In Barcelona, like Rome and Paris, the antique façades of the shops and cafés are just as easy on the eye as the goodies inside. These are some of my favourites that I’ve spotted over the last 10 days. They’re in El Born and the Barri Gotic, but you’ll find beautiful antique shop fronts all over the city, in Eixample and Gracia too.

La Colmena

a pastisseria, bomboneria, and pasteleria, as the retro green sign on the shop says, this pastry shop dating to 1928 has mouthwatering displays of fresh and packaged chocolate (see the first pic above), but I love the simple marble façade with wooden trim and the sweet curtains.

Subira Cereria

although this candle shop has been here since 1847, the business was actually founded in 1761, making it one of Barcelona’s oldest. The pastel-coloured neo-classical interior with its lovely staircase and black and white titled floor is original, and the enormous windows are just wonderful.

Sombrereria Obach

This handsome hat shop, opened in 1924, has an elegant marble and glass façade with gorgeous gold lettering on the signage and window. The interior is elegant too — as are the beautifully made hats!

Ganiveteria Roca

One of the city’s smartest shop fronts, with an equally elegant interior with rows of pretty illuminated display cases, it was opened in 1911 by Ramon Roca, as a knife sales and repair shop. The store now boasts every conceivable set of scissors and knives, including the superb German Solingen knives that are advertised on the shop front, as well as beautiful shaving brushes, toiletry kits, cutlery, bottle openers, cork screws and so one.

Café de L’Opera

It’s a Viennese style café, not a shop, and sadly it’s a very touristy one at that, with laminated pictorial menus in the windows. Under the same ownership since 1928, the café has never closed, not even during the Spanish civil war! Restored a few years ago, it has a modernist interior with original mirrors and chandeliers and gorgeous signage.

Pastisseria Escriba

Restored in 1902, this pastry and chocolate shop owned by the Escriba family of celebrated pastry chefs, features a charming decorative ceiling and display shelves, but I think the colourful mosaic tiled exterior is very pretty.

La Campana

This is the nougat (torrons) specialist I mentioned in my post on Barcelona Take-Homes the other day. Once again, I love the elegant antique green and gold signage. The store opened in 1890 although it was renovated in 1922 and the décor apparently hasn’t changed since — the heavy doors creak with history!

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