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Reus: Birthplace of Modernisme
No city matches Barcelona, of course, for the sheer density of its Modernisme, but it all began here in Reus (13 km [8 mi] northwest of Tarragona), where Antoni Gaudí was born and where his contemporary, Lluís Domènech i Montaner—lesser known but in some ways the more important architect—lived and worked for much of his earlier career. The oldest part of the city, defined by a ring of streets called Ravals where the medieval walls once stood, has narrow streets and promenades with many of Reus's smartest shops, boutiques, and coffeehouses. Inside the ring, and along the nearby Carrer de Sant Joan, are some 20 of the stately homes by Domènech, Pere Caselles, and Joan Rubió that make Reus a must for fans of the Moderniste movement.
Gaudí Centre. In this small museum showcasing the life and work of the city's most illustrious son, there are copies of the models Gaudí made for his major works and a replica of his studio. His original notebook—with English translations—is filled with his thoughts on structure and ornamentation, complaints about clients, and calculations of cost-and-return on his projects. A pleasant café on the third floor overlooks the main square of the old city and the bell tower of the Church of Sant Pere. The Centre also houses the Tourist Office; come early and book a guided tour that includes the museum (11 am) and two of Domènech's most important buildings: the Casa Navàs (1 pm) and the Institut Pere Mata (4:30 pm)—neither of which you can visit without the tour. The guided visits to Domènech's works are given October through June only, two Saturdays a month, depending on demand, and only in Catalan; July through September the tours are offered daily (except Sunday) and are available in English. Pl. del Mercadal 3, Reus, Catalonia, 43201. 977/010670. www.gaudicentre.com. Museum €7. Sept. 16-June 14, Mon.-Sat. 10-2 and 4-7, Sun. 11-2; June 15-Sept. 15, Mon.-Sat. 10-8, Sun. 11-2.
An express bus service operates 23 daily buses between Tarragona (main bus station) and Reus (Plaça de les Oques); the trip takes less than 25 minutes (each way). There are four daily buses between Barcelona and Reus and regular train service connects Reus with Tarragona and main Catalonian and Andalusian cities and destinations.
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