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HomeTown Lisbon blog offers you a selection of articles devoted to the destination Lisbon, its news, culture, activities and of course, its people

News

Holidays in Lisbon

1 month ago - Léa D.

Gastronomy mixed with tradition In Portuguese, "Merry Christmas" is called "Feliz Natal" and Christmas Eve is called "Consoada". The Portuguese Christmas meal is not a colossal meal consisting of a thousand and one dishes: it is a simple dinner, giving the family the opportunity to gather around the table to enjoy tasty dishes steeped in tradition. Legend has it that there are 365 ways to cook the famous Portuguese cod, a recipe for every day of the year. On Christmas day, it will be cooked in the most humble way possible: "bacalhau cozido", boiled with potatoes and cabbages cooked in water. After the meal, a special place must be kept for the many desserts that are wisely waiting to be savored after the midnight mass, otherwise called "Missa do Galo", the rooster mass. This is an important religious tradition. The return of the Mass sounds the tasting of the desserts and the opening of the presents, for the biggest pleasure of the children. The list of desserts is long and varied: the most famous is surely the "Bolo Rei", a cake of kings shaped in a crown and composed of dried crystallized fruits. It is a pastry normally served on January 6th, date during which the gifts were given for a long time, symbolic of the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus. There is also rice pudding, French toast and "filhos", donuts made from bread dough, brandy and orange. The "pao do lo" made of eggs and flavored with orange or lemon is also a delight. An old tradition is that during Christmas, family members give each other an orange with cloves as a symbol of prosperity. Unlike some European countries, the Christmas tree is less present in Portuguese families who prefer the Christmas cradle. A selection of the most diverse Followed by Lille, Munich, Amsterdam and many others, Lisbon is at the head of the 10 best European cities to enjoy Christmas. Retro, antique and family shopping are added to the major luxury brands and brands known to all. We have selected for you various markets accessible in town, with different themes for everyone's tastes. Traditional Christmas Market (Avenida da Igreja) From December 7th to the 16th, this family market welcomes you in a colorful and festive atmosphere. Crafts, gastronomic specialties and animations as well as Santa Claus will be present. It is the perfect place to find nice memories and have a good time in a warm atmosphere. Craft & Design (Jardim da Estrela) Located in one of the most beautiful gardens of Lisbon, Jardim da Estrela, this market includes the creators and artisans of ceramics, photography, illustrations, jewelry, fashion ... It takes place the first weekend of each month. The Campo Pequeno Christmas Market (Campo Pequeno Station) In the big arenas of Campo Pequeno, more than 100 exhibitors will be present to present you various articles coming exclusively from Portugal. Buying in this market helps support small artisans and national creators, all while delighting yourself ! Time Out Market (Mercado da Ribeira) It is a must in Lisbon. It is a covered market where you can eat thanks to the 30 small kiosks lined up, which will serve you to drink, to eat with the possibility of buying local specialties. Glaciers, pastry chefs, cocktail bar ... You'll be spoiled for choice. During Christmas, Lisbon shines Christmas in Lisbon is an adventure full of lights and colors. The whole city is decorated with beautiful illuminations, and particularly the district of Baixa. The inauguration of the illuminations begins on December 1st at 18h. The famous trade square will welcome, just like every year, the big Christmas tree of about 30 meters high, decorated with more than 86,000 Led bulbs. Wonderland Lisboa is an event not to be missed: it is the transformation of the Edward VII Park into a magical world with several activities: giant wheel, ice rink, handicraft sale counters ... It is a place of fun, shopping and relaxation. The city of Lisbon also offers many free street concerts in churches and other places of worship in Lisbon, as well as songs and shows. From December 1st to January 6th, participate in the largest indoor funfair, Diverlandia, at the Nations Park. On the program: rides for young and old, and breathtaking attractions! In the same category, do not miss Circo no Coliseu, a magnificent Christmas circus at the Lisbon Coliseum, from December 1st to the 26th! To end your parties in style, take your children to see the great ice musical show Alice o Pais Maravilhas no gelo (Alice in Wonderland on Ice). Performances will take place from November 23rd, 2018 to January 6, 2019.

