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San Angel and Coyoacán
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
 
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SAN ANGEL

To go to San Angel, there is no close metro station. Take a pesero on Insurgentes avenue towards the south. Ask to stop at the corner of the avenida de La Paz. Walk north to cross the avenida Revolución to reach the Plaza San Jacinto or take the subway to Miguel Angel de Quevedo, then a pesero towards San Angel (ask for Plaza San Jacinto).

This old colonial village called Tenanitla before the arrival of the Spaniards is located about fifteen km from the center but is part of the city. It has conserved its full charm; its winding and paved streets contain hidden hotels. It is a very residential area in Mexico City, organized around two places : The plaza de San Jacinto and the plaza del Convento, one street farther. The old convent of Carmel, El Carme, has a delightful cloister with gorgeous domes adorned with Talavera tiles and a fountain adorned with tiles (azulejos). Inside the convent, the Museo del Carmen (open 10AM-5PM, Tue-Sun, $41, free on sunday) offers a nice collection of pictures and religious objects from colonial time as well as antiques, basement shelters the mummified remains of priests and nuns. You can admire the basin made from azulejos on the way down to the crypt.

To go to San Angel, there is not a nearby metro station. Instead take a pesero from Avenue Insurgentes towards the south. Ask to stop at the corner of the avenida de La Paz. Walk north to cross the avenida Revolución in order to reach the Plaza San Jacinto or take the subway to Miguel Angel de Quevedo, then a pesero towards San Angel (ask for Plaza San Jacinto).

On Plaza San Jacinto, there is the Casa del Risco (open 10AM-5PM, Tue-Sun, free entrance), a very nice eighteenth century house transformed into an Art Museum. Here you can witness the military past of San Angel : it is here indeed that the headquarters of the North Carolina troops were located during the Americano-Mexican war. A cultural center and a library with more than 30 000 history, international law and criminology volumes is located here. There is also a nice patio with a tiled (azulejos) fountain.

Not far from here, the Iglesia San Jacinto, built in late sixteenth century, has a Renaissance facade, adorned with wonderful sculpted wood doors.

A craft market takes place every Saturday by the Bazar del Sábado (seventeenth century building), full of traditional and contemporary art objects. You’ll find refined craft (wooden sculptures, fabrics, silver objects, dishes, etc...) divided on two floors. Over the course of time, prices have risen but it is worth due to the pleasant sights and refreshing odors (because of the restaurants in the area). It is best to go early morning in order to avoid the crowds  (Open 10AM-7PM Saturday). The Street market offers also craft (open 9AM-5PM).



San Angel also honors the memory of Diego Rivera, with the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo (open 10AM-6PM, Tue-Sun, MXN$10, 5550 1518 or 1189), on the avenue Altavista. The old workshop of the painter, decorated by Juan O'Gorman, offers a selection from the personal collection amongst other recent works with particular attention given to a nice ensemble of pre-hispanic maks). It is also here that lived the painter and his wife, Frida Kahlo. She painted in the back room of the house. Guided tours take place here Tuesday-Friday from 12pm to 4pm.
Finally, a few blocks from here, on the Avenida Revolución, the Museo Carrillo Gil (open 10AM-6PM Tue-Sun, $15) exhibits a private collection of Mexican artists' works from the last century, amongst them paintings of Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros and Clémente Orozco. It is a glass and aluminum building. If you have time, make a tour of the San Angel Inn, an old hacienda well decorated and full of charm with extravagant patios, cloisters and old salons. It also has an excellent restaurant.
Adjoining this restaurant is the Rivera workshop which you can also visit. Frida had a landing here that was linked to the workshop by a walkway and a ladder, such that only the daring would find this attractive.

