There is no other city on the continent where so many amazing French-style mansions coexist, which in the early twentieth century built the idea of Buenos Aires as the Paris of South America
Opposite Plaza San Martin (in the neighborhood of Retiro), you will find several impressive buildings. The main offices of the Argentine Military Circle or Palacio Paz is located over there: a mansion that was opened in 1912 as a family house. Located at Santa Fe Avenue 750, the French-style building occupies twelve thousand square meters; it has 35 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms. Its majesty was such that, during a visit to Buenos Aires, Georges Clemenceau (Prime Minister of France in the early 20th century), said that at least "the court of Louis XVI” would be needed to fill it. Its owner, José Camilo Paz, never got to know him because he died in 1912, just before being finished. Along with its splendid facade you find the Gallery of Honor and the Ballroom. Today, its spaces are rented for weddings or business events.
Guided tours are held from Wednesday to Saturday at 11 am and Tuesday to Friday at 3 pm. Thursdays at 3:30 pm English tours are offered. Av. Santa Fe 750, Retiro.
It is one of the few mansions open to the public because, today, there operates the Museum of Decorative Art. French facade, the palace was designed by the architect René Sergent in accordance with the directives of the Basque-Chilean diplomat Matias Errázuriz Ortúzar and his wife, Josefina Alvear. It is said that the family opened the house- in 1917- with a gala that was remembered by the high Buenos Aires society of the time. Much of the furniture which now is part of the museum display was purchased by the marriage during their stay in France at the time of the first war.
There are themed guided tours. To check days and times: www.mnad.org. Av. Libertador 1902, Palermo.
It became a five-star hotel-the Duhau-Park Hyatt-; you can know its indoor parts if you have the luck to stay in one of its luxurious rooms or, in any case, if you book for lunch or take a cocktail in its gastronomic spaces open to the public. Inspired by a French castle, the Chateau du Marais, the palace was built in the 30s by architect Leon Dourge for the Duhau family. Do not miss the terrace overlooking its splendid terraced gardens on the natural relief of the canyon.
Av. Alvear 1661, Recoleta
When in 1910, Ernesto Bosch and his wife settled in Buenos Aires after a stay in France as Argentine ambassadors, they wanted to build his residence in Palermo, an area that, at that time, was considered as the suburbs of the city. As all the honorable of the time, the Bosch was no exception and asked for a French-style palace surrounded by gardens which opened in 1918 at the corner of Libertador and Kennedy. Unfortunately, the family was disgraced in 1929 due to the global economic crisis and the property had to be sold to the United States government that currently uses as a residence for its ambassador.
Av. Libertador 3502, Palermo
The Palacio Pereda is located on the first block of Avenida Alvear, once called as “La Bella Vista”, because of its many mansions and palaces. It is part of one of the French postcards of the city: it is located around the square Carlos Pellegrini where the street Arroyo born, along with the headquarters of the Jockey Club and the ex Palacio Ortiz Basualdo (now the headquarters of the French Embassy). Inspired by the Jacquemart André de París museum, the Palacio Pereda works today as the residence of the Brazilian ambassador to Argentina. Along with the embassy in Rome, it is a favorite of Brazilians in the world.
Arroyo 1130, Retiro
In addition to ordering the construction of the Basilica del Santísimo Sacramento, Mercedes de Anchorena was built before her own palace, in 1905, on the other side of Plaza San Martin. Today, the residence is used as the Ceremonial office for the Chancery. In fact, the palace consists of three mansions united by a large courtyard, all inspired by the classic style of the belle epoque.
Guided tours are held on Thursday at 3 pm in Spanish and at 2.30 pm in English. Arenales 761, Retiro.
It was about to disappear when in the late 70th it was almost demolished for the straight line drawing of Avenida 9 de Julio, but the Palace survived thanks to protests from neighbors and the French government. But why France? Because the mansion is since 1939 the French Embassy in Argentina. Needless to clarify its obvious French architecture commissioned by the marriage of Daniel Ortiz Basualdo and Mercedes Zapiola, where stand the circular portico and the dome of the corner hovering over the Carlos Pellegrini square.
The embassy is open only once a year for a weekend in September. Cerrito 1399, Retiro.
They say this imposing residence was the wedding gift that his owner, Felix de Alzaga Unzue, gave to his wife, Elena Peña. The illustrious couple married in 1916 and moved to the newly completed mansion in 1920. They had no children, but lived there with many dogs and birds mansion. Today, it functions as part of the Four Seasons hotel and is one of the chosen by international celebrities during their stay in Buenos Aires. Located in the last section of the Avenue 9 de Julio, the palace corresponds to the Edwardian architecture and is highlighted by the use of brick on the facade. If you want to know it inside, you will have to pay out a small fortune to spend the night in one of its rooms.
Cerrito 1433, Retiro.
Impressive from outside, as of this construction is mere cover: inside there is no more than a huge tank from where it supplied water –in the early twenty- century- to the entire city. Neither Carrara marble and crystal chandeliers, here the only thing that matters is the structure of the facade: 130 thousand enameled bricks and 300 thousand pieces of pottery arrived by ship from Belgium and England. Inside, the offices of the water supplier in the nation, and the museum of water and health history work today.
Riobamba 750, Balvanera.
With a touch of art nouveau, this mansion also matches in the French lines that are repeated along Alvear Avenue. It was built in 1907 commissioned by Juan Antonio Fernandez and Rosa de Anchorena. It is notable for the huge dome of the facade, while its gardens have an exit on the other side of the block on the street Posadas. Today, it belongs to the Vatican and is home to the Apostolic Nunciature. Juan Pablo II stayed there during his two visits to Argentina.
Av. Alvear 1637, at Montevideo corner, Recoleta.
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