This is a fast paced 10 days itinerary for North of Spain and South of France (from Barcelona to Nice) .
Day 1 - Barcelona
Batll house (from outside)
The present Casa Batllף is the result of a total refurbishment of an old previous conventional house built in 1877.
Gaudם was commissioned by the owner Josep Batllף i Casanovas to totally renew the old building. On that base, Gaudם projected this astonishing house, one of the most fancy and "special" of Barcelona.
The project of the architect Antoni Gaudם i Cornet of 1904 was strongly discussed by municipal authorities due to a lot of elements of the design of Gaudם over the bylaws standards.
The changes made by Gaudם on the old building were radical and affect all the building. In fact the building of Gaudם is a new building.
La Casa Mila of Antoni Gaudi - " La Pedrera"
Next to the Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila or "La Pedrera" as it is often called, is probably Gaudi's second most popular building in Barcelona. Casa Mila covers an area of more than 100 square meters and includes two large circular patios, so that almost every part of the house gets its share of sunlight. It is constructed entirely in natural stones, and lacking all the colors and ornamentation design. Maybe one of the most interesting places of the whole complex is the rooftop: Here you can find a large ensemble of surrealistic chimneys all looking different and like sculptures standing there alone or in small groups, dominating the rooftop.
The Sagrada Familia of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona
The Sagrada Familia is the world wide symbol of Barcelona. The monumental church El Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Expiatory Temple of the Sacred Family) is Gaudi's most famous work and the finest example of his visionary genius. The architect undertook the task in 1883 on the site of a previous neo-Gothic project begun in 1882 by F. del Villar. Gaudi dedicated his life to carrying out this ambitious undertaking which due to his sudden death was left unfinished.
Designed by Antoni Gaudi Cornet and built between 1884 and 1887.
This buildings were the porters house and the stables of Finca Guell, the big property in Barcelona of Eusebi Guell i Bacigalupi, the count of Guell.
The complex is composed by two buildings linked by a common monumental cast iron gate connected in its hinges side on a column crowned by vegetal fantasies and adorned with a medallion with the "G" of Guell. This gate is an example of Art Nouveau fantasy, with its big iron dragon manufactured by the locksmith's Vallet i Piquer.
The buildings bases are made in stone. The walls, the structure vaults and parabolic arches are made in bricks, as Gaudu commonly did.
The walls and roofs decoration are made in ceramic pieces with geometric designs.
At a present time, the pavilions are the seat of the "Catedra Gaudi de l'Escola d'Arquitectura de la Universitat Politicnica de Catalunya" (Catalonia University, Gaudi chair), lodging a Museum, library and Gaudi archives.
Museu Futbol Club Barcelona -President Nunez, Camp Nou
FC Barcelona football club museum is the fourth most visited of the museums in Barcelona and has sporting artifacts from the club dating back 100 years. There are two types of admission fee. The first will give you access to the museum and the pitch area. If you buy the second type of ticket you will also get a guided tour of the changing rooms, press rooms, VIP lounge, and actually see the pitch at ground level. You'll also get a chance to sit on the players benches and see what it's like to sit in the best seats of the stadium.
Day 2 Barcelona
Maritime Museum of Barcelona
Opposite the statue Christopher Columbus, in the bottom of Ramblas, the maritime museum is one of the most imaginative museum of the city and one of the most visited too. Installed in the royal arsenals- date from 1378 and are the biggest and most complete Medieval dockyards in the world- it exposes animated presentations and houses a big exhibition including model ships, drawings, replicas, paintings, figureheads and an interactive exhibition, "The Great Adventure of the Sea".
Picasso Museum In Barcelona
At the evening - Fountains.
Day 3 Montserrat
You can reach this magnificent site by car, by train, or by bus. There is a spectacular funicular ride straight up the steep mountain side when you get there.
Only the basilica and museum are regularly open to the public. The basilica is dark and ornate, its blackness pierced by the glow of hundreds of votive lamps. Above the high altar stands the famous polychrome statue of the Virgin and Child, to which the faithful can pay their respects by way of a separate door. The monastery's museum has two sections: the Secció Antiga has old masters, among them works by El Greco, Correggio, and Caravaggio, and the amassed gifts to the Virgin; the Secció Moderna concentrates on recent modern Catalan painters.
