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Monday, September 26th, 2011

Ensanche Life

Mercado Colon - ValenciaA luxury district overflowing with great restaurants, beautiful architecture and stylish shops

Whilst most visitors head to Carmen and the city centre for their shopping fix, or for a meal in one of the central restaurants, well-to-do Valencianos know better than to fall into this tourist trap and head further towards the south-east of the centre to sample and explore some of the city’s finest boutiques and top-rated restaurants in Ensanche. This under-rated and rather over-looked area of Valencia is a beautiful district just below Calle Colón and envelopes the three areas: Ruzafa, El Pla del Remei, and Gran Vía.

This blog series will take a look at the area’s history, architecture, best shops and restaurants, as well as its clubbing scene and annual events – all of which make Ensanche one of the most booming and exciting corners of today’s Valencia.

After the old city walls were demolished 1865, Ensanche was pretty much built from scratch and is therefore brimming with beautiful stately buildings from the late 19th century and early 20th. This grand architecture is complimented by grand avenues lined with Mediterranean plants, such as Gran Via Marqués del Turia and Avenida Antiguo Reino de Valencia. Following the construction of these main road connections, a great burst of urbanisation took place in the area, attracting several prestigious companies to the district, as well as many luxury boutiques and unique bar/restaurants which now define these streets.

One of Valencia’s most exclusive shopping zones, El Pla del Remei, includes the famous Calle Colón, renowned for its department stores and string of big high street names, such as Zara and Mango. However, wander just a few steps from the crowded throngs of Colón and you will come across a plethora of fashion and design gems around the charming avenues of Calle Cirilo Amorós and Calle Jorge Juan, circling the Mercado Colón. One of these brands includes the luxury quirky design house nice things by Paloma Santaolalla, situated on Calle Sorní. The distinctive clothing company with 100% original design, ensures exclusivity and all garments are created with great attention to detail.

Other resident designers in Ensanche include the Spanish names Armand Basi, Adolfo Domínguez, Javier Simorra and Alex Vidal, all of which are found on and around Colón’s main strip. The shop of famous Valencian designer, Francis Montesinos, on Calle Conde Salvatierra, is also a must-see, overflowing with beautiful iconic pieces of international acclaim.

However, if you easily tire of traipsing around high street shops in the afternoon sun, Ensanche is also home to Valencia’s top luxury-focused shopping centre, La Galería Jorge Juan. The centre is packed with over 40 shops selling beautiful fashion items, jewellery and children’s playthings – the majority with a touch of class!

One of our favourite designers, Begoña Buqué has recently set up her latest boutique in the Galería. The Valencian-based retailer opened her new outlet, The Lab, here last year and it is now one of the most popular shops in Ensanche. The unique enterprise offers a young and trendy range of men’s, women’s and children’s fashion, as well as accessories, art and designer footwear. In addition to The Lab’s own brand, Begoña’s keen eye for fashion is evident in her exclusive choice of collections from top design houses such as Scholl, Rare, Nolita, Vintage 55 and Sundek.

So whether looking for a Zara Basic or a luxury designer watch, Ensanche provides the perfect city centre shopping experience. You will also be spoilt for choice by the multitudes of classy eateries and trendy bars in Ensanche for resting tired feet and quenching the thirst after a hard day’s shopping… stay tuned to discover a select few in Ensanche Life: The Sequel!

See properties for sale in Valencia centre and Ensanche.

photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/javicarrasco/

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