It’s been a while since I showed you a selection of old shops, so how about a bit of a shopping tour today? The weather is good, and the sales are on, so you may even find yourself a bargain or two!
We’ll start on Carrer Avinyó, at the fabulous Manual Alpargatera, to stock up on espadrilles (they have loads of different styles) and delight in this shop, which looks like a countryside shop, not one that is in the middle of Ciutat Vella. Check out the ceramic plates and tiles on their walls and the beautiful wooden windows, as well as the original wooden cabinets and shelves inside.
Not quite ‘en route’, but on Carrer Pelai there is a quaint old stamp shop, with one of the tiniest shop windows I have ever come across. I must confess I haven’t been inside this shop yet, but it looks promising, so if you do, (venture inside I mean) I hope you’ll find a treasure trove of all things stamp related.
On Carrer Nou de la Rambla, which I have been told used to be a rather swanky shopping street, filled with grand shops, there remain very few shops that have conserved their old look. One of them, and what a beautiful example it is, is bakery shop La Estrella. The variegated stone they have used to decorate their façade is stunning, and would cost a fortune these days. Their lettering and the beautiful pointy star are simply delightful! And look at how old it is – almost two centuries!
A little deeper into the Raval, on Carrer Cera, there are two old shops, the Granja (or milkshop) Puy (below), and the glass manufacturers above. The latter have recently renewed their shop sign to suit their business more than the one they had previously. No doubt they made their sign themselves. Check out the old items in the window of the Granja – they are all collector’s items. (Lucky me, I have one of those gorgeous syphon bottles.)
The area that surrounds the Mercat de Sant Antoni is a very traditional one, and a fair number of old shops remain. One of them is this one (above) on Carrer Manso. I love those rounded corners at the entrance, with curved window panes to match. If you look closely, you’ll spot the antique clock on the back wall.
In the neighborhood that surrounds the Mercat de Santa Caterina you can find some old shops too. One of them is Manantial de Salut (which means fount of health). It sells herbs and all things natural and healthy, both for keeping the inside and the outside of your body in the best possible shape. Should you come stay at the Cute Suite, you’re in luck, for there is another outlet just a few steps away.
Back in the Raval, we find this wonderful wood shop (above) on Carrer Riera Alta, with its flaking walls and huge red door. Below, a rarity: a shop that sells all the implements necessary to protect us from lightening (as well as electrical supplies). Their shop sign and original window casings are just fabulous, and the protruding fist holding a couple of lightening shafts is like the icing on a cake! Gorgeous, isn’t it?
On busy Carrer Ferran, a shop that has been photographed many times, no doubt, but that still maintains its old school charm, thanks to the old fashioned way in which they display their wares in the shop windows. They obviously do not subscribe to the idea that “less is more”. Quite the contrary, I presume!
Nearby, just a few blocks up La Rambla, one of the most beautiful shops in the Raval, the pastry shop Escribà. A fine example of all the applied arts that were in vogue in the Modernista period: stained glass, glazed mosaic tiles, wrought and cast iron… all in glorious Art Nouveau style. Be sure to check the narrow windows on either side of the entrance, they show a small collection of old implements that were used in the trade in the old days.
To wrap up today’s tour of old shops, two that can be found just a few steps from one another, the tobacconist (above) and what used to be a pastry shop, but has been a (very beautiful) bar for some time now. Both are examples of how, despite the passing of time, and even though there have been some changes, the essence of what made it special back in the day has been preserved.