Paseo de la Reforma "The Champs Elysées
of México City"
avenue, which is the most elegant of the arterial streets in the
capital city, goes through the city center connecting Chapultepec
Park to the residential neighborhood of Lomas.
The Paseo is named after the Movement of Reform led, in the nineteenth
century , by the Great patriot, President Benito
Juárez. And there is some irony in this denomination
since the avenue was built on the orders of Emperor
Maximilian who fought against Juárez
and almost beat him.
During his brief reign, Maximilian
stayed at Chapultepec castle. Built at the end of the Spanish domination,
the edifice was never really used before the accession of Mexico
to Independence, when it became the location of the Military Academy.
Going back to the avenue : Maximilian
asked French architects to design a road worthy of the Imperial
Majesty connecting his residence in Chapultepec to the offices of
the National Palace. It was first called Paseo de los Hombres
Ilustres. Each State of the Mexican Union was asked to erect,
in various places under the trees, the statue of his most glorious
The traffic circles of the Paseo, the glorietas, have been
under the invocation of the most disparate personages : Diana Cazadora,
Roman goddess of the hunt, work of Vicente Mendiola, bronze-hewn
by the sculptor Juan Francisco Olaguibel, and El Angel
(the Angel), a graceful winged bright bronze figure on the top of
the Corinthian column (36,5m or 120 feet) of the Monumento a
la Independencia. This monument was erected in 1910 to commemorate
the heroes of the war of Independence. The avenue is lined with
towers and luxurious buildings, among them the hotels Sheraton and
Maria Isabel and the American Embassy ; further north, the statue
of Cuauhtémoc, the last Emperor of the Aztecs, dressed as
a warrior, marks the crossing of the Paseo with the Avenida Insurgentes.
The base is adorned with low reliefs telling his capture and torture
by the conquistadores. It is, in many ways, one of the
most interesting monuments of the city. Above all, it is the only
one truly Mexican; this authenticity is quite important judging
by the monument at the following crossing : the Monumento a
Cristóbal Colón, big symbol of the evangelization
of the Americas with four months surrounding Christopher Columbus.
This elegant avenue contains superb examples of architecture, several
banks and offices, old residential zones transformed into fashionable
neighborhoods, embassies, luxury hotels, select art galleries and
spectacular monuments. In fact, Reforma is one of the longuest avenues
in Mexico City. In the northeast,
it leads to Tlatelolco and Villa de Guadalupe, whereas in the southeast,
it crosses Chapultepec, with its outstanding museums and Auditorio
Nacional, the finest auditorium in the city, and then it passes
trough the state-of-the-art architecture of Santa Fe and beyond
that, it makes its way through the leafy vegetation of Desierto
de los Leones, in Cuajimalpa.
north of the Paseo, at this crossing, the Avenida Juárez
changes its name to Ejido and leads to the Monumento a
la Revolución. This imposing structure erected at
the beginning of the twentieth century by Porfirio
Díaz was used as a meeting room for the deputies and
senators but the revolution ended the delusion of grandeur of the
President. A few years after being abandoned, the imposing dome
was dedicated to the Revolution and were laid down, inside its pillar,
the graves of the presidents Venustiano
Carranza and Francisco Madero, finally reconciled as well as
the heroes of independence like Pancho
Villa or Lázaro Cárdenas. Go to the museum of
the Revolution close to the monumento a la Revolución
open Tue-Sat 9AM-5PM, sunday to 3PM, $6 but free on sunday.
In front, the Fronton Mexico, big arena in the Arts deco style,
is the Mecca of the jai alai (kind of Basque sport proper to Mexico).
A few blocks north, the Museo de San Carlos, set in the old palace
Buenavista, hosted for a long time the first Academy of Fine Arts
in the country. The famous painters Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco
were students there. Today, as a museum, the edifice keeps works
of very famous European painters like Le Greco, Murillo, Rubens,
Bosch, Breughel...and has also a room consecrated to the colonial
painting (open 10AM-6PM, wed-mon, $25, except sunday and public
At the crossing of the Paseo with the avenues Juárez and
Bucareli, stands the big dark tower of the seat of the National
Lottery. It is possible, on Tuesday and Friday to attend the drawing
of the winning numbers. By the side, the PEMEX tower of the petroleum
company symbolizes one of the most important sources of prosperity
of the country.
The monument of Independence shows the beginning of the famous Zona
Pink Zone "ZONA ROSA"
Nobody knows where this name comes from. However,
every big city in Latin America has its Zona Rosa, a neighborhood
with nice fashion boutiques, posh restaurants, and art galleries.
This old residential neighborhood from the time of Porfiriato became
the sophisticated center in the city. Modern high towers rub elbows
with old buildings in a not always appropriate mix but vibrant enough
to give you the desire of strolling. Walk from there to the Angel,
the statue of liberty on the avenue Reforma, where is held every
year official commemorations and sometimes popular events. Serviced
by the metro station Insurgentes, the neighborhood is often visited
by foreigners because of the banks and Embassies that are there.
The Pink Zone still possesses a special charm; boutiques, restaurants,
bars and discotheques reflect the presence of all the social groups
that congregate there, whose common denominator is their quest for
"la vie en rose". Other places of interest include the
"Fuente de la Diana", the "Iglesia del Santo Niño",
the "Arcos del Acueducto", the "Glorieta de Insurgentes",
the "Wax Museum", the "Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón",
the University Club, the "Monumento a Cuauhtémoc"
and the "Casa-Museo Carranza".
South of Zona Rosa, there are two busy neighborhoods, the Condesa
and the Colonia Roma. The first one has restaurants, cafés
and trendy clubs, often set in renovated art deco edifices, which
gives a chic touch. It is one of the most fashionable parts of the
city. Art deco achieved its greatest expression in Latin America
here during the first half of the 20th century, through original
buildings and public parks. Colonia Condesa dates back to the 1920s
and 1930s, when several buildings began to be constructed on an
area once occupied by the Countess of Miravalle's Hippodrome. The
Condesa has several gardens and green areas, such as Park
"Mexico", the heart of this neighborhood, with its attractive
fountains, small lake with ducks, and ponds.
In the Park « Mexico », one of the rare open spaces
in the city, you’ll find art galleries cultural centers and
bookstores. A large, art deco style open-air theater completes the
scene, reflecting the influence of this artistic trend on the area.
Another striking aspect of the neighborhood are its colorful roundabouts,
all with art deco style fountains, like those in Plaza Iztacciuatl
or Glorieta Popocatepetl. In recent years, The Condesa has experienced
a revival. Nowadays you can enjoy its open-air terraces, where office
workers, artists, students and designers meet for coffe or meal.
This is what gives it is bohemian, intellectual feel, rather like
that of New York's Soho or the Quartier Latin in Paris.
The Colonia Roma is a neighborhood with nice homes built in the
beginning of the twentieth century. Its has an important cultural
centers, such as la Casa Lamm and la Casa del Poeta, as well as
visually attractive places, such as Plaza Madrid, Fuente de la Cibeles,
and Plaza Río de Janeiro, in the vicinity of which there
are superb restaurants with a wide range of dishes.
City map :
|No comment has been yet posted on this page.|