Prior to moving to Barcelona, two years ago now, I had a three-day trip to cram in as many flat viewings as possible and visit as many areas as possible. Looking back, I was insane to think I could get a feel for the city’s residential areas in just a few days.
Luckily, I chose Gràcia to live and work, which is an amazing area, originally established in 1626 as an independent municipality of Gràcia. The road which joined Gràcia with Barcelona is Passeig de Gràcia, a beautiful wide street running from Plaça de Catalunya up to the centre of Gracia. It is uniquely home to shops reminiscent of New York’s 5th Avenue, but also dotted with some of the best architectural designs of the city. There’s some stunning hotels and rooftops, but the price tag can be pretty hefty.
Further north, at the top of Passeig de Gràcia, the “real” Gràcia starts. To me Gràcia combines the residential bliss with close proximity of the attractions as well as some of the best bars and restaurants in town. Read the rest of this article…
The Correfoc at La Mercè
After a summer of festivals for each barrio it is all brought to a close with La Mercè – Barcelona’s very own festa major. The festival is a celebration of the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, (La Mare de Déu de la Mercè in Catalan) on September 24th. This first became an official holiday in 1871 but most of the present day events really began to take shape in 1902.
This year the festival runs from the 21st – 24th September 2012. Although there are many events either side of this.
La Mercè 2012 Programme
There are many hundreds of events this year. So do check out the festival programmes to make sure you get to see the things that interest you. Unfortunately they seem to have only produced it in Catalan this year.
Expect to see the Sardana, the popular Catalan dance, performed throughout Barcelona. The castellers produce their incredible human towers. And the papier maché giants parade around the city. Sounding strange enough yet?
32a Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya
There is the Catalan wine and cava fair at Arc de Triomf that is well worth a visit. This is a change of location from previous years when it was down at Port Vell. The 32a Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya is on Passeig de Lluís Companys, the bit between Arc de Trimof and the park, all weekend. Buy a glass and some tickets and take your pick from the many wines and cavas on offer from the region.
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La Mercè 2011 programme cover
La Mercè starts today! Barcelona’s very own annual festival that celebrates the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, La Mare de Déu de la Mercè in Catalan. The feast day is on Saturday but in true Catalan style the festivities kick off a couple of days beforehand.
From the Mercè 2011 programme…
Modernity, tradition, gunpowder, street theatre, circus, dance, music… Just mix them all together, stir, and you have the festive cocktail that is being served up in Barcelona these days. For the city is celebrating the feast of its patron saint, La Mercè, a compendium of Mediterranean festivities, authentic Catalan traditions and the talent of artists from all over the world. No one interested in plumbing the very soul of Barcelona and Catalonia can afford to miss this festival, whose special guest this year is the Russian city of Saint Petersburg.
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The balconies of the Festa Major de Gràcia
The 195th running of the Festa Major de Gràcia starts today (Mon 15th Aug 2011) and runs all week until Sun 21st August.
This Gràcia festival was my first experience of any of the barrio festivals when I arrived in Barcelona just over a year ago. I went to the Poble Sec festival just recently and I have to say, even with their Correfoc, it isn’t a patch on the Gràcia experience. In terms of size, entertainment and all round effort, nothing beats Gràcia. Read the rest of this article…