I’ve always had an affinity for old buildings, old objects, old books. Knowing that each one of them has a unique story to tell, perhaps multiple.
We can paint colourful narratives about their illustrious past, the characters who once lived within the walls or the dedicated craftsmen who created them.
Requiring a little time travel in these strange months, we planned to spend the day combing antique shops, exploring Barcelona’s oldest candle shop–still in business 260 years on–and roaming a historical garden.
Just strolling through the neighborhoods of the Gothic Quarter and Eixample there are endless fascinating structures and unexpected treasures, enriched with layers of history.
Each neighbourhood tells a different story through the style of its buildings. Eixample is characterised by grandeur, exhibiting buildings with jewellery box-like facades, decorative lamps and grand entrances.
Nowhere can such a sense of history be felt as powerfully as within the confines of the Gothic Quarter, whose myriad of narrow passages are cast into shade throughout most of the day under the shadow of the timeworn buildings that rise up on each side.
Such an environment provides the perfect setting for the bountiful antique shops that occupy many of the storefronts in this district, their window displays flaunting relics and rare finds–chandeliers, paintings, furniture, jewellery and everything in between.
A particular gem that we’re drawn to time and again, Cereria Subirà is the oldest candle shop in Barcelona founded in 1761 by candlemaker Jacinto Galí. The scented smell of wax greets you as you step through the door, both pleasant and faintly nostalgic.
The intriguing space is framed by opposing mezzanines, reached by a set of elegant curved staircases at the back of the store. Brandishing a paper bag full of carefully wrapped candles as well as our vintage glassware, we drop by the apartment before embarking on the next phase of our adventure.
On our way to the park, we wind our way through the streets of Gràcia whose architecture represents an affluent and an artistic spirit. Tasteful facades exhibit intricate balconies, curious corner turrets & floor-to-ceiling stained-glass windows.
Crowned the green jewel of the Horta and Guinardó district, Parc del Laberint is a resplendent 18th-century garden designed by Italian engineer Domenico Bagutti.
Taking its name from the spectacular labyrinth found at the heart of the grounds, an Italian influence can be felt throughout the sculpted neo-classical gardens with symmetrical features, topiary art, fountains, Tuscan columns and plentiful statues.
The park was later extended offering a 19th-century romantic garden, a contrasting woodland environment featuring a wilder assortment of trees and charmingly untamed shrubbery alongside water falling freely into a waterfall and stone-bedded stream.
As the day turns to evening, we return home to light our newly purchased candles and decant whiskey into the cut-glass vessel.
After a long week shooting a perfume campaign on the French Riviera, we packed our bags and burrowed inland, checking ourselves into La Bastide de Marie for a brief respite before the final leg of [...]