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Holidays in Lisbon

Holidays in Lisbon

Gourmet

How and where to taste good portuguese wines in Lisbon

5 months ago - Valérie D.

There isn’t only Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Côtes du Rhône in life! Oenophiles know it, Portugal is an excellent country of wine. The poorly known Portuguese vineyard has about thirty regions of origin. Various wine productions, of which one can discover the tannins on the tables of famous bars or Lisbon restaurants, or why not during an organized tour dedicated to the best beverages of the region. Thus gently exhilarated by the local aromas, you will perhaps not leave Lisbon without one or two good bottles found among the cellars and specialty shops of the Portuguese capital. Cheers! A rich Portuguese vineyard Portuguese crus, we know especially Porto, Vinho Verde, or Madeira. The Lusitanian vineyard however has a wide variety of reds, whites or sparkling wines that can accompany all kinds of dishes and various occasions. Lisbon itself has no less than nine denominations of origin: Bucelas, Colares and Carcavelos to the south, Alenquer, Arruda, Lourinhã, Óbidos and Torres Vedras in the center, and Encostas d'Aire to the north. The white Bucelas is for example excellent to accompany your local sardines. Visiting Sintra, you can taste the red Colares which is vinified not far, and without going too far, the wines of Estremadura are among the best whites of the country. Further south of the white city, Moscatel d'Arràbida is produced. Sweet, golden, it is ideal for an aperitif or dessert, when it is 20 or 30 years old. Grilled meats will be better matched with a good red Dâo. For tables with stronger flavors, we will favor the wines of Alentejo, Barraida or Douro, a small region of the North also well known for the famous Porto. Speaking of Porto, just know that if it is appreciated by the French at the time of the aperitif, or as a starter with a good melon, the English prefer it with their cheese, while the Portuguese drink it for their part at the end of the meal. The other star of Portuguese nectars, of course, is the Vinho Verde. If It holds its name of "green wine" of its fresh spring and early harvest (unlike the "Vinho Maduro", or "ripe wine"), make no mistake: this sparkling wine can be red as white. Finally, let's not forget the wines of the Algarve, which bloom in the sun of the wine region of Portimão. Originally from the Algarve too, Amarguinha is a very sweet bitter almond liqueur. The diversity of the Portuguese vintages does not prevent to discover the joys of the famous liquors of the country. Typically from Lisbon, the Ginjinha or Ginja is indeed an "unmissable" of the capital, it's up to you to see if you prefer this cherry alcohol with or without the cherry at the bottom of the cup. Finally, in hot weather, you can always soak your lips in the freshness of a national beer of your choice: Sagres, Super Bock, Crystal or Imperial. Appellations of Portuguese wines Note that Portuguese wines are subject to a classification that is divided into four categories: DOC (Denominação de origem controlada), IPR (Indicação de Provenção de Provençncia Regulada), VR (Vinhos Regionais, synonyms of "Vins de Pays"), and finally the Vinhos de Mesa or "Table Wines". The DOC and IPR categories comply with European legislation Q.W.P.S.R. (Quality wines produced in specified regions). The DOC appellation is the equivalent of the French AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée). These wines of very high taste and aromatic qualities, are attached to soils and meet the highest standards (grape varieties, soil characteristics, alcohol content, etc.). The DOC category counts every year new elected, among which we find the Porto, the Barraida, the Pico or Madeira among other famous bottles. The IPR classified wines (which can be translated