[*Wonders why she's speaking Spanish on a French-themed blog*]
Glad you asked! I'm trying to learn Spanish (after a brief introduction in grades 5-6) so I can communicate in non-French speaking places like...Barcelona! Let's just say my Spanish skills are pretty limited at this point, but I did manage to put together this guide to the city.
Fly: Vueling. The Spanish low-cost carrier definitely feels like a step up from EasyJet or RyanAir, without too much of an increase in price. Also a good option if you’re looking to beef up your Spanish skills right from the get-go, as most attendants speak Spanish. And bonus points for their on-point content marketing (if the menu wasn't labeled as such, I wouldn't have been able to tell it apart from the in-flight mag).
Stay: Poblenou. This neighborhood is what my Dad would call "up and coming." Like Gràcia 10 years ago. Catalan for new village, Poblenou is a mix of industrial buildings and warehouses, increasingly converted into lofts and art galleries. The leafy Rambla de Poblenou is the main shopping street running through the neighborhood and ending at the beach. A tourist spot, this is not (yet).
Shop: Gràcia boutiques are the absolute BEST. I was surprisingly self-controlled, especially compared to the damage I did last spring when I visited, and a few summers before that in Madrid. What can I say, the rebajas are tough to resist!
Eat: All the tapas. Patatas bravas, tortilla espagnola + bocadillos, por favor. Pretty much on every menu in town - just grab a seat at one of the many restaurants lining the rambla and experience the joy that is summer in Spain. If you're looking for something a little less traditional, but equally delicious, how about a fried croissant stuffed with cream? With a café con leche, claro.
See: pretty much anything by Gaudi. When it comes to architecture, Barcelona does not disappoint. Once you've checked the Sagrada Familia and the Dr. Suess-esque Parc Güell off your list, la Pedrera is also worth a visit, if only for the view from the rooftop. And when you're tired of waiting in line, you can continue the architectural tour just by walking around and admiring from the outside - Gaudi's influence is everywhere!
Do: rent bikes. See the city on wheels (and cover a lot more ground!) One of my go-to sightseeing activities, ever since this trip to San Francisco where we biked across the Golden Gate bridge (an incredible experience aside from a few near-death experiences caused by excessive amounts of selfies and other tourists on bikes taking selfies).
Drink: Vermouth! Not sure what vermouth is? Not to worry – there are guided tours, which if we’re being honest, is really just a pretext for everyone’s favorite part: the tasting! Actually, the one we did ended up being extremely educational. So if you are curious about the history of Barcelona, and you speak Catalan or know someone that does, let me know and I’ll send you the deets. Otherwise, a pitcher of Sangria never hurt anyone. Salud!