Barcelona, the modernist city
Our city has a huge importance in the modernism architecture thanks to Antoni Gaudí. His most well-known buildings are Casa Batlló, Sagrada Familia and Casa Milà itself. However, Sant Pau complex, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, is another amazing modernist work. From Food Lovers Company, we recommend you visit it as it is not so crowded. Moreover, it is easy to visit almost all modernist works with the modernist route, which includes 120 works.
In this post, we are going to give you some highlights on Casa Milà and explain you our experience in Cafè de la Pedrera, which is inside it.
The house was built between 1906 and 1912 by the architect Antoni Gaudí; it was one of the lasts buildings he designed, as later he focused on building Sagrada Família. Casa Milà was commissioned by Pere Milà, a businessman and his wife, Roser Segimon. He was so impressed by Casa Batlló, that he wanted the same architect, Gaudí, to build a house even more impressive than the work mentioned before.
It is located on the center of Barcelona, on the corner of Passeig de Gràcia and Provença street. A perfect location for Milà couple to live and to stand out among the bourgeoisie of Barcelona.
On that time, there was a lot of criticism as it has an unconventional style. It appeared in many satirical magazines and even the other street house owners were angry with Milà arguing that the weird building would lower the price of land in the area.
In 1984, it was declared a World Heritage by UNESCO. It is currently the headquarters of Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation; which manages exhibitions and other activities at Casa Milà.
This building is a typical work of Gaudí, where there are just a few straight lines but a lot of curves and circles. Natural rocks made the exterior of the house, apart from the roof which is made with white tiles. Combining rocks and those white tiles looks like a snowy mountain.
The neighbors believed that its rock blocks were cut and finished just without art, reason why they called Casa Milà, La Pedrera. This nickname comes from the Catalan word “pedra” which is rock in English and it is used for all the citizens until nowadays.
Casa Milà’s roof has large chimneys, also covered with white tiles. Each of them is a different figure representing soldiers who are on their watch; usually named “the warriors garden”. Gaudí used his classic materials also in this work, stone, tile and wrought iron, as you can see on the balconies.
As usual, the three key elements of Gaudí’s work; nature, religion and Catalonia; are present, as the work is inspired by Montserrat, the Catalan sacred mountain.
The first part you see when entering Casa Milà is the lobby. It is an open space with a lot of light and air, differentiated from most of the lobbies. It matches with the first patio, as in the building there are two patios; one in Passeig de Gràcia and the other in Provença street.
Casa Milà’s stairs were built for the service, as the accesses to the apartments were through the lifts. The exception was the noble floor, where Gaudí designed a particular stair, as seen on the picture below. This magnificent stair goes from the lobby and first patio to the main floor. As you can see, the hall is full of oil paintings with eclectic references to mythology and flowers.
One of the most characteristic parts of Casa Milà is the garage. It was the first building in Barcelona to have an underground garage for horse-pulled carriages. Reason why the doors are so big.
The apartments are still full of the furniture Gaudí designed specifically for Casa Milà. On the visit, you will be able to see these original designs on one of the apartments.
Finally, before visiting the roof with the soldiers’ chimneys, you can have a look at the attic. A space made of catenary arches, where the laundry rooms were located. Those arches are higher when the space is narrowed and lower when the space expands, depending on the shape and location of the courtyards.
Casa Milà is one of the “must see” of Barcelona, with activities for kids and with the possibility to be visited during the day but also during the night; giving different experiences depending on the chosen time of the day.
Cafè de la Pedrera, our experience
The visit at Cafè de la Pedrera was a surprising experience, like being tourist in our own city, recovering what we see every day and sometimes we do not notice! It is placed at the first floor, and the access is through a little entrance next to the main door of the building. The place allows you to keep enjoying this fabulous architecture from Gaudí, and relax yourself with views to the most important street in Barcelona, through its huge modernist windows. Only the ceiling of the space would merit the visit, it is elegant, delicate and almost dreamlike; a beauty!
The menu is based on the classics of the Spanish gastronomy, with an updated form and with original touches. We tried some tapas and little dishes. A very tasty cod “esqueixada”, a goat cheese mousse with piquillo jam (a strong flavor for those who, like us, love those strong flavors), grilled vegetables with smoked sardine (very delicate sardine) and a “a feira” octopus so tender. But we highlight two meat dishes that we loved, the Barcelona’s cannelloni and the beef stew (ragout), so delicious!
We ended up this spring midday with a refreshing ice cream with fruits (a beautiful presentation as you can see in the pictures).
An unforgettable place if you visit the building or if you want to enjoy an especial break in the middle of the city. Perfect to make a brunch or a light meal tasting very popular dishes of our gastronomy, revisited with respect and without losing at all the root flavors. If you want to know a little bit more about this special place, you can check it on their website: https://www.cafedelapedrera.com/en/.
Thank you Cafè de la Pedrera!
Showing you our gastronomy is a pleasure we share in our food tour too, so thanks again for enjoying that. See you in our next post!