Europe in Argentina
Europe in Argentina
By Sylvie Berthiaume
Photo on homepage:
The art of Fileteado Porteno
Visiting Buenos Aires, and trying to describe how it feels, is as fanning the margarita: A LITTLE in England, A LOT in Spain, PASSIONATELY in France, TO THE FOLLY in Italy.
Really amazing, the capital of Argentina! It does not look at all as a Latin America city, although all its inhabitants - the Portenos - speak Spanish.
In the course of its history, Argentina has attracted massive waves of Europeans. This is reflected in the names of the stores and institutions as well as in the architectural styles: Art deco, Art nouveau, Italian Renaissance, Neo-classical and French Baroque. It is not the case for a few buildings here and there, but for the very great majority of buildings, also impressive by their size.
The Italian immigrants and their descendants who form a very large part of the population of Buenos Aires are mostly those who have injected their way of life, the elegance of their fashion style, and their attractive gastronomy.
To discover all the wealth that conceals its history, we strongly recommend to book one of the walking guided tours offered to solo travelers, couples or small groups. Fantastic: They are either free or at
a small price, every day of the week and during the weekend.
Staring eyes, from barrio to barrio
Here is a short overview of the neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires, of what we absolutely want to see, and how much time to spend there,
San Telmo: The living history, mostly populated by boutique hotels, bookstores and bars-cafés on the corners of the streets bearing the names of the Latin American countries; the Antiques market and the Sunday Crafts Feria with its jewelry, clothing, leather goods, interior decoration items, along the Defensa Street, starting at the Plaza de Mayo and ending in the port; and the Plaza Dorrego to see musicians and tango dancers. Four days, to immerse yourself.
La Boca: The colourful houses of El Caminito, the sculpted characters coming out of their windows, balconies and stores’ entrances, attracting in this workers’ district numerous groups of tourists; and artworks exposed at the Proa Foundation. Half a day is enough.
Recoleta: The posh neighbourhood and especially its cemetery, among the most famous in the world for the beauty of its funerary monuments and for the notoriety of its permanent residents; across the street, a must is to take the time to sit at the Terrace of the Café La Biela, and to enjoy walking slowly in the rich surrounding streets. A full day.
Puerto Madero: The beautiful district of the port, completely renovated, with its vast condos-lofts constructed in former industrial buildings; the very elegant Bridge of Women; the restaurants-terraces to enjoy a coffee Cortado and a pineapple-raspberry sherbet; the long walk along the water, by foot, bike or roller skates with a wide view on the city; and a museum stop at the Factory of the Arts. A long day, to be continued during the evening.
Palermo: The neighbourhood of the "baba cool" artists’ workshops, art galleries and trendy restaurants. Two full days.
Center: The Plaza de Mayo (May Place) with its Pink house of the Government and "Evita’s balcony"; the Cathedral who was under the responsibility of Pope François; the De Mayo Avenue and its legendary Tortoni Café, where there is almost always a long queue waiting to get in. Two whole days.
Retiro: The Teatro Colon; the high-class boutiques of Florida Avenue, and the Galerias Pacifico with their monumental fresco in a dome; the Kavanagh building which is different on its four facades; the beautiful squares, parks and monuments; and the Museum of Latin American Art. At least two days.
The iconic idols
Various faces are frequently found in several ways on our path in Buenos Aires : squares, streets, parks, monuments, paintings, murals and museums make their celebrity perpetual.
The political star - Eva Duante Perone - or Evita – per example, on the building of the Department of Social Development overlooking the July 9th Avenue, the widest boulevard in the world, where two figures made of neon present the two facets of her venerated personality, that of a charismatic politician and that of a humanitarian woman close to the ordinary people; the museum devoted to her is really worth the visit..
The revolutionaries - Jose de San Martin, thanks to which Argentina has been able to declare its independence July 9th, and Che the Argentine who was, with Castro, leader of the Cuban Revolution.
The religious - We know that Pope François is Argentinean and that he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Cardinal; the Cathedral which was his workplace is located on the Plaza de Mayo.
The athlete - Famous number 10, Diego Maradona, left-handed and footed, worldwide renowned and considered as God by its Argentine football team and fans.
The singer - Carlos Gardel, who brought popularity to the Argentinean tango, can also be visited in its house-museum.
The writer - You can spend the day and stay overnight at the Estancia La Portena, owned by Ricardo Güiraldes, who was also a gaucho.
At night, two ambiances
We wanted to stay in two hotels and neighbourhoods to live different experiences, which have proven quite pleasant, while being very affordable :
The Bohemia Boutique Hotel, in the neighbourhood of San Telmo - very friendly with its small interior courtyards serving as skylights, and its open air court with a flowered garden, to have breakfast.
Art Hotel, in the neighbourhood of Recoleta - a beautiful old residence of a prominent family, with its original elevator, a friendly dining room and a large lounge suitable for openings and expositions of artists’ works on a quarterly basis.
Join us now by reading our other articles on…
• The artistic scene, the gastronomy and the mythical tango in Buenos Aires
• Two getaways, one on the ground, the other on the water:
- among the gauchos, in the village and the surrounding countryside of San Antonio de Areco;
- among vacationers on stilts on the outskirts of the Delta el Tigre.