as "Regulated Provenance Indication") wait for their DOC designation, and observed in this respect for five years in order to obtain it. So to speak, these IPRs are the casting candidates for "The New Star" of Portuguese wine. The "Vinhos Regionais", of good quality, fulfill the condition of a determined regional origin, but do not meet all the rules imposed by the DOC name. The Algarve, Alentejano, Estremadura, are part of it. Portuguese table wines can have some good surprises, but most have nothing of the quality of their neighbors under controlled appellations Good addresses to enjoy wine in Lisbon Now that we know everything about the wine heritage of Portugal, all that is left is to find good places to enjoy these good wines in Lisbon. The capital has no shortage of places dedicated to the pleasures of oenology, and lovers of good wines will find a wide choice of bistros, restaurants with good wine waiters, or beautiful cellars to visit. We have selected four places to be discover for wine lovers in Lisbon. The Old Pharmacy, for example, is a must wine bar located in the Bairro Alto district. The attentive service welcomes a large audience in its former pharmacy decor, to provide its best "therapeutic" advice ... Right in the city center, the Sommelier Lisbon restaurant is, as its name indicates, a gourmet table of choice, ideal to accompany your meal with the best bottles. Its wine list includes more than 80 selections! But the “must” to devote a moment entirely dedicated to tasting wines from all over the country, is the vaulted room of ViniPortugal, enthroned on the Praça da Commercio. For the price of a package of your choice, you can taste different wines by the glass, and discover all the variety of terroirs and vintages of Portugal. Here, we do not just toast, or even "drink a drink" in a friendly place, we explore. Wine events and thematic tastings are also offered among many activities. Then go, do not sulk our pleasure, at the turn of a paved alley, to lean on the counter of a typical ginjhana. Lisbon abounds of it, and it is easy to spot them especially in the neighborhood of Rossio, with cherry stones thrown on the sidewalk. The historic spot remains A Ginjinha Espinheira, where for the modest sum of 1.10 €, the boss will send you the delicious cherry liqueur so beloved of Lisbon (and nothing else, we are there only for that!). The Old Pharmacy: 83, R. do Diario de Notícias 73 – Lisbon Opening hours: daily from 17h30 to 00h00 Sommelier Lisbon: Rua do Telhal, 57 – Lisbon Opening hours: every day from 18:30 to 00:45 ViniPortugal Sala Ogival: Terreiro do Paco, Ala Poente – Lisbon Opening hours: from 11h to 18h30 In Ginjinha Espinheira: Largo de São Domingos, 8 – Lisbon Opening hours: daily from 9h to 22h Discover the Portuguese wine culture… and bring back home some aromas You have become an expert in Portuguese wines, you have tasted the ones you liked and now know which are your favorite. Impossible to go home without bringing back at least a good bottle, and why not, the memory of a real tour on the wine route in the region! All you need to do is get off the tram nº28 near the cathedral. Behind the new shop Cellar GN, we find the famous Garrafeira Nacional. The wine shop offers the full range of Portuguese wines, from the finest DOC table wine, from the greenest vinho to the oldest vintages. To go further in the oenological exploration of the region, why not try an organized day on the wine roads. Many tours offer for example, a private driver who picks you up to guide you a whole day between tastings in the most beautiful cellars of the region, visits in the most prestigious vineyards, and stops in charming villages. A complete sensory experience that allows you to fully enjoy the character of local wines ... with moderation, but also enjoyment! GN Cellar -  Rua da Conceição, 20/26 - Lisbonne Opening hours: everyday from 10h à 21h

