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Barcelona Travel Guide

  • Photo: © Ross Brinkerhoff / Fodor’s Travel

Eixample

Barcelona’s most famous neighborhood, this late 19th-century urban development is known for its dazzling Art Nouveau architecture. Called the "Expansion" in Catalan, the district appears on the map as a geometric grid laid out north above the Plaça de Catalunya. The upscale shops, the art galleries, the facades of the Moderniste townhouses, and the venues for some of the city’s finest

cuisine, are the attractions here for visitors and barcelonins alike.

The Eixample (ay-shompla) is an open-air Moderniste museum. Designed as a grid, in the best Cartesian tradition, the Eixample is oddly difficult to find your way around in; the builders neglected to number the buildings or alphabetize the streets, and even Barcelona residents can get lost in it. The easiest orientation to grasp is the basic division between the well-to-do Dreta, to the right of Rambla Catalunya looking inland, and the more working-class Ezquerra to the left. Eixample locations are also either mar (on the ocean side of the street) or muntanya (facing the mountains).

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