I recently wrote about how simple and easy it is to visit Barcelona whilst you are doing a French language stay in Montpellier. I’m hoping you have been convinced to take advantage of this opportunity, especially if you have come to from further abroad to do an intensive French course for adults. Here I want to describe what we did, our impressions of Barcelona and other things we heard about in this stunning city just 3 hours from your French school.
First of all, we went sight-seeing. There is so much to see in this city that you will definitely not be able to see it all in one weekend and you will probably want to come back a second time, but hey! That’s perfectly possible. Walking through the city is already a form of sight-seeing in itself, since every building is unique and interesting, especially for people who are interested in architecture or just generally love old buildings. It’s also worth walking down La Rambla, a very touristy shopping street, down to the beach with a monument for Christopher Columbus. But I wouldn’t recommend eating in the restaurants on this street since they are usually much more expensive than usual.
While you’re walking around, you will also encounter on or two old churches but one church you have to visit is Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. It truly is an architectural wonder that intimidates you with its massiveness and challenges your preconceptions of what a church is supposed to look like. But rather than me describing what this church looks like and, more importantly, feels like, you should go and experience it yourself. Looking at it from the outside is the cheapest version since it is for free. If you want to spend the money and go inside, I would advise that you book your tickets online, so you don’t have to wait outside for hours.
Want to See More Gaudi Buildings?
After you’ve seen the Sagrada Familia, you will want to see more of Gaudi’s work and there are a lot of his buildings in the city. For example, the Casa Batlló, a beautiful fountain in the Parc de la Ciutadella and of course Parc Güell. A green hill with the colorful mosaic balconies and Gaudi’s extraordinary house in the middle of it, you can wander around for a long time, have a little picnic, enjoy the warm climate of Spain and… get lost, as we did again.
After that you would probably want to see more of Gaudi’s work, but, not to worry, there are many other things to see! For example, the Bordeaux red Arc de Triomf, or an interesting museum about the history of Catalonia. As I just said there is so much to do that you will never be bored in Barcelona.
If your feet are tired from walking around all day, the metro is an easy way to travel through the huge city. One single ticket is 2,20€ for any journey irrespective of distance but you can also buy a 2-day ticket for 15€. And if you are hungry after a long day you will not have trouble finding a place to eat because there are basically restaurants at every corner. But what to eat? Well, I would recommend trying Tortillas Española; a kind of potato egg cake, Paella; a rice dish with spices, vegetables and sea food.
You can use a few simple rules to avoid the overpriced touristy restaurants and find good authentic food. First, go on the main street, when you find an alley that looks interesting, follow that road, and then follow the next one as well and again and again and again until there are no restaurants with pictures on the menu anymore and, even better, no English translations. If the menu is in Catalan, then you know that it’s a real local restaurant and the people will be happy to help you with the foods on the menu that you don’t understand.
This truly is an amazing city, I had never really had that much interest in going there until I found out it was so close to where I was learning French in France. Then as more and more of the students at the EasyFrench Language School regaled me with stories of their trips to the capital of Catalonia I thought I should really take this opportunity during my French language stay in Montpellier.