Archive for April 17th, 2020

April 17, 2020

An avenue and towers in Barcelona!

And let me bring you back to the Barcelona and some of its monumental work that have been briefly mentioned in previous posts but feel needs a post of their own. Let me tell you briefly about the Avenida Reina Maria Cristina and the Venetian towers leading to Montjuic in Barcelona, Autonomous region of Catalunya, kingdom of Spain.

The Avenida de la Reina María Cristina or Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina is located in the Sants-Montjuïc district, It is located between Plaza de España and Plaza de Carles Buïgas, where the Magic Fountain of Montjuic is located. It was urbanized in view of the celebration of the International Exposition of Barcelona in 1929. It is dedicated to María Cristina de Habsburgo-Lorena, second wife of king Alfonso XII and mother of king Alfonso XIII.

The Reina María Cristina Avenue is at the foot of the Montjuïc mountain. It starts from the Plaza de España (see post) and runs in a straight line until the confluence of the avenues Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia and Rius i Taulet, where a series of squares such as Carles Buïgas, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and de las Cascadas that lead to the Palacio Nacional, which dominates the avenue from the heights.


It is located between various monuments like the Venetian Towers at the beginning in the Plaza de España, and the Magic Fountain and the Four Columns at the end of the street, before ascending to the Palacio Nacional or National Palace.


On both sides of the avenue were the main buildings of the International Exposition   such as the Palace of the Dress, the Palace of Communications and Transportation, the Palace of Metallurgy, Electricity and Power, and the Palace of Projections. This architectural complex currently constitutes the Barcelona Trade Fair or FIRA, next to the palaces of Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia, located next to the Magic Fountain. Next to the avenue was the Plaza de la Mecánica ,currently the Plaza del Universo, in the center of which was the Torre de la Luz, a light source called the Jardin de Agua-Luz, and the sculpture El trabajo.



A bit on the main buildings here !

The Palace of Communications and Transportation from a project from 1926, it presents a neoclassical style line inspired by French academic architecture.

The Palace of Dresses or work ,initially called the Palace of Pedagogy, Hygiene and Social Institutions. It presents an irregular plan arranged around a central space with a large roundabout topped by an oriental-style dome.

The Palace of Metallurgy, Electricity and Power Forces is a rectangular form, a large polyhedral dome stands out in the central part, on a drum and with a lantern, with a façade featuring a large classical pediment decorated with fresco paintings and with allegorical sculptures.

The Palace of Projections was demolished after the International Exposition, the current Palacio del Congreso or Congress Palace was built in its place as of now.


At the end of the Queen Maria Cristina avenue and at the foot of the mountain, the famous Magic Fountain of Montjuïc was built, which amazed the public with its fantastic play of light and water jets. Even today it is an emblematic work of Barcelona, where pyro-musical shows are usually held at the Merced festivals and every weekend of the year they are launched in a recital of water, light, color and music. As a prelude to the great fountain, a small waterfall was placed on the access staircase from the Queen Maria Cristina avenue  to the Plaza de Carles Buïgas square, located on three levels separated by cup-shaped pots.



The easiest is the Metro station at Plaza España or Plaça Espanya on lines 1 and 3, and several bus lines including the airport express that leaves you off at the square easy walk over to the Venetian towers and the start of the Avenida de la Reina Maria Cristina.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The city of Barcelona on the Reina Maria Cristina avenue in English: City of Barcelona on the avenue Reina Maria Cristina

The official FIRA congress webpage on Montjuic in English: FIRA Barcelona on Montjuic

The tourist office of Barcelona on the Magic Fountain in English: Tourist office on Montjuic magic fountain

And there you , these are wonderful architectural buildings and modern history of the city of Barcelona with plenty to see, eat ,shop and especially wonderful walks for the whole family. Hope you enjoy the brief introduction so you too can come here as we did several times.

And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 17, 2020

Giverny is Monet or Monet is Giverny!

And now lets go back in time when we lived in a royal town of France ahh you need to read my blog lol! Well we took a lot of trips by car from there and one we went even for a lunch was Giverny. Ahh yes you know this town actually more like a village but a certain Claude Monet lived there and voilà a major tourist destination now. Good for a visit if you like me like Monet, the best painter of all time , me think.

Giverny is tucked in a bend just between the Normandy and the Ile de France regions, small, but very popular ,we all love to see Claude Monet. Giverny is for the artistic senses in you, the art lover. ou can easily come from Paris on the A15 autoroute that becomes the N14, and follow signs for Giverny.  I always came by car but for info here is the public transport choices: take the train from gare St Lazare to Vernon, then take the Giverny Shuttle allows you to reach the village of Giverny from the Vernon-Giverny train station. Access to shuttle is within the limit of available places.  Or local bus 10 from city center or 241 from train station, does the work too. You can take a taxi or walk/bike  about 7 kms. The bikes can be rented from near the train station at Vernon , the bike rental I know is here: Bike rental Vernon Giverny. The bus line is here for SNgo: SNgo bus network Vernon Giverny


I would like to tell you a bit ,first, about Giverny.  The things to see,and eat,and even stay in between your trip from the landing beaches and Paris.  You have the house and gardens of Claude Monet, see the reading room or salon bleu that connects with the epicerie or grocery ,where he kept all the kitchen needs, then you go to his shop or atelier,where he worked until 1899. You go up one floor to his bedroom , with many paintings of his, and then the toilette or bathroom and the small bedroom and bath of his wife  Alice , and the dining room below, all in remarkable state of preservation.  You can see the Clos Normand, a beautiful vegetable garden and apple trees. At the end of the clos Normand he creates a water garden or jardin d’eau with a fountain,and a japanese bridge. It is here that he does the Nympheas painting now showing in the Orangerie at Paris.  Here in the shop of Nympheas you will find a boutique/shop with all the trimmings. You can visit his tomb as well by the cemetery and small Church of Giverny.



The Fondation Claude Monet manages the house museum now , all info in English here: Fondation Monet


You can visit the museum of Impressionists, with painting from the period; it replaces the museum of American Arts from 2009.  It is a wonderful place to see the Impressionists art movement and its effect on others over the years. As well recommended. We have fond memories of the old very informative and friendly service. The webpage for the new Impressionists museum is here in English: Impressionists museum of Giverny


There is a wonderful unofficial site with plenty of information on Giverny and things to see and do , transports eating lodging etc here giverny org. in English, it is loaded: Giverny org

Some of my recommendations for eating out here as lodging always came on one day hops from home.

As far as eating, my favorites are La  Halle aux Grains, in Vernon,webpage  Restaurant La Halle aux Grains Vernon

And the Auberge des Pêcheurs resto in Port Mort between Giverny and Vernon, All FRench local cuisine at its best. No web but the city hall webpage tells you in French: In Port Mort the Auberge des Pecheurs

In Giverny, for a quick meal in the Impressionist museum there is Terra Cafe, quite good for a museum resto. No need to enter the museum to eat here ok. Info from the giverny org webpage in English: Terra Cafe at the Impressionists museum Giverny

Another and historical but a bit touristic for me  is the resto of the hotel Baudy, 81 rue Claude Monet just by the house of the painter. webpage: Restaurant Baudy Giverny

And there you go another pleasant memorable trip in my belle France, it never cease to amaze me the multitudes of things to see and do and Giverny is one of them just for Claude Monet.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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