Dynamic Barcelona is all about architecture, from the magnificent medieval buildings of the Gothic Quarter to the Modernist movement typified by the work of Antoni Gaudi. Though his materials were stone and metal, his forms were organic, awash in curves, swirls, and colors. His masterpiece is the amazing Church of the Sagrada Familia, colossal and as yet unfinished, though construction began in 1882. A contemporary contribution to the scene is Ricardo Bofill's post modernist National Theater of Catalonia, an imaginative combination of classical and modern design, with a greenhouse-like lobby.
Nice, Queen of the Riviera, is imbued with the joie de vivre that epitomizes this fabled coastline. Perhaps it is that famous light and color that has long attracted artists, that makes one feel so alive, makes a stroll down the wide seaside Promenade des Anglais so exhilarating. The old town is a warren of meandering lanes edged by tall houses, and small, alluring shops. A treasure trove of archaeological and fine art museums is not to be ignored, nor is the famous flower market, awash in the heady scent and glowing hues of blossoms, and amazing displays of produce.
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