Recoleta is probably the most stylish neighborhood in Buenos Aires. It is an elegant district with plenty of iconic buildings, palaces, and a lot of culture with a Parisian soul that will make you feel that magic combination of French architecture and Southamerican culture.
It is said that it is possible to discover the identity and the history of a city through its architecture. This idea applies perfectly to Buenos Aires, a particular town where a variety of architectonic styles coexist in harmony. In this context, the story of Recoleta is particular. The neighborhood was established as a result of cholera and yellow fever outbreaks that forced wealthy families to leave the southern area of Buenos Aires, looking for an uncrowded place to settle down. Back then, what we know today as Recoleta, was just a farming region with a cemetery, some cottages, and plenty of empty plots. These events determined a new layout of the city. A new classy district full of mansions arose in the northern part of the town while the south region of Buenos Aires (including La Boca) remained as the home of immigrants and low-class people.
It is not a secret that, during the late 18th century, both politicians and powerful families tried to shape Buenos Aires as if it was a European capital. That attempt was undoubtedly supported by the extraordinary wealth resulting from the economy of the country during those days. Opulence and showing-off became commonplace in the area, expressed through both the architects and the workers hired in Europe mainly to accomplish the luxury duty. Thus, although there are different styles materialized, Beaux-Arts architecture (taught in École des Beaux-Arts in Paris) is the predominant one in Recoleta.
The places to visit are endless since almost every building, square, palace, or church has a lot of history. In this story, I will feature some of the most important and must-visit spots.
It is one of the oldest constructions in Recoleta that was later renewed. Today it is a kind of an open-sky museum full of luxury mausoleums that belong to distinguished and famous Argentine families. Visitors can book guided tours thought the cemetery.
Designed by the French architect Louis Martin (hired in Paris by the owner, a well-known doctor whose last-name was Pereda), the palace was inspired by the Jacquemart-André museum. Nowadays the palace is home to the Brazilian ambassador.
It is undoubtedly the most emblematic avenue in Recoleta. It has plenty of luxury stores and aristocratic mansions spreading across the street, from Francia Square to the France Embassy. Such examples are the Palacio Duhau, the Palacio Maguire, the Château La Terrasse d'Alvear, and the France Embassy.
Surrounded by beautiful parks and squares, the building of the faculty of law of the University of Buenos Aires, a Doric style construction, is also a museum.
It is the most iconic and picturesque bookstore in Buenos Aires. It works in a building that used to be a theater called Grand Splendid. The construction dates to1919, and since then, it has been one of the cultural hubs of Buenos Aires. It was renovated in the early 2000s and is today one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world and an emblematic expression of the reading culture in Argentina.
The list may be continued with multiple places such as the Engineering Faculty Building, the Fine Arts National Museum, the National Palace of Art, the Latin American Art Museum, Cafe La Biela and many more. All those can be found among many other buildings and monuments that make Recoleta a unique and fancy neighborhood where every traveler should get lost at least for one day to feel the Parisian spirit of Buenos Aires.
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