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How and where to taste good portuguese wines in Lisbon

How and where to taste good portuguese wines in Lisbon

Culture & Art

Explore Lisbon aboard the mythical Tram 28

6 months ago - Valérie D.

The Lisbon trams are to the Portuguese capital what the red double-decker buses are to London: real time machines that are part of the scenery and which allow us to explore in the most picturesque ways. Line 28E is the most emblematic, offering a particularly wide range of discoveries, between monuments and hidden treasures. Born in 1914, the legendary line 28E ("E" for "eléctrico") of the Lisbon tramway serves the center of Lisbon and its hills. This hundred-year old means of transport is undoubtedly the best way to furrow the most beautiful steep streets, while sparing the tedious exercise of traversing these paved slopes on foot. If it still looks like a collector's toy, this "Remodelado" (historic tramway) has two qualities that modern trams do not have. There is of course the old-fashioned charm of this unique yellow car with polished wooden benches. But the bumpy vehicle has especially the technical possibility to take a circuit with tight turns, on steep hills. From its departure in Martim Moniz Square, until his arrival at the cemetery of Prazeres in the district of Campo Ourique, the 35 stops of line 28 can be done in a good forty minutes. But you can also choose to use it in a "hop on / hop off" style, spend the day exploring the most remarkable surroundings, and enjoy good addresses that we recommend here. Royal view from Graça Let's brush against the walls in the climb up on Graça Hill: here beats the heart of a popular Lisbon. It is in this area, a few minutes’ walk from the Rua de Graça stop, that you can access one of the most beautiful views of the city of Ulysses. Because who says hill, says point of view! Unmistakable, the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte is the highest, and certainly one of the most beautiful, lookouts of Lisbon. It offers a breathtaking view of the medieval Castelo de São Jorge, and a panoramic view of the old town until the 25th of April Bridge. The tram then passes right in front of the white monastery of São Vicente da Fora, museum and burial place of the Portuguese kings: take the time for a royal stopover. The cloister of this monastery is decorated with azulejos of the eighteenth century where the French tourist will easily recognize an illustration of 38 fables of the poet Jean de La Fontaine. Cloister which today houses the Royal Pantheon of the Braganza dynasty. It contains 44 tombs, including that of Queen Amelia (dona Amelia d'Orleans and Bragança), the last queen of Portugal, born in France. Then think of climbing to the terrace to enjoy a 360 ° view of the city called "Queen of the Tagus". Mosteiro e claustro de São Vicente da Fora – Largo de São Vicente Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm L’Alfama: postcard and cultural treasures We leave this old district of Graça to find another: the Alfama, just at your feet. The stop at Largo da Portas do Sol is a must for any stay in Lisbon. This image of Lisbon that we all have in mind is here: the red roofs, the white dome of the Pantheon, the blue of the Tagus. This is an opportunity to immerse your eyes in the soul of Lisbon from the wide terrace of the cocktail bar Portas Do Sol. In a lounge atmosphere, you can enjoy a brunch or a light meal and sip a ginja or a bica, while imagining walking narrow alleys (becos), stairs and vaulted passageways down the slopes. Portas Do Sol - Largo das Portas do Sol, Beco de Santa Helena Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 7 pm A hundred meters further, the belvedere of Santa Luzia is another must to observe the city. Our # 28 streetcar continues its journey, shaking between the fine groceries stalls and other stores, in the typical neighborhood that survived the 1755 earthquake. Hop off! Not far, we can deepen cultural immersion by visiting the space A Arte da Terra, a cooperative showcasing and selling of Portuguese crafts in a vaulted decor, and where it is possible to taste local wines and pastries. A Arte da Terra - Rua Augusto Rosa 40 Opening hours: every day from 11h to 20h Visit poets in the Chiado district A few bends and jolts later, after crossing the district of Baixa, the journey of the small but legendary yellow tram continues in Chiado. You can greet the statue of the famous Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, seated on the terrace of Café A Brasileira, which we mentioned in a previous post. The neighborhood boy, lover of coffee, was a regular at the now-century establishment. It is one of the oldest in the capital, an institution that has kept its 1900 decor, and its traditional public intellectuals (but now, many tourists). Some pasteis de nata and an espresso near his favorite table will perhaps inspire you a few verses in tribute to the beauties of Lisbon? The Chiado district is also named after the poet Antonio Ribeiro, said ... Chiado. Not surprising to find, a little further, the statue of another writer, Luis de Camoes, in the square of the same name. Popular, royal, the capital is here also literary. A Brasileira - Rua Garrett 20 Opening hours: every day from 8h to 2h An arrival under the lucky star of Estrela The journey of the tram 28 is about to end, even still before our eyes Lisbon monuments continue to flash: The National Assembly, or the funicular da Bica. It finally enters the historic district of Estrela, around its basilica of white marble in Baroque style. The Estrela Garden, just opposite, is a stop where you can stroll among the exotic trees or sit on a bench - much more relaxing than those often crowded with turbulent electrico. And since we are in the Etoile district, why not cap off your escapade with a dinner in a gourmet restaurant rewarded by the Michelin Guide? The Loco, located near the Basilica of Estrela, unveils to its customers its kitchens in a very fashionable decor. This establishment which sports a Michelin star is that of Alexandre Silva, first winner of Top Chef Portugal, who likes to value the local products. A perfect ending to end the trip so characteristic that offers the tram 28E in the heart of the various flavors of Lisbon. Loco - Rua Navegantes 53 Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 7 pm to 11 pm Last tip before going on board: remember to bring your pass Viva Viagem 24h Carris network, and to choose your schedule to avoid the crowd.

