For a break from Bairro Alto take a trip to the salubrious neighbourhood of Príncipe Real. The shops along Rua Dom Pedro V sell specialist Portuguese products and new businesses are quick to move in. There's also a park that's home to a farmer's market.
Given its name, Lisbon's Príncipe Real neighbourhood - "Prince Royal" in English - enjoys a privileged position. Located up the hill from Bairro Alto and the bar-hopping crowds, the district is home to leafy squares and elegant residences, many offering panoramas of the city and the Tagus river. There are many independent retailers and particularly attractive are the shops on Rua Dom Pedro V, a street on the quarter's eastern fringe punctuated by colourful townhouses in crimson and pale yellow.
Named after a 19th century Portuguese king, the 300m stretch of pavement boasts antique shops, a gourmet grocer, family pharmacist and a rather unconventional pub. Relatively flat (a godsend in a city of steep inclines), the street is run by shopkeepers who share a strong sense of community - they even throw the odd block party. "It's the most cosmopolitan place in the city," says Marcela Brunken, a Brazilian who runs Fabrico Infinito, a boutique with a garden café. "Before there were just antiques but increasingly the street is adding variety."
New arrivals this year include a Spanish retailer selling niche womenswear labels and a chef from Sarajevo who opened an upscale restaurant just off the strip. There are also rumors of a tea salon coming soon. Proprietors are mindful to keep their slice of sidewalk shipshape. "It just feels very neighbourly," says florist Maurício Fernandes of Em Nome da Rosa. "I love the older buildings and the gardens."
Heading west, Rua Dom Pedro V flows into Príncipe REal square and the picturesque park of the same name. Laid out in the 1860s to replace a rubbish heap, it is now an urban refuge where pensioners play cards and couples relax in the shade. Kiosks sell refreshments and newspapers, and the garden café has wi-fi. There is a weekly farmers' market and below ground visitors will discover a 19th century stone reservoir, now a museum, that is sometimes rented out for private functions.
in MONOCLE, Junho 2009
FOTO: Cobertura do Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha, Praça do Príncipe Real