Picasso, Matisse and paper cut-outs.
*** THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF GRACIA *** You walk by Gaudi's houses on Passeig de Gracia and you start climbing the hill to the neighborhood of Gracia, the artistic and intellectual area of Barcelona. It is the Barcelona's Montmartre, a 30 minutes' walk to the center, or 5 minutes on the subway (the flat is close to 2 subway stations). Once upon a time, en 1628, the village of Gracia was built around the parish church, and became a district of Barcelona en 1897. Montserrat Caballe, Moncho (the king of bolero) and El Pescaílla (singer and guitarist: rumba and flamenco) are all children of Gracia. Lovely Art Nouveau pedestrian streets and squares to promenade, the church of Saint Joan, the central clock of the Square of La Vila de Gracia that still rings the bells every hour, and that we can see and hear from our terrace... Also, lots of tapas bars and restaurants, theaters, the famous Cine Verdi, the Teatre Lluire, and original clothes stores, bookstores, schools of art, creative writing, graphic design, dance, yoga, music, and organic food stores.. and we have the market with fresh fruits and vegetables, spicy olives... just down the street! The neighborhood is very safe, and has playgrounds for children on the squares, where often musicians and magicians, come to play, too! I will give you a detailed map of the city where, on the day of your arrival, we will do drawings of the things you want to see. *** THE FLAT *** The flat is in the heart of the neighborhood, just off Plaça del Sol, a typical Gracia building recently renovated and very well taken care of. It is 80 square meters, has 2 bedrooms (just you and me and Lion the cat in the flat), a fully equipped kitchen with a microwave, living-room, bathroom (shared with me), 2 terraces, and is on the third and top floor (-- no lift -- as in most buildings of the 19th century in Barcelona), for this reason it is very quiet and very sunny. Your bedroom has a double bed, a night table, shelves for clothes, and access to a small storage room where you can leave the suitcases. And you will find bath towels as well, extra soaps and shampoos... If you are 3, for a few nights, 2 people can sleep in the bedroom and one on the sofa. The bed is super comfortable and the sofa is great for a few days (it doesn't open but is comfortable). *** THE TERRACE *** The living-room has a terrace (South) where you can have breakfast and lunch, and dinner in the summer, and also work, as we have Wi-fi. And for the smokers, the terrace is a great place to take a break. We also have heating, fans, a washing-machine, a hairdryer and an iron, so you an even get ready for a wedding! Do you remember seeing "The Magician of Oz" or "Alice in Wonderland" for the first time, and your childhood dreams of visiting a forgotten pyramid? This has been my leading idea in decorating the flat: living inside a giant cartoon. When you walk in, you are in a real person in a colorful story. The fairy tale ideas come from The Magic Flute, Picasso's works, Tintin and other comic books, so you will meet Stravinsky, Molière, Picasso... It is all mainly collages of ecological papers on cardboard. I use a re positionable glue, so it is easy to move shapes of colors. *** THINGS EVERYONE LOVES *** The neighborhood: everyone falls in love with the neighborhood of Gracia The terrace The bed is very comfortable The decoration Lion the cat has a lot of success! *** THINGS SOME PEOPLE MIND *** It is a walk-up to the top floor (third floor) The bathroom is shared -- (but always very clean) *** LION *** My cat's name is Lion. He is 3 years old, so very dynamic and fun. The Maine Coons are often chosen by families, as they are very sweet with children (and with adults too!) *** TRANSPORTATION *** 1. We are close to 2 lines on the subway: * The green line at the Fontana station, which goes to most of the touristic places (Parc Güell, Plaça Cataluña...), * The yellow line at Joanic, which goes to the beaches. 2. You can go to the beach of La Barceloneta vith the bus: the bus 39 stop is just across the street and is a 20 minutes ride. 3. The train station at Gracia, which goes to Sarria, Saint Cugat, Terrassa... You can walk to the houses of Gaudi from the flat (a 10 minutes' walk) and it is about a 15 minutes' walk to the Sagrada Familia. 4. I have a bike that you are welcome to take for a ride, and if you are two people, you can rent the other bike for 12 euros in a shop just around the corner from the flat, (12 euros for 24 hours). Biking is definitely a great way to visit Barcelona, as it is quite flat and easy to get around. *** HOW TO ARRIVE FROM THE AIRPORT*** You can: 1. Buy a T10 (a card that includes 10 trips for 9.60 euros), and with this card come to Barcelona (Station PASSEIG DE GRACIA), and then use the card for the rest of your stay, in general, as you walk or bike a lot, and do not use public transportation much. From PASSEIG DE GRACIA, get on the green line of the metro and get off at the metro FONTANA. The flat is a 10 minutes' walk from the metro station. 2. The Aerobus (5.65 euros) takes you to PLAÇA CATALUÑA, the center, in half an hour, and from there it is a 10 minutes' ride on the subway to FONTANA. 4. A cab costs around 30 / 35 euros. *** PARKING *** Since Barcelona in now organized in green and blue zones, it is difficult to park. 1. The first option is the parking just down the street at 25 euros a day. 2. If you don't plan to use the car during your stay, you can park it at Val d'Hebron. just above the Parc Guell, for a few days. It is a safe neighborhood and just a couple of stops of the subway from the apartment. *** THE HOST *** You will be sharing the flat with me and my cat! I am from Paris and been living in Barcelona for 8 years.I paint and make collages and sculptures, and am in the process of starting my own company... an artistic and ecologic cruise ship: a giant art installation, a floating amusement park, where each cabin is fun and unique, the swimming pool is a lake in a magic garden -- all built and decorated by artists from around the world, and we'll practice all the arts -- music, acting, yoga, pottery, how to make soap, creative foods...... Until then I am in Barcelona, preparing the project, and I will be happy point out the sights you don't want to miss, and the bars and restaurants for good tapas and paellas. I worked as a tourist guide, to the monastery of the Montserrat, the Dali Museum in Figueres, Girona, the Costa Brava and medieval villages, so can answer your questions about the best times and most enchanting places to see on those trips.