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Explore Lisbon aboard the mythical Tram 28

Explore Lisbon aboard the mythical Tram 28

Night Life

Clubs and nightclubs: where to go out in Lisbon

9 months ago - Julie D.

The nightlife in Lisbon is active and passionate. Everyone meets for dinner or to have a drink (see our addresses of the trendiest restaurants in Lisbon, the best bars and rooftops) and enjoy the long evenings once the season allows it. Like its cousin the Madrilenian movida, the Lisbon night is an important part of Portuguese culture - another "popular tradition" to enjoy, to dance until the end of the night! The night in Lisbon begins and ends late. Not that many people in the clubs before two or even three in the morning. While waiting for the dance tracks to fill up, we have plenty of time to dine, then stroll from bar to bar along the alleys of Bairro Alto, the party district. The clubs of the Portuguese capital each have their own unique atmosphere. Many have opened their doors in old warehouses in the dock area, Cais do Sodré. Everyone will find music to their taste: the latest hits on which we dance all summer, or on the contrary sets of very good DJs, going through jazz, electro or world music - even black metal: we go out at night in Lisbon according to one’s musical tastes. And nothing prohibits plundering, a night here, a night there, a "before" mainstream, an "after" more alternative. To go clubbing in Lisbon, all the excuses are good. So, let's not be sectarian - we can relate to unknown musical genres out of curiosity, because that's part of the discoveries of the trip! Queen of clubs: LuxFrágil, to see and to be seen Fat Boy Slim played here, and John Malkovich is one of the owners ... LuxFrágil is regularly in first place in the rankings of places to go clubbing in Lisbon. This huge club, on three floors, is the nec-plus-ultra: from the roof terrace overlooking the Tagus, for a breath of fresh air on hot nights, to the techno basement, lit by stroboscopes which flash to the rhythm of the music, it is the club where one goes to see and to be seen. It crosses the lisboet jet-set, but beware, whoever says exclusive says selection at the entrance. This is the opportunity to get on your 31st with your best clothing: this is where the "beautiful people" meet. The decor changes regularly, and the temptation of excess is never far: giant screens, giant armchairs, giant globes hanging from the ceiling. We go there in the wee hours, around 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. LuxFragil - Av. Infante D. Henrique, Armazem A, Cais da Pedra a Sta. Apolonia, 1950 - 376 Lisbon. African music for connoisseurs: B.Leza Since 2012 and its move to a former warehouse of the docks, B.Leza knows a beautiful rebirth. This is THE legendary club of African music, for aficionados of swaying rhythms. The happy few who master the demanding hips of the Angolan and Cape Verdean music, kizomba, semba and funaná, will come to enjoy it, especially during very popular workshops. The DJs and live music orchestras are all excellent and promise nights with communicative energy. Once a month, fado party; Sunday evening, kizomba lessons from 19h, and kizomba evening until 2am. B.Leza - Cais da Ribeira Nova, Armazem B, 1200-109 Lisbon - open from Wednesday to Sunday The big Classics: Incógnito, Ministerium They are also