If you can get through the massive wooden gates that open onto Carrer Montcada (at the moment, the only opportunity is when the first-floor Café Espai Barroc is open) you'll find yourself in Barcelona's best 17th-century Renaissance courtyard, built into a former 15th-century Gothic palace. Note the door knockers up at horseback level; then take a careful look at the frieze of "The Rape of Europa" running up the stone railing of the elegant stairway at the end of the
patio. It's a festive abduction: Neptune's chariot, cherubs, naiads, dancers, tritons, and musicians accompany Zeus, in the form of a bull, as he carries poor Europa up the stairs and off to Crete. The stone carvings in the courtyard, the 15th-century Gothic chapel, with its reliefs of angelic musicians, and the vaulting in the reception hall and salon, are all that remain of the original 15th-century palace. Espai Barroc, on the ground floor, is a café with baroque-era flourishes, period furniture, and musical performances.
Carrer Montcada 20, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08003, Spain