Barcelona, city of freedom !
"Barcelona could be just a paradise on the sea, an island of light footsteps and sandals, and that would already be perfect, but there is more : a rebellious, seditious city, occupied by a colourful flock of wild birds, eccentrics, dreamers, it’s a way of life, a way of walking" (Pierre Ducrozet). What better way to express the richness and diversity of this mythical city which combines tradition and modernity, culture with a sense of celebration and all this in a climate blessed by the gods. The perfect place for a city break, with your loved one or with friends. Visit with Katya Pellegrino.
Iconic and touristy : Las Ramblas
Even if it is the most touristy district of the city, it is impossible not to take a stroll on this long pedestrian avenue right in the city center, with 1,2 km café terraces, flower kiosks, street vendors, tourist shops, street artists ... The avenue connects the Place de Catalogne, to the column of Christopher Columbus on the seafront. Divided into five "ramblas", you have to take time to discover its treasures, among which the Palacio Güell, created by the great Antonio Gaudi for the patron Eusebi Güell, the Grand Theater of Liceu, the Barcelona Opera House where behind a sleek facade hides a breathtaking interior architecture, without forgetting the Palace of Virreina, a beautiful baroque building erected in honor of the former Vice-Queen of Peru. Not far from there, the huge covered market of the Boqueria - which already exists since the Middle Ages - offers a stunning, multicolored trip around the world with all its flavors displayed under its aerial Art Nouveau structure.
Historic and authentic : Barrio Gótico and Barceloneta
Leaving the Ramblas, we take a few steps and find ourselves in the small winding streets and we give in to the charm of this authentic district which was once Greek, then Roman. Do you know that Picasso began his career here, and that this was also the place where Joan Miró spent his youth? The Born district also houses the Picasso Museum, a reference for those who want to understand the work of the master. Barcelona is also the appeal of the sea: the district of Barceloneta on the seafront has lovely seafood restaurants and beautiful beaches that deserve a refreshing swim. From the impressive and still very busy port of Barcelona a cable car runs up to the Miramar Mirador, perched on the hill of Montjuic. Overlooking the harbor at 170 meters’ height ! Just a stone throw away, we discover the works of Joan Miró at the foundation bearing the same name, presented in a bright and serene setting, the ideal spot for contemplation.
Gran Hotel Calderon displays its contemporary spirit
For a romantic weekend, this hotel is ideally located not far from the Passeig de Gràcia, the chic shopping street giving access to La Rambla. The amazing cubic building has a resolutely modern look, evoking a 70s style. Transparency rules with its large bay windows allowing you a peek into the lobby where two large swings and a red velvet sofa invite you to sit down and relax. A large digital screen facing the reception, like the bow of a ship, transports you, projecting dazzling landscapes, transparent sea and green lush nature.
The Rooftop is an absolute must !
Upon arrival in the hotel the rooftop is the first highlight of your visit to Barcelona, offering a 360 ° view of the city on the 11th floor. We love the pool and deckchairs where you can relax during the day or get some fresh air before exploring the city. At night Cosy sofas invite you to come up and take a drink while enjoying the breathtaking view of the city. And this we do with great pleasure. Watching the sunset in good company, with a drink in your hand and lounge music playing in the background is quite exceptional, I must say. Here we rethink the world and escape everyday life ! What a pleasure. From here you can see both the Sagrada Familia, the Saint Eulalia Cathedral and the Santa Maria del Pi Church dating back to the 5th century and in the distance the comings and goings of cruise ships to the port. The big blue stretching out to the horizon before your eyes, while the last sun rays and soft wind caress your face.
Rooms with a clean and sober look
In the evening, after partying in Barcelona and having discovered some bars to dance, we happily return to our room for a soft and sweet night to two. It unfolds a very clean and sober look, beneficial for ultimate relaxation. The white predominates, punctuated by a few mouse grey tones for the curtains and the sofa, as well as some red elements, thrown here and there, which catch the eye, adding a playful and naughty note to the whole. In the early morning, waking up is sensational, Barcelona is at our feet and the sun gently teases us to get up. A quick look at the plan, some ideas to discover the city and we go down to the breakfast room on the ground floor. Rectangular shaped, this room displays a very modern look with its wooden tables, benches in beige leather and decorative suspensions in the shape of silver balls. After filling up on vitamins with freshly squeezed fruits and vegetables, we are ready to go and explore the treasures of the city and it is Gaudi’s path that we follow.
Gaudí, architect of Barcelona
As a representative of Catalan modernism, Gaudi has left his mark on the whole city : look up to some facades on the Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample district, like the Casa Batllo and the Casa Milà or go for a walk in the flamboyant Park Güell, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the architect focused on integrating his works into the surrounding nature - stone columns evoking tree trunks, stalactites or natural caves. But also, the Sagrada Familia, one of the symbols of the city, to which Gaudí dedicated 43 years of his life until his death in 1926, and still under construction to date. Impressive, grandiose, modernist, osmosis between mineral and the vegetal, the sometimes-controversial monument remains inevitable when you visit Barcelona. I must say that it dazzles us again and again, by its extravagant and unusual architecture.
By Katya PELLEGRINO