The Museum of Montserrat is a bright and shiny and cool collection of paintings and artifacts mostly donated by devout Catalan Catholics. While nothing really earth-shaking, you’ll enjoy an air-conditioned wander past lots of antiquities and fine paintings (including works by El Greco, Caravaggio, Monet, Picasso and Dalí)
The Sant Joan funicular continues another 820 feet above the monastery. At the top of the funicular, a 20-minute walk takes you to the Sant Joan chapel and the starting point of numerous hikes, described in the TI’s “Six Itineraries from the Monastery” brochure. For a quick and easy chance to get out into the mountainous nature, simply ride up and follow the short 45 minute loop walk back down to the monastery.
Day 4 Girona – Figueres
Cathedral whose location has been a place of worship since the Roman occupation. It was founded in 1038, however most of the present building dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, therefore it is the result of various superimposed styles; Romantic and Gothic. The interior contains numerous works of art, Gothic tombs and baroque altar paintings. The renowned Tapestry of the Creation (XIth Century), The Beatus (10th Century) and a rich collection of medieval gold and silver works are exhibited in the Capitular Museum. The steep narrow street housed the Jewish community of Girona in medieval times.
These 12th-century Arab baths, an example of Romanesque civic architecture, are in the old quarter of the city. Visit the caldarium (hot bath), with its paved floor, and the frigidarium (cold bath), with its central octagonal pool surrounded by pillars that support a prismlike structure in the overhead window. Although the Moorish baths were heavily restored in 1929, they give you an idea of what the ancient ones were like
where the Jewish community lived for six centuries from 890 to 1492. It is considered one of the best preserved Jewish quarters in Western Europe. Here the Jews exercised a great influence and projected their skills and knowledge far beyond the city limits. Life in the `aljama´ (Jewish community) was concentrated around the synagogue, which had various sites over the years. The very prestigious
was founded here, the first in the Iberian Peninsula. There is an exhibition in the Bonastruc Ca Porta Centre (named after the Rabbi of the Girona Cabalists and which contains the Jewish History Museum and the Nahmanides Institute) on the way of life of the Girona Jews. It features one of the most important collections of Jewish tombstones in Europe.
Jewish History Museum
In the Old Quarter too, be sure to see the Agullana Mansion (14th – 17th century). The mansion, together with the adjoining steps and façade of the Sant Marti Acosta, make up one of the most outstanding Baroque ensembles in Spain. The covered, biased arch of the mansion has long been one of the most photographed icons of the city.
The Houses Of The Onyar which are situated on the banks of the River Onyar and the bridges which span it are one of the most typical and spectacular sights of Girona. These houses overlooking the river were built towards the end of the Middle Ages, and were attached to the walls which encircled the old quarter and the Mercadal borough. On a clear day, the reflection in the river of these colorful houses and the occasional line of washing blowing in the breeze is quite spellbinding.
Teatre Museu Dalí
The internationally known Dalí was as famous for his surrealist and often erotic imagery as he was for his flamboyance and exhibitionism. At the Figueres museum, in the center of town beside the Rambla, you'll find his paintings, watercolors, gouaches, charcoals, and pastels, along with graphics and sculptures, many rendered with seductive and meticulously detailed imagery. His wide-ranging subject matter encompassed such repulsive issues as putrefaction and castration. You'll see, for instance, The Happy Horse, a grotesque and lurid purple beast the artist painted during one of his long exiles at Port Lligat. A tour of the museum is an experience. When a catalog was prepared, Dalí said with a perfectly straight face, "It is necessary that all of the people who come out of the museum have false information."
Day 5 Girona – Arles
Théâtre Antique/Amphitheatre (Les Arènes)
Important remains of Roman times include the ancient theater, the arena or amphitheater, and the Alyscamps (Roman necropolis). They have been listed as World Heritage Sites since 1981.
