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Home » Citytours & Maps » All About Gavea
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Gávea is a favorite residential area, with a number of attractions to the international visitor. It has a lot to live up to, with neighbors like Leblon, Lagoa, Jardim Botanico and São Conrado. You will be passing by the entrance to Gávea on your way to or back from the Jockey Club and the Botanical Garden. You may not suspect that Praça Santos Dumont, that during the day is a peaceful green area, at night is one of Rio's most popular baixos!

A good excuse to start your visit is a quick stop at the Bacalhau do Rei, in the beginning of Av. Marques de São Vicente. They serve one of the best cod fish croquettes in town (it's a Portuguese delicacy). The bakery on the same side of the street a couple of blocks away is also a good bet. Other than locals, their fresh-baked loaves attract buyers from Leblon, and even Ipanema.

Well, since you're in the area, Marques de São Vicente is the main artery of Gávea. Across the street from the bakery you will find Shopping da Gávea, one of Rio's most sophisticated malls. The upscale shops feature home furnishings, decor, books, antiques and fashion. There are theaters, and a number of excellent restaurants and eateries (Chez Anne has the best brigadeiro fudge).

Keeping on Marquês (while in Rio drop last names once you've been property introduced), the first detour will take you to the Planetarium, a must for visitors with children. But we are not stopping right now, as a little further up is the entrance to PUC, the Catholic University. Inside, in addition to mingling with the college students, visit Solar de Grandjean de Montigny. It is the listed as the home of the historical French architect who also designed the Casa França-Brasil, Downtown.

Just like there's an Upper Leblon there's an Upper Gávea, home to many of Rio's poshest mansions. Keep going up, and keep to your right to reach Parque da Cidade. This beautiful green park with trails and a small museum is to be added to the list of any visitor interested in Rio's history and nature. The American School is a bit further up.

On your way back from your visit to Gávea, keep an eye for the S-shaped building that dominates the foot of Morro Dois Irmãos. They had to put down a whole block of apartments when they were building the tunnel to São Conrado - it goes right through the building.

Auguste-Henri-Victor Grandjean de Montingy arrived in Brazil in 1816. He was a member of the French Artistic Mission, and he was in charge of several important buildings in Rio. The most renowned is probably now home to a French cultural center, Casa da Cultura França-Brasil. The Solar (mansion) is of particular interest as it associates the neoclassical architecture with tropical building techniques. It now holds temporary art exhibitions. The mansion is located in the heart of the campus of PUC, the prestigious Catholic University of Rio. Take the opportunity to walk around. Have a snack at one of the bars (Bar das Freiras is served by nuns) or check out the popular and cheap PF restaurant, and mingle with the students.

The planetarium opened doors in 1979, and it kept up to date with technological innovations. The projector weighing about 3 tons uses optic fibers and the latest computers to turn the dome into a credible replica of a starry sky. The theater has almost 300 seats, and the 180-degree cinema was the first South of the Equator. If you didn't know what to do with your kids on a rainy day, here's a good answer! There is a small museum, shop and library. At night restaurant and bar Zero Zero (00) is the other good reason to stop at the Planetario.

Parque da Cidade, the Botanical Garden and Parque Lage are the three city parks that make Gávea and Jardim Botanico the garden neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro's South Side. Parque da Cidade, with 470 thousand square meters, is in Upper Gávea at the end of Av. Marques de São Vicente.

In the 60's when Rio experienced a water shortage this is where many Cariocas came to collect their drinking water. With the proximity of Rocinha, the fountains are no longer used, but there's still much to see. There are lawns, gardens, streams, and a good chance of running into the local fauna (marmosets and sloths included). The mansion that dominates the park was the summer retreat of Marques de São Vicente, whose name was borrowed for the main street. It is now home to the Museu Historico da Cidade, featuring images of the city throughout its history.

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