There’s not much to see in the shopping zone north of the cathedral, but a century or so ago a tavern called Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats; c/Montsió 3, wwww.4gats.com) burned brightly as the epicentre of Barcelona’s bohemian in-crowd. It was opened in 1897 as a gathering place for artists and literary types, with the building gloriously decorated in exuberant Catalan Art Nouveau style. Els Quatre Gats soon thrived as the scene of poetry readings and the venue for cultural debate, while a young Picasso designed the menu. Today, a modern restoration displays something of its former glory, with the bar-restaurant overseen by a copy of Ramon Casas’ famous wall-painting of himself and café founder Pere Romeu on a tandem bicycle (the original is in MNAC).

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