The Champs Elysees in Paris, Oxford Street in London, Calle Serrano in Madrid … Every city has its emblematic promenade where monumentality,unique shops and an idyllic environment are combined. In the case of Barcelona, the city has many examples like those found in apartments in Las Ramblas, but if we have to choose an avenue, a street that stands above any other consideration for its uniqueness and its own personality, there is no doubt we need to remark Paseo de Gracia.
Paseo de Gracia: where exclusivity lives
In Barcelona we have plenty of places to live exclusivity, from a trendy beach bar on the Bogatell Beach to a design apartment in Sagrada Familia, all the sensations that this city transmit are unique. But if we want to “buy” exclusivity, walking in an environment where the best brands and the best boutiques in the world lead by the wide cobblestone sidewalks made by Gaudí (through his design) we have found a paradise for shopping lovers.
Loewe, Cartier, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Armani, Versace, Chanel and recently Stella McCartney are just several examples of the first worldwide brands which are based in this avenue sharing a place next to the Pedrera building.
And there are not just fashion shops: Hotels like Majestic or Mandarin and restaurants like Moments, which hosts a restaurant led by the Catalan chef with a Michelin star Carme Ruscalleda, make this route one of the most exclusive places, considered as the most expensive street to reside in Spain.
The monuments of Paseo de Gracia
Among the street Consell de Cent and Aragó, we find perhaps the most monumental block of all Barcelona and one of the most famous blocks of buildings worldwide. It is known as the “bone of contention”, the block of buildings that served as a dispute to settle who the best modernist architect was, and certainly all the candidates deserve the title.
A world-famous Casa Batlló by Gaudi joined others magnificent houses as neighbours: modernist buildings such as Casa Lleó Morera (by Lluis Domenech i Montaner), Casa Mulleras (by Enric Sagnier), Casa Bonet (by Marcel·lià Coquillat) and Casa Amatller (by Josep Puig i Cadafalch) are the proud possessors of the title “Apotheosis of modernism “and we can enjoy them from the probably most beautiful boulevard in Barcelona.
Of course, a mandatory mention is La Pedrera, the residential great work of Gaudí, but this is not the only monumental masterpiece of this beautiful corner: the famous banks-lamps of Pere Falqués, the Palau Robert or Rocamora houses, each located at the beginning and at the end of this road, are just a few examples of the architectural beauty that we can find during our walk.
From the epicentre of Barcelona to the most charming village
Moreover we cannot forget the aim of Paseo de Gracia, which is none other than connecting the centre of Barcelona (Plaça Catalunya) with which was the charming village of Gracia, north of the growing Barcelona during the 19th century and which had not yet annexed municipalities (now neighbourhoods) of Gracia, Sarriá, Sants and Sant Andreu.
This walk takes us from the highest level of population movement, shopping centre, assembly places, walks in the centre etc. to the calm of a neighbourhood noted for its huge personality that still keeps the memory of people reflected in its famous squares, where we can stop to enjoy the small pleasures of life such as coffee in terraces surrounded by beautiful houses and churches, or buying in small stores which certainly worth a visit.