regularly mentioned among the best clubs, Incógnito and Ministerium are great classics on the course of clubs and nightclubs in Lisbon. Incógnito, the oldest club in Lisbon, has been opened continuously since 1988, nothing less. Alternative rock and synthpop eighties, the musical choices are indie. Inside, a mezzanine overlooks the dance floor, while above, a loft with a second bar offers a space to catch one's breath. Here too, the selection at the entrance can be a niggling thing. True to its name, the club is not named outside, so find the address and ring. Incógnito - Rua Poiais of Sao Bento 37 (Bairro Alto), 1200-346 Lisbon Ministerium, on the Praça do Comércio, owes its name to the fact that it has settled in an old building of the Ministry of Finance, and carries with glamor its 18th century architecture. But beware, Ministerium is a club only on Saturday night. During the day, its restaurant (Cantina) serves refined meals for lunch and dinner. Ministerium - Terreiro do Paço, 1100-038 Lisbon - Club on Saturday from 23h to 6h The sulfurous charm of an old brothel: Pensão Amor This club bar opened its doors in an old brothel and does not hesitate to remind it. The decor, pin-up posters, red velvet and fringes with shades, is in the theme, and at the bottom of the club, hidden from view, is even a discreet sex-shop ... In a hushed and relaxed atmosphere, we come for a drink and enjoy a varied program: concerts (jazz, solo artists), burlesque cabaret, pole dancing. Pensão Amor - Rua do Alecrim 19, 1200-292 Lisbon For the nostalgic of the 80s, two unusual addresses Interested in dancing away to tunes of the summer? For nostalgic of the New Wave of the 80s, Club Noir specializes in eighties music: indie, indietronic, synthwave, retrowave, different currents are honored every Saturday night. On Friday, however, heavy metal and hardrock. All in a surprising setting: Club Noir has invested the vaulted cellars of the former tropical club Bora-Bora, and has kept the decor a little kitsch ... Club Noir- Rua da Madalena 201, 1100 Lisbon - Fridays, Saturdays and eves of public holidays from 23h to 4h Another club that has nothing to do with mainstream music, and who cares little to be taxed as corny, Metropolis focuses on the "dark scene": post-punk, goth, darkwave and harsh elektro find their fans here. The club regularly organizes Depeche Mode or Guns'n'Roses parties, as well as Rockline Tribe and Vanguarda parties (see their events on Facebook). Metropolis Club - Av. Fontes Pereira de Melo 35, 1050 - 118 - In the 2nd basement of the Imaviz building (green building next to the Sheraton) Here is the recipe for a successful Lisbon evening: spend as much time as you like relaxing after a day of sightseeing. Once dressed to the nines, refreshed and pampered, you are ready to go out to a club or a nightclub in Lisbon. It's time to step on the stage and make a big impression: on a holiday basis, add a spoon of curiosity, a hint of heat, several fresh beers or well-mixed cocktails, a generous swig of friendly conversations and laughter with a throat, a pinch of seduction, not to mention a hint of flirtation. Mix the whole thing up to the rhythm of the music (shake shake!) On the dance floor of your choice. To finish in style, all you have to do is go home in the early morning, tired but happy, your head slightly misty, greeting the sun rising on the Tagus.

