restaurants. Amongst other things, he rebuilt the Opéra Comique after it was destroyed by fire in 1838, he designed the neo-Renaissance decor of the restaurant, “Trois Frères Provençaux”, in the Palais-Royal and he also built the Café Pierron. In 1842, he turned his attention to the Place de la Madeleine then, as now, an elegant and very expensive part of Paris. Charpentier was charged by the people who owned the Société du passage Jouffroy with designing and building a Galerie, a passage couvert, between the Place de la Madeleine and the rue Boissy d’Anglais, the Galerie de la Madeleine. Work began on the Galerie in 1840 and it was opened in 1846:
From Galerie De La Madeleine - head BACK southeast toward Place de la Madeleine, 65 m. Slight right onto Place de la Madeleine, 120 m. Continue onto Boulevard de la Madeleine for 210 m. and stop at the city’s largest wine store, Lavinia, at 3-5 Boulevard de la Madeleine:
Head east on Boulevard de la Madeleine toward Rue de Caumartin, 40 m. Turn left at Place Henri Salvador onto Rue de Caumartin, 25 m. Continue onto Rue de Sèze, 140 m. Turn right onto Rue Vignon. The street bears the name of Pierre-Alexandre Vignon ( 1763 - 1828 ), architect of the Church of the nearby Madeleine. 140 m. further note Helmut Newcake - Patisserie without Gluten - rue Vignon #28. A paradise for GF people:
At #32 rue Vignon - you find L'Atelier des Sens - Food & Drink Classes & Cooking Workshops - for the whole family: parents and children. English classes are available.
We had our lunch at Paris - Le Roi du Pot au Feu , 34 rue Vignon. Pot au Feu is a beef boiled with vegetables served with red wine (typical winter dish in France). Recommended. Simple, delicious food. Reasonable prices. Efficient service:
We retrace our steps and walk BACK along rue Vignon - heading to the Opera garnier. 34 Rue Vignon. Head south on Rue Vignon toward Rue de Sèze, 180 m. Turn left onto Rue de Sèze, 140 m. The road received its name in honor of Raymond de Sèze (1748-1828), one of the lawyers of Louis XVI. Continue onto Rue de Caumartin, 25 m. Turn left onto Boulevard des Capucines, 150 m. L'Olympia, Olympia Hall or Paris Olympia is located at 28 Boulevard des Capucines (on your left). Exactly like the Moulin Rouge - this mythical hall was co-founded in 1888, by Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler. It opened in 1889 as the Montagnes Russes but was renamed the Olympia in 1893. Olympia played host to the most famous musicians, circuses, ballets, and operettas. It declined during and after WW2. Bruno Coquatrix revived it as a music hall with a grand re-opening in February 1954. Édith Piaf achieved great acclaim at the Olympia giving several series of recitals from January 1955 until October 1962. Dalida is the biggest solo icon that has performed there. The Olympia was like her second home. Her first performance in Olympia was in early 1956 at auditions held by Eddie Barclay and Bruno Coquatrix. It was then when she was discovered and chosen to sign contract. Same year she would support Charles Aznavour for his concert. First own concert in Olympia she had was in 1959. After that she would perform in Olympia every 3-4 years, singing for 30 nights in row, all of sold out. The Beatles performed eighteen days (16 January – 4 February 1964) of concerts at the Olympia Theatre, playing two and sometimes three shows a day. Jacques Brel's 1961 and 1964 concerts at L'Olympia are legendary. Marlene Dietrich's performed in the Olympia in 1962.
Turn left onto Rue Scribe to see two iconic hotels in Paris. This street honours Eugène Scribe (1791-1861), who directed the Théâtre Comique Français from 1820-50. At n° 2, the Grand Hôtel (nowadays the Intercontinental), was built in 1862 for the 1867 World Exhibition on the initiative of the Pereire brothers:
At #1 and #2 reside Hotel Scribe and Restaurante Lumière. The hotel was built in 1861 as part of the creation of the Opera district. Many celebrities were residents in this hotel, including Josephine Baker who made it her Parisian residence until year 1968:
Le Lumière restaurant is adjacent to Hotel Scribe. The restaurant’s name is derived from the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, who presented here the first public projection of their new invention : the cinematography, the 28th of December 1895. The event still inhabits the premises thanks to the numerous period snapshots that adorn the room.