You can also visit the Musée Soumaya (open 10.30am to 6.30pm, 7 days a week) it is situated west of the Capital in the Plaza Loreto shopping centre on the Rio Magdalena and the Tizapán Revolución avenues. Across the many different rooms, you can profit from seeing some of the permanent pre-Hispanic collections from colonial time. It is the Latin American museum which has the most works by Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, as well as a remarkable collection of paintings by Rufino Tamayo, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh.
The museum also has a games room where the children can play and discover what they have really learnt from the exhibition - www.museosoumaya.org; museo@museosoumaya.org.mx. See website for the times allocated to guided tours. Free entry to the Museum : 5616.3731 et 5616.3761.


  COYOACÁN

church on the plaza Santa Catarina
Until the middle of the last century, this village was one of the preferred country and leisure destinations for the wealthy. It was a glorious period, where the painter Frida Kahlo shared her life with muralist Diego Rivera. It was also an area that was frequently visited by artists and intellectuals, such as Léon Trotsky who sought refuge here at a time when he was being hunted by the Soviet Union. However, in the 1950s, it became part of the capital city. Since then, due to its colonial architecture, gardens, beautiful and small areas as well as cultural activities, Coyoacán has become one of the most charming areas within the Capital.

To go to Coyoacán, take the subway until the General Anada (or Coyoacán) station, then take a pesero towards the place Hidalgo. On the way back, take a pesero from Hidalgo plaza (it is the departure station, so the peseros are parked there) or in front of the Frida Kahlo museum (wave the driver), towards General Anada. If you take a taxi from San Angel, the cost is $40 (july 2009).

To the south of the city, 3 km (2 miles) from San Angel, you shouldn’t miss this ravishing village whose name means “the place of the coyotes” in Náhuatl. Coyoacán (metro with the same name) is part of the residential zone of Mexico City that spreads to San Angel. It was, since the origins of the Conquest, a small independent city, today incorporated in the enormity of Mexico City. The central place, lined with restaurants, bookstores and one of the best ice-cream makers in Mexico City, could remind the provincial charm of what was, in early twentieth century, the biggest city in the world. There are also cast iron benches and flowers beds.

The Zócalo is composed of two squares:  The Centenario garden with its Coyote fountain and the other is the Hidalgo plaza which is bordered by the Cortès Palace and the San Juan Bautista Church. It was in his own palace that Cortès is said to have tortured Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec Emperor, in order to make him declare the location of his hidden treasure.
In the center of the city, the Plaza Hidalgo, shadowed by the trees of the Centenario Garden, is especially busy on weekends, with itinerant musicians, vendors, booths, tourists, etc... There are painters selling their works for reasonable prices. There are plenty of people on the café patios allowing people to forget that Coyoacán is in fact a quiet neighbourhood located far from the rabble of the capital city. In the Hidalgo plaza, the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares (open 10AM-6PM-Tue/Thu and 10AM-8PM-Fri/Sun, free entrance) reveals the cultural development of several regions within Mexico.

Its goal is to exhibit and diffuse the cultural and popular manifestations of the Mexican people, its rituals still vivacious (like the rituals of the Day of the Dead), its traditions and both past and present myths. It is also a cultural center with an auditorium. On the two patios, they hold popular music concerts and theatre plays. Guided tours are offered in several languages.

At the end of the place, you could visit the church San-Juan Bautista,which was built in the sixteenth century by the Dominicans. The municipal Palace (palacio de Cortés), a gorgeous small colonial building, has been built under the authority of Hernán Cortés. It houses a Tourist Office as well as the Townhall.


     Right picture: church on the plaza Santa Catarina

Close to the main place of Coyoacán, you will find the Museo Frida Kahlo (# 247 Street Londres–open 10AM-5:30PM Tue-Sun, MXN$55, audio guide MXN35) which is well worth a visit. This great painter, heroine of the Mexican feminists, lived here from 1929 to 1954 with her husband, Diego Rivera. She painted from a young age and also throughout her recovery after a terrible accident on the tramway. Frida Kahlo remained paralyzed and had to undergo several surgeries.

museum Frida KahloHowever, her handicap seems to have sharpened her taste for freedom and exuberance. One year after the death of his wife in 1955, Rivera gave the house to the Mexican people without changing anything. Frida was underestimated while living but became a popular heroine after her death. The museum displays personal objects, furniture, and an extraordinary collection of pre-Hispanic coins from western and southern Mexican civilizations as well as a collection of paintings from Clémente Orozco, José Maria Velasco and Paul Klee amongst others.

