Writer Margie Boutte
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is most often positioned as part of a broader Spanish itinerary or as a distinct destination unto itself. However, the new high-speed link to Paris is allowing for the possibility to position Barcelona as part of a two-city short break with Paris. Southwestern France also shares many cultural chords with Catalonia and would combine well on a regional itinerary, especially now that there is a high-speed link that calls at Nimes along the way.
Hosting the 1992 Olympics helped Barcelona emerge from a long period of despondency into a hip city enjoyed by culturally sophisticated travelers. The Olympics channeled investments in infrastructure and left an Olympic Port in Poblenou popular with artists in what had been a blighted neighborhood. The diversity of modern Barcelona is on display on its most famous street, Las Ramblas, which runs right through the center of the city.
It is important to understand that while Barcelona...