The opening up of the Plaça Reial, around 1860, on land formerly occupied by a Capuchin monastery, brought the centre of Barcelona to the Rambla. The elegant architecture of the new square, with its unmistakably Napoleonic air, soon attracted the city’s wealthy families and smartest restaurants.
Over the years the city centre has shifted many times, but Plaça Reial has always retained a special cachet: an open space in the narrow streets of the old city, with popular restaurants, bars and clubs.
The fountain of the Three Graces, designed by architect Antoni Rovira i Trias (in charge of implementing the Cerdà Plan for Barcelona’s Eixample new town), the streetlights by Antoni Gaudí and the towering palm trees give the square a fascinating timelessness.
But time passes, and season by season artists, bohemians, travellers and chance visitors give the square a contemporary feel. Plaça Reial is peerless, an indispensable meeting place.