The exhibitions of a selection of items found hidden in the two secret bathrooms were opened in 2007, 50 years after the death of Rivera (1957).

Left picture: Museum Frida Kahlo  

 



Possibilities of guided tours for $350.

Visit also the garden. Small cafetaria, boutique selling souvenirs and toilets are available. (55) 5554 5999, (55) 5658 5778.

 
inside courtyard of Frida KahloBetween 1937 and 1939, bolshevist leader Léon Trotsky lived in this house. Five streets from the Frida Kahlo Museum, Rio Churubusco 410, the house where Trotsky was murdered on august, 20, 1940 is now a museum ‘Museum León Trotsky’ where his personal belongings can be seen. The museum is open from 10AM to 5PM from Tuesday to Sunday, entrance fee MXN$30.  The house had been transformed into a bunker for protection; nevertheless it was still here that he was assassinated.

In the center of the city, the Plaza Hidalgo, shadowed by the trees of the Jardin de Centenario, is especially busy on weekends, with itinerant musicians, vendors, booths, tourists, etc... There are painters selling their works at reasonable prices. There are plenty of people on the café patios making you forgetting that Coyoacán is in fact a quiet neighbor where it is nice to live far from the rabble of the capital city. Still on the place Hidalgo, the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares (open 10AM-6PM-Tue/Thu and 10AM-8PM-Fri/Sun, free entrance) explains the cultural development of several regions of Mexico.

 

     Right picture : inside courtyard of Frida Kahlo

 


     

inside courtyard of Frida Kahlo

 

Its goal is to exhibit and diffuse the cultural and popular manifestations of the Mexican people, its rituals still vivacious (like the rituals of the Day of the Dead), its traditions and past and present myths. It is also a cultural center with an auditorium. On the two patios, they hold popular music concerts and theater plays. Guides tours are offered in several languages.



     Above picture : inside courtyard of Frida Kahlo

 

 

 



With the same ticket, you can visit the Museum Diego Riveira Anahuacalli, located Museo 150, San Pablo Tepetlapa -
(55) 5617 4310, (55) 5617 3797 - Open tue-sun, 10AM-6PM, guided visits 10:30AM/11:30AM/12:30PM/01:30PM/03:15PM/04:15PM/05:00*PM,
$20 but free with the ticket of Museum Frida Kahlo.

* except friday

the place of the coyotes

 

 

     Right picture : the place of the coyotes

 

 

 

 

On the neighbouring Plaza de la Conchita, stands the baroque facade of the Capilla de la Conception, one of the preferred buildings for newlyweds. A fantastic place not to be missed!


The Museo de las Intervenciones (open 9AM-6PM, $37,Tue-Sun, free entrance on sunday), which occupies a part of the old convent of Churubusco, east of Coyoacán, retraces the history of some of the interventions of the foreign armies in Mexico, especially the French and American ones (museum situated outside of the town center). Also visit the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, avenue Hidalgo number 289, free entrance, open Tuesday-Thursday 10am to 8pm, museum focused on Mexican traditions.


Tourist Information 56 58 02 21.

There is the possibility of visiting the village by tram between 10am and 8.30pm for a fee of $45 (subject to change). Information : Calle Carrillo Puerto opposite the San Juan Bautista church (5659 7198 / 5658 4027), www.tranviadecoyoacan.com.mx.
Consult the monthly review for all cultural activities within Coyoacán (Guía cultural de Coyoacán).
This area is full of restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlours.

In choosing between San Angel and Coyoacán, Coyoacán is preferable as it is less touristic. All maps of the capital also show a map of San Angel and Coyoacán.



City map :




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