Photo: Filipe Paiva, “i“
Lisbon’s “A Vida Portuguesa” became a favorite of every Lisbon travel guide soon after it opened and is now a shop that no tourist misses. However, its success is also in large part due to the Lisboetas themselves who nostalgically go there looking for the authentic Portuguese products from the past and present that are difficult to find elsewhere. Its popularity inevitably would lead to the opening of a second shop, and the city of Porto was the most obvious choice. It has been reported that owner Catarina Portas took more than two years to find the perfect place in Portugal’s second city, and has finally done it in the downtown district. It just opened on the corner of Rua Galeria de Paris and Rua das Carmelitas, in a former textiles shop, on the first floor (second floor in American terms), as there is another shop on the ground level. It will soon take over the floor above that, which will make Porto’s shop bigger than Lisbon’s.
Just like in Lisbon, most of the products are straight out of the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, ranging from toothpaste to soaps, pencils, and coffee. Their retro packaging is what attracts most shoppers and make practically every product the perfect gift for those already familiar with Portuguese culture and those just curious about it.