At first we thought that it was boring and pretentious, and we blamed ourselves for settling here. However, day by day we have this feeling that we discover another view of it and we like it more and more.
A few days ago I wrote to you that we came to live in Recoleta because our acquaintances recommended that it would be the best place for us in Buenos Aires to live. By us they meant a family with a child. They said it was safer and quieter in the evenings and that it also was a richer part of the city. In the beginning we were a little skeptical about the idea but finally we were tempted and now we do not resent our decision as we did at first. We must admit that it is pretty ok to live here.
As we are descending in our lift which is suitable for one person with a pram, we greet the doorkeeper, we go into the street and whether we look to the right or to the left we see the view which is pretty much similar – cafes, stores, shops. It is funny that within a short section of our street there are three shops with children clothes, greengrocer’s, delicatessen, furniture shop and a few restaurants. These children clothes look particularly tempting but I am doing well and I haven’t bought anything so far:) It is nice to drink a cup of coffee and have breakfast in a café nearby, where waiters smile from the very morning. This is our part of the city.
There is so much more than that because Recoleta is quite a vast district. As many cities or districts before, there have been attempts to classify it somehow or compare to something, often labeling it ‘Paris of the South America’ or ‘Little Paris’. Such a comparison mostly results from the number of tenements houses, manors and magnificent palaces which are located in this district. Indeed, the comparison is not that exaggerated as it would seem – the resemblance to the French capital city is really significant.
What is funny though, Recoleta became this prestigious district quite accidentally; namely, in the second half of 19th century the epidemic of yellow fever broke out in Buenos Aires and most of the rich families moved from San Telmo to Recoleta, building here rich and ostentatious manors for themselves. In the later years of the 19th century architects who were fascinated with Paris came to Recoleta, whose architecture started to be inspired by it and this is how numerous parks and palaces were built. There are also luxurious hotels located in these palaces. This is the case with Palacio Duhau or Alvear Palace Hotel.
There is plenty of artistic soul to find here. Not far from Recoleta Cemetery there is a square called Plazza Mayor Alvear or – France’s Square, which is also a cultural and artistic centre created in the sixties. Close enough there is also Centro Cultural Recoleta, where exhibitions of painting, art, photography and sculpture take place as well as artistic and music performances are organized, and Museo Participativo de Ciencias, where you can touch every exhibit and participate in various experiments.
As for curiosities that we discovered about this district, it turns out that a beautiful and modern Plaza Ramón even in the second half of 19th century was a place where bull heads were stored, and animal waste was thrown into a stream which flowed nearby at that time. Today there are mostly cafes, restaurants and elegant boutiques.
The thing I like most here ares the parks and small parks just being there on many corners. Even though we are in the heart of the city it is easy to find a good spot to take a walk with Amelia.
For the museum fans – you also have good selection here – – Macie Museo de Arquitectura (Architecture Museum), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Art Museum), Museo Roca (Rock Museum) and Museo de la Shoá (Holocaust Museum), just to name few of them.
It is hard for us to judge whether it is Paris or not, but without any doubt we feel here like in Europe. Everything here seems familiar and what we don’t like is that we more and more feel here like home.