Chiado, elegant Lisbon

Facing the hill of the castle, placed symmetrically in relation to Baixa, is the sophisticated neighborhood of Chiado, elegant Lisbon.

During the siege of Lisbon (1147), English, Scottish and Norman knights set up their camp at the west of the city, in the area we know today as Chiado. Already during the Christian rule, the city gained a new wall that encompassed Chiado and the door of Saint Catherine became the gateway for goods and people from the western side of Lisbon.

Chiado, elegant Lisbon
Basilica dos Mártires

The 18th century saw two events that shaped the city. On the one hand, the earthquake of November 1, 1755 caused great damage, even causing the disappearance of two of the largest institutions in Lisbon, the convents of Carmo and Trindade. Still following the earthquake, the urban layout was updated, with Garrett St emerging as the main artery of Lisbon. On the other hand, in the 18th century it was possible to supply water to Chiado in appreciable quantities (previously only Alfama had water in abundance).

The 19th century saw many of the current buildings being built in the Pombaline style, following the model of the Baixa buildings. The emergence of Chiado as Lisbon’s sophisticated and elegant neighborhood dates from this century.

The Roaring 20’s

Chiado was the epicenter of Portugal in the roaring 1920s. In this area of the city, clubs, restaurants and gambling halls multiplied. Seeing and being seen as a criterion of social relevance made Lisbon society roam itself in Chiado.

Rua Garrett – 100 years separate these photos

In the 50 meters restricted to cars at the top of Garrett St there are several establishments that, a century ago, already had the same name and the same decoration that you can see today. Start by going to “Paris in Lisbon” to do your shopping. Then cross Garrett St for a coffee at Pastry shop “Benard”. Further up you will find another pastry shop, “Brasileira”, which was frequented by the poet Fernando Pessoa, who is immortalized in the bronze statue. Between the two pastry shops is the Hotel Borges, the oldest in Lisbon.

With a little imagination you can even travel back in time. Sit down on one of the terraces and imagine listening to the jazz-band playing Charleston as if you were in the roaring 20s.

Paris in Lisbon

At the end of the 19th century, Paris was the beacon that illuminated the world and every city wanted to be a little like Paris. For this reason, nothing better than opening a store in 1888 at 77 Garrett St, with the name “Paris in Lisbon” to convey the subliminal message “if you can’t go to Paris, we’ll bring Paris to you”.

When Amelie de Orleans, the last queen of Portugal, became a customer, nothing was lacking for the best society in Lisbon to start shopping at “Paris in Lisbon”.

In more than a century of activity, consumption patterns have changed, but this store has always managed to adapt to new times.


This café was founded in 1905 by Adriano Telles, a former Portuguese emigrant in Brazil, where he married the daughter of one of the main coffee merchants in Minas Gerais.

Fernando Pessoa in Brasileira

The exuberant decoration and the façade designed in the taste of Parisian cafes (architect Manuel Norte Júnior) have always attracted the best society in Lisbon to Brasileira, including artists and intellectuals, of which Fernando Pessoa stood out. The distinction given to the place by the presence of the poet was immortalized by the inauguration of a bronze statue that represents the poet sitting at a table on the esplanade (author Lagoa Henriques).


The Benard cafe and restaurant had its origins in an establishment that Elie Benard opened in Loreto St in 1868. However, the Benard has only been in its current location since 1902 and its façade dates from 1914.

Chiado, elegant Lisbon
Pastel de nata in Chiado (family size)

Benard has 3 rooms which, just for the refinement of its decoration, is already worth a visit.

theater S. Carlos

In 1755, the Opera-Tagus theater was inaugurated, a sumptuous opera house designed to rival the main theaters in Europe. This theater had a life of just 6 months, having been destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755.

As part of Lisbon’s reconstruction plan, it was decided to build a new opera house in the Chiado area, the S. Carlos theatre, to replace the missing theatre.

The commitment of public authorities meant that 37 years after the earthquake, the city of Lisbon witnessed the inauguration of S. Carlos on June 30, 1793.

theater S. Carlos

The highlight of the more than 200 years of life of S. Carlos was the performance of Maria Callas in March 1958.

bertrand bookshop

Bertrand Bookshop gained greater notoriety when the Guinness Book of Records declared it the oldest in the world, in operation since it was founded by Paul Faure in 1732.

Bertrand has been in operation since 1732, but not always in the same building. The collapse of the building in the 1755 earthquake meant that it operated in temporary facilities from that year until 1773.

bookstore Bertrand

More than a bookstore, Bertrand has always been a center of literary and political life in the country.

Carmo sq

Carmo Sq is one of the most elegant squares in Lisbon. The Church of Carmo Convent, founded in 1390, was still the main gothic church in Lisbon in 1755. After the earthquake, the entire roof of the Church collapsed and the Church remains in ruins, as a memorial to the earthquake and its victims and is currently a museum.

Largo do Carmo – ruins and fountain

Right in front of the Church is a fountain from the second half of the 18th century, when water began to be abundant in this part of the city. In the passage next to the Church, you can access the upper floor of the Santa Justa elevator, without queues or tickets.

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