Recoleta is traditionally one of the city's wealthiest and most refined neighbourhoods, and probably what people have in mind when they describe the city as the Paris of South America. The Avenida Quintana and Avenida Alvear are lined with luxury shops, hotels, and old mansions. The city's aristocrats began moving to this area in the early 1970s after a yellow fever outbreak spread through the southern part of the city.
The free guided walking tour “Recoleta, the Paris of the South” runs every Thursday at 11am in English and 3pm in Spanish.
The landscaped squares Plaza Francia and Plaza Torquato Alvear are pleasant spaces to walk and relax - look out for the enormous “gomero centenario”, near La Biela café. The tree is older than the city itself and measures 50 metres in diameter and 25 metres in height.
There are also several important museums and cultural centres in the area. The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Fine Arts Museum) boasts one of Latin America's best art collections, including the largest collection of Argentine Art, and for a more contemporary option, the Recoleta Cultural Centre offers a changing roster of temporary exhibitions as well as shows and workshops on a site originally built by Franciscan monks, who were the first to live in this area. The nearby Basilica del Pilar is considered to be the city's second oldest church, and is well worth a look before heading nextdoor to the biggest attraction, and the next stop on our itinerary.
Tips:There's a lively crafts market in the Plaza Torquato Alvear every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm
Look for the four columns that mark the entrance to Recoleta Cemetery.