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  13. Casa Milà, popularly known...

Casa Milà, locally known as La Pedrera or "The stone quarry", a reference to its unconventional rough-hewn appearance, is a modernist building designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. It was the last private residence he designed.

When we arrived at Gaudí’s, Casa Milà, popularly known as ‘La Pedrera’ (the stone quarry), the lines were long, and it was expensive to get in – so we hummed and ahhed for a while about going in, but we eventually decided to go for it. And boy we were not disappointed.

The building was commissioned in 1906 by businessman Pere Milà and his wife Roser Segimon. At the time, it was controversial because of its undulating stone facade, twisting wrought-iron balconies and windows designed by Josep Maria Jujol. Several structural innovations include a self-supporting stone front, columns and floors free of load-bearing walls, an underground garage and the most amazing rooftop sculptures.

In 1984, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is still a working building and is occupied by several businesses, but areas – including the roof – are open to the public.

The tour itself is self-guided, which in my opinion is a perfect way to do a tour because you can do them at your own pace – also at heart, I am an introvert and like to avoid any unnecessary interaction with people. Karen prefers the tours with a real guide because you can ask lots of questions and find out the life history of your fellow tourists.

We started on the ground floor in one of the central atriums which Gaudí designed to allow each room in the building to have light from both sides, so they were bright and airy inside. The design work was stunning and is all curves and there is not a straight edge to be seen! The next stop is the roof, which we reached by climbing stairs … our exercise for the day. Fortunately, it was just a five-storey building!

Casa Mila - La Pedera from the outside
The entrance doors to Casa Mila (La Pedera)
The interior courtyard of Casa Mila
The lobby ceiling of Casa Mila
A staircase within Casa Mila

1. THE WARRIOR ROOF

The roof terrace, known as the ‘Warrior Roof’ was an amazing space, an undulating trip through the imagination of Gaudí. He believed that a roof should not be the boring space that typified buildings of the time, but was the pinnacle of the edifice and should be a continuation of the building’s grandeur. The doors to the roof were encased in twisting swirls of concrete, resembling ice cream sitting on a cone. The chimney stacks were neatly stacked and topped with a stone design resembling a knight’s helmet. There were several arches on the roof which had been used to frame distant landscapes and sights of Barcelona, including Gaudí’s greatest work, the Sagrada Familia.

Casa Milà, roof terrace
The roof terrace at Casa Milà, popularly known as ‘La Pedrera’ in Barcelona is one of Antoni Gaudí's iconic works
Ornate chimneys
Even the entrances to the roof are ornate
Sagrada Familia in the distance.

2. THE WHALE ATTIC

Located one floor below the roof is the Espai Gaudí, one of the most distinctive spaces designed by Gaudí; the attic of the La Pedrera. It consists of 270 catenary arches made of flat brick and houses the only exhibition dedicated to Gaudí’s life and work. It showcases the architect’s creations through models, plans, objects, designs, photographs and videos. Gaudí was not just a creative force he also was an amazing structural engineer, which was cleverly demonstrated throughout this exhibition. He took every detail into account including the interior design, often creating custom furniture and door furniture. There were amazing examples of the furniture he designed, but he also went to fantastic detail in creating ergonomic handles for doors and cabinets.

This attic used to be where servants worked as the laundry areas, and today is home to Gaudi’s exhibition.

The arched structure of the attic which resemble whale bones
A scale model of Casa Mila
Gaudi also designed furniture
A Gaudi designed dining chair
A Gaudi love seat

3. TENANTS APARTMENT

The next space we visited on the tour was a La Pedrera period apartment; a recreation of an early-20th-century bourgeois family apartment, providing an insight into the way they lived, complete with period furniture, household equipment and decorative elements designed by Gaudí.

A small bedroom inside the 'Tenant's Apartment'
The childrens playroom
Maids room
A bathroom
The curved exterior
An ornate balcony

The tour ended back on the ground floor. This is where the Milá family lived, in a huge apartment occupying the whole of the space. They donated the space to house temporary art exhibitions. The current exhibition was made up of large modern art installations – and as open-minded, as I try to be I couldn’t fathom what was going on! For me, the experience was saved by the final exhibit which was a display of the designs of contemporary architects. A fitting end to the Gaudí – la Perdera experience! We were so glad we decided to take this tour. Truly amazing!.

About Casa Milà

Address:Passeig de Gràcia, 92,  08008 Barcelona
Website:https://www.lapedrera.com/en
Telephone:T: +34 932 142 576
Hours:
Monday to Sunday, and holidays: 9:00 am – 6:30 pm
Night tour: 08:40 pm – 10:00 pm
Entry Fees
Adult €24, Senior (65+)/Student/Person with a disability €18.50, Child (7-12) €12, Child (0-6) Free

Getting to Casa Milà

You can reach Casa Milà by metro, bus, Hop on Hop off bus and train : By Metro Casa Mila is accessible via lines L3 and L5 Line 3 and 5. The nearest stops are in order of proximity: Diagonal, Passeig de Gràcia and Girona. By Bus: V15, V17, H10, H8, 7, 22, 24, 6, 33, 34

Best time to visit Barcelona

The best time to visit the Barcelona is from May to June when balmy temperatures in the low to mid-70s mesh with a flurry of festivals that trumpet the advent of summer. The actual summertime is sticky with humidity – locals leave their beloved city in droves to catch a breeze somewhere else. They come back for the fall when the average highs drop back into the 70s. Winter is mild compared to other Spanish destinations, with highs in the high 50s. And while coming during the spring may seem like smart idea for avoiding crowds, April sees frequent showers, which may put a literal damper on sightseeing plans (most of Barcelona’s top attractions are experienced outside). Keep in mind that no matter what time of the year you’ll visit, there will be tourist crowds: Barcelona is the most-visited city in Spain.

Where to stay in Barcelona

1. MH APARTMENTS

We have stayed at with MH Apartments twice when visiting Barcelona.

The apartments work well for us when we travelled as a family and as a couple. The apartments were spacious and well equipped. We like to eat some of our meals in when we travel so having a full kitchen is very handy.

The checking in procedurehas been easy both times we stayed. If you travel by car then parking might be a challenge. It is likely you’ll have to find street parking (not easy) or a close by car park.

2. LIVE AND DREAM

Live & Dream features a minimalist white design throughout with bursts of color in bedding and furniture. This stylish guest house offers free Wi-Fi and internet connection throughout.

Sants Station is 8 minutes’ walk away and from here you can get the highspeed AVE Train or the train to the airport. Located 650 feet away, Plaça de Sants Metro Station offers direct access to the Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and the Ramblas.

The rooms at Live & Dream come with air conditioning.

3. BARCELONA CENTRAL GARDEN HOSTEL

BCG is an attractive middle sized hostel located just 3 blocks away from Plaça de Catalunya. It is a safe, friendly, clean and relaxing home away from home for genuine travelers and families. It is the perfect place to enjoy the city, with opportunity to meet new people and feel truly at home. This is not a party hostel’.

There is a comfortable lounge and kitchen area that faces onto a beautiful outdoor garden terrace.

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