Passeig de Gràcia
Passeig de Gràcia
The most impressive Modernista buildings, wide pavements with mosaicked "trencadís" bench-street lamps to sit at and sophisticated boutiques: Passeig de Gràcia is Barcelona's avenue of luxury and refinement, the only place like it in the world where you can find buildings that are classed as World Heritage sites.
The main artery of the Modernista Eixample
Passeig de Gràcia, which links the old town with Avda Diagonal, is so named because in times gone by it was the road linking old, walled Barcelona with the then town of Gràcia, today another city neighbourhood. At the end of the 19th century, when Ildefons Cerdà planned the city's expansion, he turned this road into one of the main arteries of his project, making it very wide and prominent.
Its commercial importance attracted the wealthiest businessmen, who began to build their own buildings on the avenue and compete to see who had the most luxurious and extravagant house. This meant that the Modernista architects of the period were allowed to give free reign to their imaginations and design the magnificent buildings which give it its unique value today. Antoni Gaudí, the most unique of all, designed Casa Milà, better known as La Pedrera (the quarry), with its surprising undulating facade, and Casa Batlló, with its dragon-shaped roof. Just next to it, Josep Puig i Cadafalch built Casa Amatller, a house with a triangular facade in a colourful Modernista style reminiscent of Catalan Gothic, while further down, close to Plaça de Catalunya, Lluís Domènech i Montaner constructed Casa Lleó Morera.
Its own style
Walking up or down Passeig de Gràcia lets your imagination roam over the fantastic shapes of the facades and the stained glass windows of the unique buildings to be found there and you can enjoy the sight of luxury boutiques, as the main establishments of the new city that moved into the ground floor of these buildings are still there. The best international brands have opened stores on Passeig de Gràcia too, alongside century-old boutiques like Santa Eulàlia, an icon of couture in the city.