Head north on Rue Scribe toward Impasse Sandrie, 90 m. Make a U-turn at Impasse Sandrie and the Fragonard Perfume Museum, 9 Rue Scribe is on the right. The Musée du Parfum, also known as the Fragonard Perfume Museum, is a French private museum of perfume. The museum was created in 1983 by the Fragonard perfume company within a Napoleon III town-house (built 1860). Its rooms contain period furnishings and perfume exhibits, including antique perfume bottles, containers, toiletry sets, stills for steam distillation of perfume extracts, etc. Displays show how perfumes are made today, and present the history of perfume manufacturing and packaging. Of particular interest is an orgue à parfum (perfume organ) with tiers of ingredient bottles arranged around a balance used to mix fragrances. The museum is open daily; admission is free. Commercial:
But, the best sight from rue Scribe - is of the Paris Opera Garnier. Paris has two operas, the Garnier Opera House and the Opéra Bastille (bastille square). The Opera Garnier is also called "Opera de Paris". It was built under Napoleon III you can see the N of Napoleon on the façade. The visit of the interior of the Opera House is not free. If you find a seat it's better to go to a show to enjoy the beauty of the concert hall:
Palais Garnier - the National Opera of Paris is open: every day from 10.00 to 17.00. Closed the 1st of January and the 1st of May. It is closed also on: Monday 2 July 2018, Tuesday 11 September 2018, Wednesday 26 September 2018, Thursday 27 September 2018, Friday 28 September 2018 until 13.00, Sunday 30 September 2018, Monday 1er October 2018, Wednesday 3 October 2018, Saturday 6 October 2018, Sunday 7 Ocotber 2018, Friday 9 November 2018, Saturday 10 November 2018,
Wednesday 14 November 2018 until 12.00, Saturday 17 November 2018,
Saturday 15 December 2018, Tuesday 25 December 2018. Prices: 12 € Youngsters (12-25): 8 €. Book your tickets for the guided tour in advance. Online tickets: https://visites.operadeparis.fr/selection/event/seat?perfId=536976513&productId=517971834
To reach the Palais Garnier: Metro: Opéra station, lines 3,7,8. RER: Auber station, line A. Bus: routes 20, 21, 22, 27, 29, 42, 52, 53, 66, 68, 81, 95.
Garnier Opera House, located on Place de l'Opera is one of Paris' greatest landmarks. It was originally called the Salle des Capucines because of its location on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, but soon became known as the Palais Garnier in recognition of its opulence and its architect. It was designed by Charles Garnier in a Neo-Baroque style and it is an architectural masterpieces of its time. The Palais Garnier is "probably the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris". Built between 1865-1872, it was designed to impress from both outside and inside. This was the time of Napoleon III, when much of the Paris we know and love today was built. The whole area of the Opera Garnier was completely reconstructed by Baron Haussmann, appointed by Napoleon to modernize Paris but especially to open up this congested medieval city.
From the outside, a multi colored marble facade is topped by golden statues and the names of opera legends. The top of the main facade is adorned with golden statues representing harmony and Poetry. Looking over those two is Apollo. Below, the façade is adorned with the busts of great composers, the best-known are Mozart and Beethoven. The Palais Garnier also houses the Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra de Paris (Paris Opera Library-Museum). Although the Library-Museum is no longer managed by the Opera and is part of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the museum is included in the guided tour of the Palais Garnier. The Opera building is gorgeous in its exterior and very ornate, sometimes breath-taking in its interiors. The decoration inside is amazing. Allow, at least, 1.5 hours for the guided tour:
The Entrance Hall:
Garnier did not waste much time and intended that visitors would go from one climax to another. For us, this means ascending to the Grand Staircase. The Grand Staircase is… huge. It’s actually quite a piece of engineering marvel. The staircase is housed a huge nave made of pink, green and white marble:
No doubt, the highlight of your visit to the Opera Garnier, is the Grand Foyer. This huge 18 meters high, 154 meters long and 13 meters wide hall, was intended as a place to take a break, mingle, and perhaps close a few deals. It is purposely located just outside the highest paying boxes. The Grand Foyer of the Palais Garnier, inspired by the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles:
The auditorium is not always accessible to visitors. You cannot actually go down to the stage level but can get a great view of this massive horseshoe shaped theatre. Palais Garnier auditorium and stage:
the main highlight is the famous Chagall ceiling and the 8-ton chandelier hanging down from it. Chagall’s masterpiece was actually painted only in 1965, replacing a few others before it. Chagall's Opéra Garnier Ceiling:
Just outside the Grand Hall, you can step out for some ‘fresh’ Paris air and enjoy fine views out on the balcony. You can imagine how the opera goers felt when sipping champagne up here, having the whole town watching them from down below. The Opera Terrace:
The Opera Square from the Palais Garnier Terrace:
Here, completing our visit in Palais Garnier. We have to options: heading east to the Grand Boulevards or to the west to the the grand stores (magasins) in the Boulevard Haussmann. We opted for the second option. But, before heading to Place Diahagilev - we make a small "loop" or detour to Édouard VII Square. From the Opera continue north-west along Rue Auber 75 m. Turn left onto Rue Boudreau, 50 m. On the first turn to the left, at 7 rue Boudreau, stands the Théâtre de l'Athénée. Renovated in 1996 and classified a historical monument, it is among the most beautiful buildings in Paris:
Turn left onto Square de l'Opéra-Louis Jouvet, 100 m. Turn right onto Place Édouard VII, 25 m. The main attraction, here, is the statue of Edward VII (1841-1910) king of England. Opposite - the Edouard VII - Sacha Guitry Theater. The English King Edward VII was known as "the most Parisian of English kings". Naturally, it was an English architect, William Sprague , who built a theater in the center of the square in 1913 . Sacha Guitry , is a French playwright , actor , director , director and screenwriter , born on February 21 , 1885 in St. Petersburg ( Russia ) and died on July 24 , 1957 in Paris. He played and directed many plays in this theatre. Noel Coward (UK) and Orson Wells (USA) also played and directed in this theatre. The history of famous performances and plays started at 1916 and, still, exists, for more than 100 years !!!
