San Telmo neighborhood

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Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
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Author and references

Tango and antiques

Carlos Calvo Street

It is this district, located north of Avenida de Mayo and which extends to Lezama Park, which in my opinion best bears witness to the complex history of Buenos Aires.

It was indeed one of the richest and most populated in the city until the end of the XNUMXth century.

An epidemic then pushed the richest families to move away from the banks of the Rio de la Plata to take refuge in the northern districts (Recoleta, Palermo, Barrio Norte).



It was then in San Telmo that the very many European immigrants settled, especially Italians at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. The district became bohemian, and in its bars the tango was born. Even today, there are most of the places where this tradition is preserved.

See also our activity: Tango show in Buenos Aires, dinner and dance lesson

past greatness

Fair du dimanche, Defense Street

The style of San Telmo astonishes the visitor coming from the center: here, there is no question of modern and imposing tall buildings, but rather of large colonial-style houses which must have been magnificent two centuries ago but which time has Mark.

Many are dilapidated today but bear witness to the past golden age of Buenos Aires, and give the neighborhood a very special, nostalgic atmosphere that is reminiscent of… tunes of tango!

Today associations have been set up to try to save this architectural heritage, while other buildings have been restored and transformed into tourist accommodation: most of the youth hostels and cheap hotels are concentrated there.

Dorrego Square

Café terrace south of Plaza Dorrego


San Telmo is a neighborhood best explored on foot; the relatively central Plaza Dorrego is an ideal starting point.


As soon as the weather is nice, the square is covered with terraces and becomes an even more pleasant place to have a drink as many street shows are improvised: capoeira, puppets, and sometimes tango demonstrations.

The church of San Pedro Telmo which gave its name to the neighborhood overlooks it. To the west of the square, you can enter "Le Solar de French", a cute shopping mall with a few craftsmen and designers, installed in a historic monument, with a very pleasant patio.

A few meters further on, on Calle Defensa, the Market is worth a visit for its colorful displays of fruit and vegetables, and for its antiques. The walk can continue through the typical small streets of the surroundings: Chile, Independencia, Bolivar etc.

Antique district

Antique dealer in the Covered Market

The style of San Telmo astonishes the visitor coming from the center: here, there is no question of modern and imposing tall buildings, but rather of large colonial-style houses which must have been magnificent two centuries ago but which time has Mark.


Many are dilapidated today but bear witness to the past golden age of Buenos Aires, and give the neighborhood a very special, nostalgic atmosphere that is reminiscent of… tunes of tango!

Today associations have been set up to try to save this architectural heritage, while other buildings have been restored and transformed into tourist accommodation: most of the youth hostels and cheap hotels are concentrated there.


Useful information

Feria de San Telmo: every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 17 p.m.

Addresses:
Church of San Pedro Telmo – Humberto 1ro, 1340
Gallery of Solar de French – Defense 1066
San Telmo Market – access to the rues Defensa, Carlos Calvo, Bolivar or the United States

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