Buenos Aires – Recoleta – Stuff to See and Do
After traipsing round the mausoleums you might feel the need to reaffirm life with a spot of shopping. Next to the cemetery you’ll find Buenos Aires Design www.designrecoleta.com.ar; a whole shopping mall dedicated to modern design, which is my idea of heaven.
On Saturdays there’s a flea market in front of the cemetery in Plaza Francia with about a hundred stalls selling handmade artisan products.
Over the road from Plaza Francia, in Plaza Ramo Carcano, another sight to see is the huge rubber tree (Ficus Elastica) known as El “Gran Gomero,” with its multiple trunks and formidable root system. It’s thought to be over 220 years old.
There’s a huge wine shop called Winery on the ground floor of the Recoleta Mall at 2030 Vincente Lopez www.winery.com.ar which is usually my last stop before I fly home.
Not strictly in Recoleta but not too far away in Barrio Norte (Avenida Santa Fe 1860 between Callao and Riobamba) is Ateneo Grand Splendid, a huge bookshop located in a former theatre. It frequently appears in a high position on lists of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. You can sit and read in one of the boxes or have a coffee in the cafe on the stage. An amazing space!
Recoleta has some nice architecture, especially along Avenidas Alvear and Arroyo where many of the buildings were inspired by the French Beaux Arts and Art Nouveau styles.
These Belle Epoque mansions once belonged to wealthy Argentinean families who fell on hard times during one of the many economic crashes that have blighted the country. The state subsequently stepped in to buy these houses and use them as embassies, notable examples being the Brazilian and French embassies.
When Avenida 9 de Julio was being expanded the plan was to demolish the French embassy but the French government refused to move, which accounts for its strange position jutting out towards the avenida.
More details about this architecture walk can be found here.