Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site

This breathtaking site is full of wonderful mosaics, colours, sculptures, windows, artistic design and architectural details from the modernist era.

First I will show you the map of the site again so you can see where the pavilions are situated and then we’ll take a stroll around the site.

View from the Administration Pavilion (Building A on the map) looking at the Operations building (B) in the centre

After going through the entrance gate with our pre-booked tickets we found ourselves following the underground tunnel which brought us out just in front of the Casa D’Operacions (Sant Cosme and Sant Damia). For what felt like an eternity both my daughter and I were stunned into silence as we gazed around us.  From the front we were already in awe of the craftsmanship we had seen, but we didn’t expect such beauty to continue so meticulously.

The grounds are so well laid out with lots of lovely planting of citrus trees, lavender, horse chestnut trees, lindens and deciduous trees all providing shade in the summer and warmth in the winter. Few of the original trees remain except for a couple of date palms. Bay, rosemary and lemon verbena and other medicinal plants grow in the parterres. The gardens were created to provide a pleasant space that would alleviate pain and suffering of the patients and their families. The plants helped to purify the air, fight bacteria, dust and toxic gases and shelter the exposed area from the weather. An idea hospitals of today would do well to replicate.

It was hard to know where to look. The symmetry of each building, the mosaic patterns on the roofs and domes, the elaborately decorated water turrets, the sculptures, the window shapes and the art nouveau style…

You can enter the operations building, but there is not much inside and the only other one that you can enter is Sant Rafael which shows how it was used as a ward. There is much to see externally though and each pavilion although built in the same style and using the same materials with the purpose of creating pleasant and natural surroundings for the patients have their differences.

Of the twelve main pavilions six have been finished and two are currently undergoing restoration. You can see how beautifully the work has been carried out when you see parts of the site still requiring refurbishment.

Next post we will visit the individual pavilions to take a look at the materials used and the differences which make them unique.

View of the Administration Pavilion (A) from the Operations building (B)

(In all of these posts I advise you to click on the photos to enlarge them as only then will you appreciate the incredible artistic detail. )

Source: All the information in these Sant Pau posts is taken from the admission booklet. 

How to get there:
Metro: L5 Sant Pau / Dos de Maig or L2 to Sagrada Familia and walk up Avenue de Gaudi
Bus: H8, 19, 20, 45, 47, 50, 51, 92, 117, 192

Published by


I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

43 thoughts on “Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site”

  1. In one of the pics there’s something that looks like black and white fabric, what is it Jude? Seeing the map is a surprise, the place is huge! I can tell that by the time you’ve finished I’ll be really annoyed that I missed it!

    1. I think it was some sort of poster of the inside of Sant Rafael. I’ll have to check if I have a better image. The site isn’t all that big as it only goes as far as the blood bank.

        1. Really? Anyway you won’t have to wait too long as I have scheduled the other posts to publish two a day!

        2. Oh my word! Is that because you’re away soon? Forgotten where you’re going. Was sitting in a lovely little square in the back of beyond in Alentejo not long since. Vinho Verde at hand xx

        3. Away at the end of the month, only to South Devon for a bit of relaxing – no wifi and no mobile signal either 🙂

  2. Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow. I could go on.

    The 4th photo in with the turret and domed building in the background says it all for me. There is simply SO MUCH to love and appreciate about this structure. AMAZING!

    1. It has all been beautifully restored. I will show each building separately so you can appreciate the design that went into them. And then we’ll look inside that Admin building which takes your breath away – again!

  3. What an amazing place, Jude. I love all the mosaics and the turrets and architectural details. The gardens and fruit trees make the site extra charming. I wish I’d known about this place when I was in Barcelona. Did you have a fabulous time with your daughter?

    1. It is an incredible place and I have to thank Jo for recommending it to me – she only saw it from the outside whilst being renovated, but realised it was going to be good. I had a wonderful time with my daughter, we packed in an awful lot during our few days there.

      1. I’m sure you had a great time exploring with your daughter. It was good of Jo to alert you to this place despite the fact she couldn’t go in! It’s great to have friends all over, isn’t it?

        1. It really is. I learn so much, and Gilly was inspirational in where to stay in Barcelona and how to get around so I owe her one too.

Comments are closed.