The Palau de la Música is an awe-inspiring Modernist building, designed by Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner and built from 1905 to 1908. Catalan Art Nouveau is something special and the Palau is a glittering example. It reaches such architectural heights that UNESCO has deemed it a World Heritage Site. Its metal and glass shell was designed to make the best of Barcelona’s generous quota of glorious sunlight. Add the world-class music recitals that go on inside it and the Palau satisfies many of the senses... particularly if you complete the experience with the lovely café and restaurant venues inside.
The orchestra that performed Pictures at an Exhibition by Moussorgsky at Palau de la Música
The Concert Auditorium is the most important venue of its type in Cataluña, and it regularly stages world premieres. When entering, aside from the heavenly skylight, you will be struck by the organ, a bust of Anselm Clavé, another of Beethoven, and a plethora of decorative motifs: palms, fruit, flowers and jewels. The Palau is also home to the Petit Palau, a modern auditorium opened in 2004, ideal for chamber music and smaller-scale concerts. Then there is the ‘Sala d'Assaig de l'Orfeó Català’ which the Orfeó Català choir use as their official rehearsal venue. Visual treats in this space include robust columns, stained glass and period decoration.
Finally, the ‘Sala Lluís Millet’ is a meeting hall inside the Palau, named after the founder of the Orfeó Català, Lluís Millet i Pagès. The hall’s stained-glass windows decorated with floral designs are striking. Then there is the balcony and its double colonnade.
Part of the stained glass in the main hall
Breakfast at the Palace
The foyer of the Palau, in its green-glazed ceramic glory, is a lovely venue in its own right. It has been converted into a spacious café-restaurant whose culinary highlight is definitely breakfast. The ‘Express breakfast,’ served from 9am to 11am, is a beautiful start to either a visit in the Palau itself or other city-wide engagements. If you’re coming for a concert, reserve ahead and enjoy a glass of wine and a snack: pastas, Caesar salads and burgers dominate.
Parasols and peace
The Palau claims that its modern gastronomic restaurant on the ground floor lays claim to being one of the few places in Barcelona where you can enjoy fine food in peace and quiet. Possibly an exaggeration but it’s certainly very pleasant with its parasols and open air. Then, you have The Mirador Restaurant, located at the top of the Plaza del Palau and overlooking the Art Nouveau façade by Domènech i Montaner. It offers a menu of lunch and dinner weekdays (starter, main course and dessert), a tasting menu and a menu with a selection of seasonal cuisine.