From square Édouard-VII we return northward. Head northwest on Édouard VII Square, 25 m. Turn left to stay on Édouard VII Square, 15 m. Turn left onto Rue Bruno Coquatrix, 65 m. Turn right onto Rue de Caumartin, 170 m. Turn right onto Rue Auber, 15 m. Turn left onto Rue des Mathurins, 190 m. Here, in the intersection with rue Scribe - you get a pretty sight of the Opera - Garnier:
Turn left onto Rue Scribe, 10 m. Enter Place Diaghilev, 40 m. This square owes its name to the creator of Ballets Russes, Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929). The proximity to the Opera influenced here in naming this square. The Ballets Russes was a ballet company based in Paris that performed between 1909 and 1929 throughout Europe and on tours to North and South America. The Ballets Russes is widely regarded as the most influential ballet company of the 20th century. The company's productions created a huge sensation, completely reinventing the art of performing dance, integrating many visual arts and disciplines. It also introduced European and American audiences to tales, music, and design motifs drawn from Russian folklore. The influence of the Ballets Russes lasts to the present day. Diaghilev Square is served by the Metro lines 3 and 9 at the Havre-Caumartin station and lines 7 and 9 at the Chaussée d'Antin - La Fayette station. Bus lines: 22, 42, 52, 53.
For well over a century, Paris’s three legendary monuments to shopping – Le Bon Marché, Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette – have beckoned travelers from near and far with the promise of untold, and accessible, treasure. Still functioning much as they did at the time of their inception in the mid- to late-19th century, these elegant "grandes dames" are important historic landmarks in their own right, with as much to say about the evolution of Paris as their more lofty touristic counterparts. These immense stores both signaled and facilitated the transition between old and new Paris. By the 1830s a new genre of store emerged that grouped a variety of goods in a single location. A few of these ‘magasins de nouveautés’ initiated a vigorous expansion that included organizing the store into distinct departments on several floors around a glass-covered courtyard. Although at least two of these newfangled department stores pre-dated Le Bon Marché, which was founded in 1852, none was as innovative or displayed the shrewd management, sales and display tactics – not to mention advertising strategies – that distinguished the newer store from the others and kept it at the forefront of retailing for decades. Le Bon Marché and Au Printemp’s sales and merchandising strategies had far-reaching effects on Paris society and France at large. Via their Paris flagship stores as well as through an ever-expanding catalogue and mail order business, these department stores not only promoted seasonal styles, creating the need to constantly update a wardrobe according to the trends, but they also disseminated bourgeois values to the whole of French society. Commodities once accessible only to the rich became items of mass consumption, thus blurring class lines and fortifying the rising middle class. The architecture of the grands magasins was also key in their mounting success. By the 1850s and 1860s, Baron Charles Haussmann’s massive redevelopment programme was quickly transforming old Paris, demolishing entire cramped and dingy blocks to make way for capacious boulevards and the uniformly pristine white-fronted buildings so familiar today. Ever-expanding stores hired young, ambitious architects – for example, Gustave Eiffel contributed to the expansion of Le Bon Marché in 1876. On the Right Bank, the neighbouring Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps continue to innovate with an eye to their glorious past. Galeries Lafayette with an emphasis on art and creation via its imaginative, fashion-forward windows and the new Galerie des Galeries exhibition space, inaugurated in 2013. Au Printemps, meanwhile, has undergone a luxury new makeover and in 2013 celebrated the opening of its spectacular new Louvre branch, its first in 32 years, just opposite the museum entrance in the Carousel du Louvre. Parisians are très chic and the department stores here carry all the latest in the fashion scene. The big stores stock most of the international brand names and there are some really nice designer stuff to be had in the shops.