The Church of St. Trophime (Saint Trophimus),
The Church of St. Trophime (Saint Trophimus), formerly a cathedral, is a major work of Romanesque architecture, and the representation of the Last Judgment on its portal is considered one of the finest examples of Romanesque sculpture, as are the columns in the adjacent cloister.
This was a legendary place of great Christian victories over the Saracens, and the place where the wonderful marble sarcophagi were discovered in the Roman necropolis, the largest collection in western Europe of marble sarcophagi outside Rome. This is still a beautiful place, although the best sarcophagi have been removed to various churches and museums of Arles.
Musée de l'Arles Antique
The town also has an outstanding museum of ancient history, with one of the best collections of Roman sarcophagi to be found anywhere outside Rome itself. However, perhaps surprisingly given the town's importance to van Gogh, none of his works are on display in Arles.
Opened in 1995, the museum holds one of the world's most famous collections of Roman Christian sarcophagi as well as a rich ensemble of sculptures, mosaics, and inscriptions from the Augustinian period to the 6th century A.D. Eleven detailed models show ancient monuments of the region as they existed in the past.
Day 6 – Nice
Hotel Hôtel Régence
Monastère de Cimiez (Cimiez Convent)
The convent embraces a church that owns three of the most important works by the locally prominent Bréa brothers, who painted in the late 15th century. See the carved and gilded wooden main altarpiece. In a restored part of the convent where some Franciscan friars still live, the Musée Franciscain is decorated with 17th-century frescoes. Some 350 documents and works of art from the 15th to the 18th centuries are on display, and a monk's cell has been re-created in all its severe simplicity. Also visit the 17th-century chapel. From the magnificent gardens, you'll have a panoramic view of Nice and the Baie des Anges. Matisse and Dufy are buried in the cemetery.
The baroque Palais Lascaris in the city's historic core is associated with the Lascaris-Vintimille family, whose recorded history predates the year 1261. Built in the 17th century, it contains elaborately detailed ornaments. An intensive restoration by the city of Nice in 1946 brought back its original beauty, and the palace is now classified as a historic monument. The most elaborate floor, the étage noble, retains many of its 18th-century panels and plaster embellishments. A pharmacy, built around 1738 and complete with many of the original Delftware accessories, is on the premises.
Day 7 - Nice
Hotel Hôtel Régence
This museum honors the artist, who died in Nice in 1954. Seeing his nude sketches today, you'll wonder how early critics could have denounced them as "the female animal in all her shame and horror." Most of the pieces in the museum's permanent collection were painted in Nice, and many were donated by Matisse and his heirs. These include Nude in an Armchair with a Green Plant (1937), Nymph in the Forest (1935-42), and a chronologically arranged series of paintings from 1890 to 1919. The most famous of these is Portrait of Madame Matisse (1905), usually displayed near a portrait of the artist's wife by Marquet, painted in 1900. There's also an assemblage of designs he prepared as practice sketches for the Matisse Chapel at Vence. Also here are The Créole Dancer (1951), Blue Nude IV (1952), and around 50 dance-related sketches he did between 1930 and 1931. The artist's last work, Flowers and Fruit (1953), is made of cut-out gouache
Musée National Message Biblique Marc-Chagall
In the hills of Cimiez, this handsome museum, surrounded by pools and a garden, is devoted to Marc Chagall's treatment of biblical themes. Born in Russia in 1887, Chagall became a French citizen in 1937. The artist and his wife donated the works -- the most important Chagall collection ever assembled -- to France in 1966 and 1972. On display are 450 of his oils, gouaches, drawings, pastels, lithographs, sculptures, and ceramics; a mosaic; three stained-glass windows; and a tapestry. Chagall decorated a concert room with brilliantly hued stained-glass windows. Temporary exhibits each summer feature great periods and artists of all times.
Day 8 – Nice
Hotel Hôtel Régence
Musée des Beaux-Arts
The collection is in the former residence of the Ukrainian Princess Kotchubey. It has an important gallery devoted to the masters of the Second Empire and the belle époque, with an extensive collection of 19th-century French experts. The gallery of sculptures includes works by J. B. Carpeaux, Rude, and Rodin. Note the important collection by a dynasty of painters, the Dutch Vanloo family. One of its best-known members, Carle Vanloo, born in Nice in 1705, was Louis XV's premier peintre. A fine collection of 19th- and 20th-century art includes works by Ziem, Raffaelli, Boudin, Monet, Guillaumin, and Sisley.