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Clubs and nightclubs: where to go out in Lisbon

Clubs and nightclubs: where to go out in Lisbon

Culture & Art

Discover Lisbon in the footsteps of José Saramago

9 months ago - Julie D.

For lovers of novels, there are few more enjoyable pleasures than to discover a real place in the footsteps of a renowned writer. Fortunately for inveterate readers, Lisbon is not only a city of culture and history, but also the soul city of several great writers. If you already know the novels of José Saramago, Nobel Prize in Literature, you will find them with pleasure, like old friends. If you have not yet had the opportunity to discover his finely ironic prose, a stay in Lisbon is the perfect moment! Prepare your next stay in Lisbon by delving into the deeply human universe of José Saramago's novels. In Lisbon, you can visit the José Saramago Foundation, or follow the tourist route Memorial do Convento that will take you to the National Palace of Mafra, in the footsteps of Balthasar and Blimunda, heros of the novel that bears their names. Lisbon seen with the heart: José Saramago, who are you? José Saramago was born in 1922 in a small village north of Lisbon, in Azinhaga, in a family of poor peasants. His family moved to Lisbon two years after his birth. He spent most of his life in Lisbon, until his exile in Lanzarote in 1992, after a controversy that opposed the Portuguese government at the time. Pure Lisbon, Saramago loved this city which he knew every nook and cranny intimately. But he always remained attached to Azinhaga, the village of his childhood and the village of his grandparents. In his speech for the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1998, he tells how his grandparents gave him the taste of imagination, the love of nature, and an inexhaustible curiosity for Portuguese folklore. In one of his most recent books, The Notebook, which includes many texts that the writer first published on his blog, he wrote a real love letter in Lisbon: "I would be interested, not only to know, but also to see, in the true sense of the word, how Lisbon has changed since those days. If the cinema had existed then, if the ancient chroniclers had been cameramen, if the thousand and one changes that Lisbon has known throughout the centuries had been recorded, then we could have seen this Lisbon of eight centuries grow and move like a to be alive, like those flowers that the television shows us, which open in a few seconds, from the still closed button to the final splendor of shapes and colors. I think I would have liked this Lisbon more than anything.” (The Notebook, published by Cherche-Midi, Marie Hautbergue translation) As a child, he knows poverty: Every spring his mother would bring the table covers of the family to the pawnshop, in order to recover some money, and hoping to be able to buy them at the beginning of the winter ... Because of these difficulties, and although he is an excellent student, his parents cannot enroll him in college, private. He did technical studies before working as a mechanic. Saramago is already an avid reader, even though he is too poor to own his own books. At age 19, and with a loan from a friend, he bought his first books. Saramago also becomes a translator and a journalist. A prolific writer, he published numerous articles, poetry collections and several novels, before finally becoming famous at 60, with the publication of his novel Memorial do Convento. He died in 2010 and his ashes are buried in the shade of a century-old olive tree, in front of Casa dos Bicos, which houses the José Saramago Foundation. La Casa dos Bicos – Fondation José Saramago The very pretty Casa dos Bicos, literally "house of spikes", is a very interesting example of Portuguese architecture of the 16th century. Built in 1532 for Bras of Albuquerque, the son of the viceroy of the Portuguese Indies, it is decorated on its facade with sharp stones. Bras of Albuquerque, who oversaw its construction, was most likely inspired by examples from the Italian Renaissance, such as the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara. Casa dos Bicos suffered enormous damage during the earthquake of 1755. Its two upper floors were only rebuilt in 1983, respecting the original appearance of the house, with its double-pointed windows. Since 2012, the Casa has hosted the José Saramago Foundation, with a permanent exhibition dedicated to the life and work of the Nobel Prize winner for literature. The exhibition gathers personal effects and manuscripts of the author and recreates his workplace. Casa dos Bicos – Fondation José Saramago – Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, 10, 1100-135 Lisbonne – opening hours: from Monday to Saturday 10h à 18h In the footsteps of Saramago, from Lisbon to Mafra: la Rota Memorial Do Convento Recently inaugurated, the brand new cultural route "Memorial do Convento" offers the opportunity for a pleasant excursion, on the real sites that inspired José Saramago for his novel. The route starts in Lisbon, Praça da Figueira, goes through Casa do Bicos, continues to Sacavem, where visitors will discover an information center on the cultural route to the municipal library Ary dos Santos. We then arrive in Loures, to discover several sites of the city. The route ends at Mafra, and of course includes the National Palace, which serves as a backdrop to the novel. This cultural tour, which has just been inaugurated, will include a website and an app. Baltasar and Blimunda is the novel that serves as a guide for this journey. It transports us to the 18th century, during the construction of the Mafra Palace. The novel tells of the loves of Balthasar, a one-handed worker involved in the construction of the palace, and Blimunda, a young woman with a singular gift of clairvoyance. They participate in the development of a magic flying machine, but the Inquisition does not see all of this with a very good eye... The national palace of Mafra The literary route ends at the National Palace of Mafra, 40km from Lisbon, in the province of Arrabida. To celebrate the birth of an heir, John V of Portugal honored his promise to build a Franciscan monastery. Originally, it was to be a simple and austere monastery to accommodate 13 Franciscan monks who took a vow of poverty. But two years after the beginning of the project, John V changes his mind: the cases of the Crown are full thanks to the gold coming from Brazil, Portuguese colony, and John V decides to build, not a humble monastery, but a sumptuous palace that will serve as a second home and hunting lodge for the royal family. Four acres, 1200 rooms, 156 stairs and 29 courtyards, the least we can say is that John V refused nothing! The palace, built entirely of marble and stone from the region, is richly decorated with sculptures and paintings commissioned by the greatest Italian masters of the time. Today, we appreciate the vast library of 36,000 volumes, the 6 organs of the basilica and the sumptuous decoration of this palace, a masterpiece of the Baroque, which could well deserve the name of Portuguese Versailles ... what would the heroes of Saramago have said, who died before the palace was finished!

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Discover Lisbon in the footsteps of José Saramago

Discover Lisbon in the footsteps of José Saramago