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Batllo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/andreuccio1986/12916494113 Image credit: Andrea

This week’s Grand Prix takes place in Barcelona, a city renowned for the stunning buildings and designs of one architect in particular – Gaudí.

Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) is one of Catalonia’s most notable sons, famous for producing outstanding examples of Modernisme architecture. Although many other countries were experiencing similar movements at this time, in Barcelona it was a way to express, solidify and celebrate Catalan culture.

However, Gaudí also had his own distinctive style, influenced by nature and religion, and seven of his buildings in or near Barcelona are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Dragonlizard: https://www.flickr.com/photos/69214385@N04/13301262024 Image credit: Don McCullough
Dragonlizard: https://www.flickr.com/photos/69214385@N04/13301262024 Image credit: Don McCullough

1. Parc Güell

Gaudí used to live here, and today the building is home to the Gaudí House Museum. In the garden you can find examples of his mosaic work, like the dragon/lizard fountain and the serpent-like seating on the terrace at the top. Take a wander through pathways surrounded by some seriously sloping columns and around the Doric Temple.

Palau Guell: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anne_arnould/10647345055 Image credit: Anne Arnould
Palau Guell: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anne_arnould/10647345055 Image credit: Anne Arnould

2. Palau Güell

Just off the famous La Rambla, this was Gaudí’s early works. Built for Eusebi Güell, wealthy industrialist, this is now open to the public. Visit to admire the hall, a parabolic pyramid; the most stylish basement you might ever see; several stunning floors; and the roof, home to a myriad of mosaic pyramids.

Pedrera: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramonduran/2972642010 Image credit: Ramón Durán
Pedrera: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramonduran/2972642010 Image credit: Ramón Durán
Pedreraroof: https://www.flickr.com/photos/moriza/186812469 Image credit: Mo Riza
Pedreraroof: https://www.flickr.com/photos/moriza/186812469 Image credit: Mo Riza

 

3. Casa Milà

Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera (stone quarry, as it supposedly looks like an open quarry) is today a cultural centre. Guided tours are available throughout the day in several languages, and take you around the roof terrace, the attic, an early 20th-century apartment, the courtyards and the exhibition hall.

Vicens: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ishot71/6279396457 Image credit: Ian Gampon
Vicens: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ishot71/6279396457 Image credit: Ian Gampon

4. Casa Vicens

I can’t say this is my favourite of his works, but again, the façade shows his great attention to detail. I don’t believe you can visit the inside of the building, but if you’re on the way to Parc Guëll then it’s worth stopping to see Gaudí’s first significant work.

Batllo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/andreuccio1986/12916494113 Image credit: Andrea
Batllo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/andreuccio1986/12916494113 Image credit: Andrea
Batlloinside: https://www.flickr.com/photos/linkahwai/8241574624 Image credit: Kah-Wai Lin
Batlloinside: https://www.flickr.com/photos/linkahwai/8241574624 Image credit: Kah-Wai Lin

 

5. Casa Batlló

This was designed for Josep Batlló, a wealthy man who wanted a house that stood out from the crowd. He certainly got it with one of Gaudí’s masterpieces. The outside looks like a mixture of skulls and bones, and inside is a further feast for the eyes.

Crypt: https://www.flickr.com/photos/carlos_lorenzo/462207285 Image credit: Carlos Lorenzo
Crypt: https://www.flickr.com/photos/carlos_lorenzo/462207285 Image credit: Carlos Lorenzo

6. Colònia Guëll – Gaudí Crypt

The idea here was actually to build a church. However, after six years, the Guëll family stopped funding Gaudí’s ambitious project and it was left unfinished. However, it was the first design to bring together all of his architectural innovations.

Sagrada Familia: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfgangstaudt/2051232504 Image credit: Wolfgang Staudt
Sagrada Familia: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfgangstaudt/2051232504 Image credit: Wolfgang Staudt

7. Crypt of La Sagrada Família

It hardly needs an introduction: the Sagrada Família is the most visited attraction in Spain, and one of the most famous buildings in the world. Gaudí devoted himself to the church for the last eleven years of his life, and it remains uncompleted. The current architect hopes the masterpiece might be finished by 2026!

Gaudí is famous for his attention to detail, so I can’t even begin to describe all the things that make each of these buildings so special – they have to be seen to be believed! Whether you like his work or not, there is no doubting his unique talent, and his cultural contribution to Catalonia.