Galeries Lafayette: In 1895, two cousins from Alsace, Théophile Bader and Alphonse Kahn, had set up a haberdasher’s shop just down the street, at the intersection of Rue de la Chassée d’Antin and Rue La Fayette. This canny location easily capitalized on its proximity to the Opéra Garnier, the Grands Boulevards and Gare Saint-Lazare, where crowds of Parisians and out-of-towners alighted each day. From there, the cousins expanded to occupy five adjacent buildings. But it wasn’t until 1912 that Galeries Lafayette came fully into its own, with the unveiling of its spectacular domed flagship, designed in the height of Art Nouveau splendour and including a sweeping ironwork staircase rising 43 metres to the store’s iconic neo-Byzantine stained glass dome, which remains its symbol. Boasting 96 departments, Galeries Lafayette, the only one of the three grands magasins that’s still family owned, quickly became the monument to fashion and luxury which it remains to this day. This grand Parisien department store is a must visit. Its history goes back 123 years (as for 2018...) and it’s the most famous and spectacular of Parisien department stores. Here you’ll find nine floors of brand names like Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Thierry Mugler, Armani, Chanel, John Galliano, Prada, Sonia Rykiel, etc., and if you’re lucky, you might also see some just-as-famous shoppers in the store. Galaries Lafayette’s main Haussmann store is believed to be just as visited as the Eiffel Tower. With approximately 120 million visitors each year, it is considered to be the leading shopping centre of Europe. 50,000 visitors a day come to discover or buy clothes, fashion, decoration, delicatessen, jewelery or luxury products. Don't miss its fabulous Art Nouveau glass domes. Looking down at the layers and layers of luxury goods, you get a sense of being in fashion paradise. The main building (with the large dome) contains women's fashion (from casual to haute couture), jewelery, perfume. On the same side of the street, you will find the Lafayette Man. Finally on the other side of the street the Lafayette House offers linens and Lafayette Gourmet delicatessen. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 9.30 to 20.30 (until 20.45 on Thursdays and Saturdays), Sunday: 11.00 to 19.00.
La Terrasse Lafayette is an attraction in its own. La Terrasse des Galeries is a rooftop cafe with excellent views of the city. From there you can also see also the famous glass dome:
The Opera - Garnier from La Terrasse Lafayette:
From Galeries Lafayette, Haussmann 40 we walk 500 m. westward to arrive to the Printemps department store. Head northwest on Rue de la Chaussée d'Antin, 140 m. Turn left onto Rue de Provence, 350 m and arrive to Printemps Haussmann, 64 Boulevard Haussmann. In 1865, former Bon Marché employee Jules Jaluzot took advantage of an auspicious spot just around the corner from the bustling Gare Saint-Lazare train station, on the recently created Boulevard Haussmann, to open Au Printemps with funds from his wife, a substantially wealthy actress from the Comédie Française. Within two decades, Jaluzot, a ferocious innovator in his own right, had expanded Au Printemps to an entire city block – a soaring glass and wrought iron structure embellished with statues, sumptuous mosaics and elaborate gilding. Its lovely exterior is remarkably like Zola’s model for the fictional store Au Bonheur des Dames, but since the novel was published the same year that Au Printemps opened, this is difficult to confirm. Au Printemps was the first department store to install elevators and the first building in France to be lit by electricity, a mere three years after the introduction of Thomas Edison’s electric bulb. After a fire in 1920, Au Printemps’ interior was rebuilt to include a magnificent jewel-coloured cupola, which was entirely dismantled in 1939 to preserve it from air attacks, and restored to its modern-day magnificence in the 1970s. Le Printemps is yet another upmarket Parisien department store. You can shop till you drop here, but before you get to that stage, you can refuel at one of the store’s seven catering outlets which offer anything from a quick snack to more substantial fare. Deli-Cieux, a restaurant on the 9th floor offers light and original grilled and stir-fried dishes so you can dine and enjoy the great panoramic views. Classified as a Historical Monument, Le Printemps is spread over three buildings, 25 floors, one day of which is not enough to strip all the wonders. The store is organized in three units, each corresponding to a store: the Printemps de la Mode, developed on its seven floors (accessories, luxury, international designers, fashion and trend, shoes, etc ..) an auditorium; the Spring of Beauty and the House which includes 9 floors (lingerie, beauty, care and institutes, luxury and delicacies, kitchen and utensils, linens, children, luggage ...) and the Spring Man, five floors dedicated to gentlemen, from footwear to major brands and jeans. Apart from its million references and more than 300 brands sold exclusively, this temple of glamour and luxury presents a wonder on the top floor of the Fashion Spring, the restaurant, with its magnificent Art Deco dome, classified, which opens on the rooftops of Paris, as a tribute to the City of Lights. A must see. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: from 9.35 to 20.00 (until 20.45 on Thursdays and Saturdays), Sunday: 11.00 to 19.00. Note: you can photo the glass roof only from floors 1-3:
Climb to the 7th floor - to see marvelous sights of Paris:
Printemps from Rue du Havre (which crosses Bolulevard Haussmann):
Havre - Caumartin Metro station is a few steps south to the Printemps department store.