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La Dreta de l'Eixample

The Modernista Heart of Barcelona

La Dreta de l'Eixample is the most central of the Barcelona Eixample neighbourhoods and it extends up the hill from Plaça Catalunya to Diagonal and Carrer Corsega with Carrer Balmes to the left and Passeig Sant Joan to the right.

Centred on the magnificent Passeig de Gràcia and the parallel Rambla de Catalunya, La Dreta or Right of the Eixample is the Barcelona neighbourhood with the highest concentration of Modernista buildings and roughly corresponds to what is known as the Quadrat d'Or or Golden Square.

This is where Ildefons Cerdà's plan for a new Barcelona first began to take shape and the Eixample's first buildings were constructed at the junction of what is now Consell de Cent and Roger de Llúria in the 1850s.

In time, the barri became the preferred place of residence for the Barcelona bourgeoisie and not surprisingly the leading Modernista architects went where the money was and this why there is such a proliferation of wonderful architecture.



Gaudi's Casa Milà, which is popularly known as La Pedrera, has to be the highpoint, along with the Manzana de la Discordia, where you can see signature buildings by the three leading architects of the day - Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudí, Casa Lleó Morera by Domènech i Muntaner and Puig i Cadafalch's Casa Amatller.

Other interesting buildings include La Casa de les Punxes and Casa Thomas but the truth is the neighbourhood is a delight to walk around with buildings by lesser known architects and even Modernista grocery stores and pharmacies.

It is a part of town where you really have to keep your eyes peeled and look up at cornices and into doorways in order to catch some of the fine Modernista details.

The stretch of the Eixample that runs up from Plaça Catalunya and comprises Passeig de Gràcia and, in my opinion, the much nicer Rambla de Catalunya is the area where the tourist or casual visitor is likely to spend his or her time.

Apart from the major Modernist buildings, Passeig de Gràcia is excellent for shopping and the pedestrianised Rambla de Catalunya is like an extension of the Ramblas with fewer tourists.

However, if you cut into the heart of the Dreta de l'Eixample along Carrer Mallorca or Carrer Valencia, once you get past Roger de Llúria, you're in the heart of a living Barcelona barri.

Centred on the old Mercat de la Concepció - one of Barcelona's best markets, this part of the neighbourhood has good local shops and very reasonably priced bars and restaurants.

For me the nicest part of the neighbourhood is just below Diagonal between Girona and Verdaguer metro stations and the Carrers Bruc and Girona.

Fira Modernista de La Dreta de l'Eixample

In fact, this is where the Festa Major and the Fira Modernista de La Dreta de l'Eixample takes place at the end of May/beginning of June every year.

Carrer Girona is full of people dressed up in late nineteenth century clothes, and there are stalls selling traditional, antique cars and ancient fairground rides as well as lots of information on Modernista architecture.

In fact, whatever time of year you come to Barcelona, the Dreta de l'Eixample is an excellent place to look for accommodation.

Not only are you surrounded by the best Modernista buildings but you are also within walking distance of Plaça Catalunya and the Barri Gòtic below it so it is the perfect place from which to base a Barcelona city break.

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