Posts About 'Lisbon in the World'

Lisbon in Paris

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Lisbon's Berardo Museum in Paris

The city with the most Portuguese people outside of Portugal is Paris. Portuguese immigration to the French capital in the early to mid-20th century has given that city two generations of Portuguese residents, with successful second-generation Franco-Portuguese now found in all sectors of French society. A more recent example was Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota who is the current director of the Theatre de la Ville, but even prominent Portuguese artists of the past found a second home in what is the world’s capital of the arts. Painters like Mario Cesariny and Vieira da Silva were greatly influenced by Paris, and lived in the city for some time. It was also through Paris that Fado diva Amalia Rodrigues or designer Fatima Lopes went on to achieve international fame. Portuguese architect and designer Miguel Câncio Martins has also worked on international projects in large part thanks to his work on Paris’ famous Buddha Bar. To celebrate and promote Portuguese culture in France today, there’s Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Foundation’s home in Paris.

Gulbenkian Paris offers a library specializing in Portuguese culture, and also hosts exhibitions and concerts. The Gulbenkian headquarters in Lisbon is also home to a world-class calendar of events from classical music to international conferences, although it is mostly famous for its museum of both Eastern and Western treasures.

Until the 22nd of February, another of Lisbon’s major cultural institutions will be present in the French capital. The Berardo Museum has lent part of its modern art collection to the Luxembourg Museum for a temporary exhibition called “From Miró to Warhol – The Berardo Collection in Paris”. It’s attracted almost half a million visitors since its opening in October, and if you are from Paris or will be there before your visit to Lisbon, it’s a must-see not just for the exhibition itself, but also as a preview of what you’ll find in Lisbon.

If you want to try the Portuguese gastronomy there, there are several Portuguese restaurants in the city, with Restaurant Saudade and Chez Dina being two easily accessible options.

(If you’re not in Paris but in New York, see our previous “Lisbon in New York” post)

The 7 Portuguese Wonders of the World

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

7 Portuguese Wonders of the WorldInspired by last year’s international vote for the New 7 Wonders of the World and also the 7 Wonders of Portugal (which were both announced in Lisbon), Portugal is now conducting a vote for the seven Portuguese wonders around the world, officially called “7 Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World.” A total of 27 nominees have been selected, and now it’s up to you to decide which ones are the seven most outstanding Portuguese constructions around the globe.

As you know, Portuguese explorers ended up in all corners of the planet, building forts, churches, and palaces along the way. Among the 27 nominees are constructions in Ethiopia, Kenya, Bahrain, Iran, and Malaysia, all places where the Portuguese made the first European contacts, but whose associations are usually forgotten.

Then there are the landmarks in Portugal’s most important colonies, from Goa’s iconic basilica in India, to the São Bento Monastery in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, to São Paulo Cathedral in now China’s Macao.

To vote for your favorite check the following website (you’ll have to decipher what it says, as it’s only available in Portuguese): www.7maravilhas.sapo.pt

For the final results, check here on June 10th, 2009 when the seven winners will be announced. That’s a very appropriate date, as it’s the national Portugal Day holiday which also commemorates Luis de Camões, the country’s most celebrated poet who glorified Portugal’s conquests around the globe.
Portuguese communities around the world are also remembered on this date, with many of them throwing major celebrations. A big one is around the Portuguese communities in New Jersey in the United States, with New York’s Empire State Building across the Hudson River lit up in the colors of the Portuguese flag on that day, looking like yet another Portuguese wonder.

For an overview of Portugal’s Age of Discovery, click here.

Is the World’s Best Chocolate Cake in Lisbon?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Mundo, Lisbon There’s a pastry shop in Lisbon that sells such a special chocolate cake, that it’s pretentious enough to declare itself the best in the world. As to make it official, the name of the shop is “O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Mundo” (“The World’s Best Chocolate Cake”).

Yes, it’s good, it’s sweet, it’s chocolaty, it’s yummy, it’s addictive — but best in the world? The audacity of the name sure does work in peaking anyone’s curiosity to go there to try it. If you’re a chocaholic, you’ll probably want to do just that when you’re in Lisbon. It’s located away from the beaten tourist path, but it’s easy to reach if you step off tram 28 at its final stop in the neighborhood of Campo de Ourique/Prazeres. Place an “X” on your map by Rua Coelho da Rocha, and it’s easy to find. The supposed best chocolate cake in the world is found on number 99.

The cake’s creators’ path to world domination is just beginning, now that someone asked to take its recipe and name outside Portugal. A new shop has opened across the Atlantic in São Paulo’s Rua Oscar Freire, the Brazilian mega-metropolis’ version of 5th Avenue, and two other shops are about to open in the same city.

In true São Paulo fashion, the South American shops are much bigger than their European counterparts.  In the Portuguese capital the shop is tiny with only a couple of tables where you can sit and allow your tastebuds to judge its supposed superlative quality. Could it really be the world’s best?

O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Mundo, Lisbon

Lisbon in New York

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Alfama, New YorkThere have been fewer posts on this blog in the past couple of weeks because I haven’t been in Lisbon. I returned to New York for a few days, but still found the Portuguese capital in several places around the Big Apple.  If you’re in that American metropolis before you cross the Atlantic to Lisbon, there are a few places to get you acquainted with Portuguese flavors and history before your trip.

Get a taste of Alfama in Greenwich Village at the appropriately named Alfama Restaurant. You’ll admire a tile panel on a wall depicting the Santa Luzia Viewpoint and the Alfama rooftops as you wait for your refined version of a traditional Portuguese dish.  If weather permits, you may also choose to sit outside, a great spot to enjoy a good Portuguese wine as you dine.  Sample the bacalhau (cod), the chouriço (sausage), the seafood, and everything else that you just may find in a real Alfama restaurant.

Earlier in the day, try some Portuguese pão (bread) at Pão! It’s a cosy, simple place on Spring St. (walking distance from all the main action in SoHo), Pão!, New York where you can order a caldo verde (perhaps the most famous of all Portuguese soups), an octopus salad, or the obligatory bacalhau dish.  There’s Portuguese wine too, and just like at “Alfama,” outdoor sitting.

Pão! is more casual while Alfama aspires towards finer dining. If you choose only one, go for Alfama. I didn’t dine at either during this last visit to New York, but I did try them when I was still living there.  If I was to introduce anyone to the flavors of Lisbon in New York, Alfama would be my choice.

Elsewhere, as you walk down Central Park West you’ll find a synagogue founded by the first Jewish settlers in North America. They were Portuguese and Spanish Jews who fled the Inquisition. Today it’s known as the “Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue” and it will be an introduction to that dark period in the history of Lisbon, when the Inquisition took place in Rossio Square.

Almost across the street you’ll find the Strawberry Fields in Central Park. That’s home to the tribute to John Lennon, made with stones creating a reproduction of an old mosaic from Pompeii, Italy but that as you’ll confirm, uses the same technique and style of Portuguese calçada, the traditional pavements you’ll step on everywhere in Lisbon.

Another connection between Lisbon and New York is the borough of Queens, named for Portugal’s Catherine of Bragança, as GoLisbon Blog told you about here.  Then there’s the fact that Lisbon is the closest European capital to Manhattan, further making you want to hop on a plane to see the real Lisbon for yourself.

 

Portuguese and Spanish Synagogue, New York