Gaudí Top 10 – Modernisme masterpieces

Barcelona is undisputedly the Art Nouveau capital of the Iberian peninsula, and while genius architects like Lluís Domènech i Montaner created the UNESCO World Heritage designated and exceptionally beautiful Palau de Musica Catalana, there is one light that shines a little brighter on the Art Nouveau sky: Antoni Gaudí. Seven of Gaudí’s works constitute yet another UNESCO…

Palaces of Portugal: Sintra

By Antoine Barthelemy Sintra is situated in the mountains near Lisbon and has contributed hugely to the Portuguese heritage in buildings and monuments over the course of history. In 1995, UNESCO recognised the importance of the architectural heritage and classified the city as a World Heritage Site. Most famous for its many astonishing 19th century…

Pearls of Provence: Gordes

It rises majestically in front of you, as you drive towards it from the south, sunbaked sandstone and golden rock against the vivid blue sky. It has been well-deservedly named one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France – one of the most beautiful villages of France. It’s a moviestar, vantage point of the Luberon…

Ode to Ham

Some people call it the 119th element in the Periodic table, others refer to the hundred years of culinary tradition and others again will label it animal welfare with a happy ending. It’s the Iberian Black ham – also called Jamón Ibérico. The observant reader will have guessed by the Ibérico, that this ham is from the…

Castles, Cathars and Crusades

The Occitanie region in the south-west of France is filled with the remains of a turbulent history, cultural heritage and proud traditions. Troubadours sang about the Grail in the medieval fortress of Carcassonne, heretics were burnt on the stake by the hundreds and politically, it was ruled in turn by Visigoths, Franks, Merovingians, Moors, Angevins…

The Legend of a Bridge

It has been immortalised in song. It has been included in a UNESCO World Heritage designation. It isn’t even a WHOLE bridge. And it all started with a young shepherd throwing a rock into the river. This is the legend of the Pont d’Avignon in Avignon, France. To be correct, its real name is Pont…

Bohemian Bars of Barcelona

  That Barcelona offers world-class cuisine, is not a secret. That this trendy and vibrant city has an abundance of cool bars to choose from, comes as no surprise either. But while you’re in a city that boasts so much astonishing Art Nouveau architecture – or Modernisme, as it’s called in this Catalan region – why…

Albi – in the country of Cathars, Bastides and Wine

  Albi rises as a majestic red brick giant over the Tarn river in the Occitanie region of France. It has given name to the horrifying Albigensian Crusade on its own people – the heretic Cathars. It has given birth to great artists and explorers. And it has given rise to the largest brick cathedral…

Azulejos of Porto

When visiting Porto in November 2016, we were amazed by the diversity, creativity and radiance of the Azulejos, that are pretty much covering everything in Portugal in general and Porto in particular. Azulejos have their origin in the Arabic az-zulayj meaning “polished stone” and were introduced into Portugal by king Manuel I after a visit to Seville…

In the footsteps of the Moors: Seville

Seville is a dynamic tapestry of eastern and western architecture and culture. For hundreds of years it was the capital of Moorish dynasties with Arab names like the Abbasids, Almoravids and the Almohad. This 2.200 year-old jewel has undergone just as many changes with its culture, as it has with its architecture and even its name. The ancient…