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Links:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/320

http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/gaudi/barcelona-gaudi.html

http://www.parkguell.cat/en/

http://palauguell.cat/

http://www.lapedrera.com/en/home

http://www.casavicens.es/

http://www.casabatllo.es/en

http://www.gaudicoloniaguell.org/en

http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/sf-eng/?lang=0

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Lauren Robertson - Lifestyle Editor
  • Lauren, thanks for these pieces. Although I’m too uncultured to appreciate your suggestions, those provided undoubtedly prove helpful for those more refined.

    Do you have an interest in food? When traveling, I soak in culture via sitting down with locals and sharing drinks and grub (the foie gras croquettas at Tossa in Barcelona rock); if you do have suggestions or interesting food/drinks places, some might be interested.

    For example, I must decide within the next week whether we’re taking the annual Montreal trip (don’t miss the amazing Au Pied du Cochon), or I travel solo to Monte Carlo for the first time, where I have clue where eat/stay. Any helpful hints would be lovely.

    To continued enjoyment in your travels, and thanks again for sharing insights w/ F1B readers.

  • Rapierman

    Jeff: You may want to check out “Made in Spain” with Jose Andreas on your PBS “Create” channel.

  • Rapierman

    There’s also “Spain…on the Road Again” with Mario Bartali, same channel.

    • Thanks Rapierman. I’ve been to Barcelona (not to the GP), but am always interested in food travelogs; good stuff.

      I was personally asking about Monte Carlo, but if there’s a general interest food/drink-wise, and Lauren shares that interest, I’d have thought it a nice addition to her fascinating write-ups.

      • Hi Jeff! I would love to write a food and drink article at some point as I think it would be very useful to people, but I’m not sure I’d be very good at it – I have to confess, I’m quite fussy about food and therefore a rubbish foodie! However, with a bit of research I should manage it for another GP.

        • “Foodie” is code word for over-precious snot IMO. We like what we like; it’s a personal, sensual thing. Those that picture and post food shots, unless informative, to me are saying “look what I did, my food is better than yours” rather than sharing. There’s nothing wrong w/ a perfect hot dog at the ballpark, washed down with a watery beer…

          As long as you’re open to trying something rather than dismissing out of bias, everyone has a right to share. Based on your articles so far, I’m sure your food article would be amazing.

          Thanks again for giving us consumers more fascinating content.

    • Thanks for the suggestions, Paul!

      • rapierman

        No prob. Admittedly, I’m no “foodie”, but I know what has been done and where to go for it. ;-)

  • The Captain

    Even outside of the Gaudi’s work Barcelona is easily one of the world most beautiful cities. Man I want to go back!

    • I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone say a bad word against it. (Except to watch for pickpockets, as they say about most cities!)

  • Personally I never liked Gaudi, too over the top. Kitsch, not art.

    But of course that’s just my opinion :-)

    • Definitely over the top! Those are some attention-seeking buildings. Although I think I quite like most of them because of that!

  • Was in Barcelona for 8 days last month (then 4 in San Sebastián). Pretty much the sole purpose of the trip was food (Quimet & Quiment, Pakta, Kokotxa, Arzak), and our lofty expectations were obliterated. For example, foie gras is bar food in San Sebastián. I want to live in there.

    “Made In Spain” is one of the best food/travel shows I’ve ever seen, and was the principal reason I got into Spanish food culture. “On The Road Again” is pretty good, too…. but they spend a month driving across Spain and Gweneth Paltrow does not eat jamón. That would be like doing a show about surfing in Maui and not going to Jaws. But worse. Because jamón.

    There’s a show on Cooking Channel called “From Spain With Love” presented by someone called Annie Sibonney. I had never heard of her before this program, but she does an okay job. One of the highlights is she goes to Mugaritz and cooks with Andoni Aduriz.

    • Getting way off-topic, but we hit Basque country during our last trip to Spain, about 5 years ago. Based upon recommendation, hit Arzak and by luck was introduced to the wonderful (and damned sexy!) Elena Arzak. She modestly asserted her father was the real genius; either way, what a fantastic restaurant, in a beautiful setting.

      I really need to watch your and Rapierman’s show recommendations. Why am I not surprised Ms. Paltrow forgoes Iberico jam? I mean, why even go? :D

      Back to regularly-scheduled programming.

      • Matthew and Jeff, if I need help with a food article I realise now that you are the ones to speak to! Thanks for your insights!

  • rapierman

    Admittedly, I’d like to do some travelling, mostly on four wheels, but I’ve never had the time nor the money to do it. That’s why I have to settle for the next best thing and read about it. ;-)