Promenade des Anglais
originally established in the 1820's as a seaside walking path, this extends 3 miles along the Bay of Angels,
Day 9 – Avignon
The Palace of the Popes in Avignon
is two distinct buildings, one old and one older. Along with lots of big, barren rooms, you'll see frescoes, tapestries, and some beautiful floor tiles. The audiophone self-guided tours do a good job of overcoming the lack of furnishings and give a thorough history lesson while allowing you to tour this vast place at your own pace.
The Petit Palace Museum superbly displays medieval Italian painting and sculpture. Since the Catholic Church was the patron of the arts, all 350 paintings deal with Christian themes. Visiting this museum before going to the Palace of the Popes gives you a sense of art and life during the Avignon papacy.
Hike above the Palace of the Popes to the –
Parc de Rochers des Doms –
for a panoramic view over Avignon and the Rhône River Valley. You'll get good look at the St. Bénezet Bridge, made famous by the nursery rhyme "Sur le Pont d'Avignon." Its construction and location were inspired by a shepherd's religious vision. Imagine a 22-arch, 1,000-meter-long bridge extending across two rivers to the bridge's former tollgate on the far side. The island the bridge spanned is now filled with campgrounds. You can pay to walk along a section of the ramparts and do your own jig on the bridge. The city's castle, the St. André Fortress, was once another island in the Rhône.
In town, art lovers may be entertained by a pair of small, but fine museums. The Fondation Angladon-Dubrujeaud mixes a limited but enjoyable collection of art from Post-Impressionists (including Cézanne, van Gogh, Daumier, Degas, and Picasso) with recreated art studios and furnishings from many periods. The fine-arts Calvet Museum impressively displays its wide-ranging collection covering prehistory to 20th-century art, but has no English information. You'll find everything from neolithic artifacts to medieval tapestries to porcelain plates to Impressionist paintings
For a close-up look at Avignon life, meander the backstreets. Join an English-language walking tour offered by the tourist information office. Or do it on your own with the tourist office's city map and descriptions from the Avignon "passion" guide.
Venture along Rue des Teinturiers. This "street of the dyers" is Avignon's headquarters for all that's hip. You'll pass the Gray Penitents chapel. The facade shows the GPs, who dressed up in robes and pointy hoods to do their anonymous good deeds back in the 13th century (long before the KKK dressed this way).
You'll see the work of amateur sculptors, who have carved whimsical car barrier out of limestone. Earthy cafés, galleries, and a small stream (a branch of the Sorgue River) with waterwheels line this tie-dyed street. This was the cloth industry's dyeing and textile center in the 1800s. Those stylish Provençal fabrics and patterns you see for sale everywhere started here, after a pattern imported from China.
At the waterwheel, imagine the Sorgue River, which hits the mighty Rhône here in Avignon, being broken into several canals in order to turn 23 such wheels. Around 1800, this powered the town's industries. The little cogwheel above the big one could be shoved into place, kicking another machine into gear behind the wall.
Day 10 – Carcassonne
The fortified city
The fortified city itself consists essentially of a concentric design of two outer walls with 53 towers and barbicans to prevent attack by siege engines. The castle itself possesses its own drawbridge and ditch leading to a central keep. The walls consist of towers built over quite a long period. One section is Roman and is notably different from the medieval walls with the tell-tale red brick layers and the shallow pitch terracotta tile roofs. One of these towers housed the Catholic Inquisition in the 13th century and is still known as "The Inquisition Tower".
crosses the Canal du Midi and provides access to the railway station. Lac de la Cavayère has been created as a recreational lake and is about five minutes from the city centre.
Carcassonne Cathedral is a cathedral and designated national monument in Carcassonne. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Carcassonne and Narbonne.
The building was built in the thirteenth century as a parish church, dedicated to Saint Michael. Following war damage in the fourteenth century it was rebuilt as a fortified church.