Modernist getaway in Faro, Portugal

Modernist getaway in Faro, Portugal

The capital of the Algarve, the cradle of Portuguese Modernism, hosts the Modernist Weekend from November 9 to 12. The opportunity to wander through the quiet streets of the city bordered by the Ria Formosa, in search of hitherto unknown architectural heritage.

Only seven kilometers separate Faro International Airport from the white facades of the historic core. For many travellers, the Algarve capital is above all a gateway to the beaches and fishing villages on the coast. A stop, at most, like the storks that nest in the spring on its bell towers. But in its cobblestone streets, Faro blurs the lines: just a few steps from Arco da Vila and its neoclassical curves, concrete columns rise to the blue sky. On the sides of the buildings are sections of azulejos with graphic patterns. Mosaic of circles, squares and triangles. On the horizontal facades, ribbon windows, geometric privacy screens, and sculptural canopies.

Because sunny Faro is home to one of the largest concentrations of modern architecture in southern Europe. You can best discover this heritage of glass and concrete on foot with your nose in the air. The urban walk stops in front of the gate of Casa Gajo, a villa partially renovated in 1955: a jewel of simplicity with rectangular openings and columns, located in the heart of the “modernist axis” that the city created to preserve, little by little, this heritage. A bit of California air floats on the concrete canopy surrounded by palm trees. The house is one of the first works of architect Manuel Gomez da Costa: this admirer of Oscar Niemeyer, the founding father of Portuguese modernism, left his signature on some 300 buildings here.

The majestic Avenida 5 Outubro slides into the shore. Modernist

On the semicircle of flowering jacaranda trees on Berlim Street, he and his heirs still design the row of villas with right angles, cubic balconies and cream-coloured walls. Below, on the imposing Avenida 5 Outubro, the facades display very South American influences, with flat roofs, concrete columns, openwork partitions and pastel shades. The artery slides ashore. There, numerous taxi boats wait, transporting tourists and locals to the beach, across the Ria Formosa islands. On the descent, Avenida Nacente is in turn dotted with a few villas with clean lines, spread between the lagoon and the ocean.


Trip to Faro

Faro experiences winter and summer, and is not a mass seaside resort. Subbotniki / Malaysia – Stock.adobe.com

going to

By direct flight from Paris Orly, Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Lille or Nantes with Transavia (Transavia.com) and TAP Air Portugal (Flytap.com). Approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes flight, round trip, starting at €150.

inquire

From the Portuguese Tourist Office (Visitportugal.com) and the Algarve Tourist Office (Visitalgarve.pt).

Or sleep?

One of six minimalist apartments at The Modernist. Modernist

You can stay in one of six simple apartments Modernist (Themodernist.pt), renovated building covered with geometric tiles. Night starting from €120, minimum two nights. Or for Setting up a lemon tree (Lemontree.pt), a guest house run by a young architect around a charming courtyard. Night from 98 euros.

sitting

Che the crazy ones (Loslocos.eatbu.com), where energetic chef Josefina Cardeza practices the science of local cuisine, costs 40 euros.

explore Modernist heritage

Themodernist Weekend (Themodernistweekend.com): Four days of meetings, guided walks and open houses for the architects’ homes. From 9 to 12 November by reservation. And the exhibition Modernist explorationsTo discover the details of the city, photographed by photographer Michel Viguet. From 9 to 26 November, at Fábrica da Cerveja.

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