The moment I Tweeted that I was in Barcelona, the comments about Zara started flooding in. No matter that you can buy Zara in 106 countries worldwide, it seems that Zara shoppers worldwide are united in the belief that stores in the mother country are better stocked and cheaper than they are elsewhere. I’m not convinced by this argument, but I very much like shopping in Zara, so any excuse, really…
I’ve always just headed to the huge store on the Passeig de Gracia, given that as a tourist I haven’t traditionally strayed from the city centre. The store is enormous, full of tourists, queues and clothes falling off hangers. It gives me a headache.
On my most recent trip there wasn’t much time for a Zara hit and by my last day I was starting to twitch. Thing is I wasn’t anywhere near the Passeig de Gracia: I was in Poblenou, an upcoming area of the city known more for its extraordinary architecture projects than its shopping. I hadn’t seen any shops at all near my hotel.
But Google is my friend, and it alerted me to a Zara in the Glories shopping centre, a brisk five minute walk from my hotel, the ME Barcelona. Glories is at the junction of three of the city’s most important roads: Avinguda Diagonal, Avinguda Meridiana and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, and is overlooked by Jean Nouvel’s Gherkin-like Torre Agbar skyscraper (above). But, most important of all it is a mere four stops from Placa de Catalunya on the subway.
Why important? Because there is this: a lovely large Zara.
And it was EMPTY. In the middle of the lunch hour. And VAST. And FULL of stock. Lovely reduced sale stock like the magenta shoes below which were £20. (And completely impractical and not at all right for the coming season. But I don’t care. They spoke to me.)
So I suggest if you, (like many of my Twitter followers), feel that a trip to Barcelona would be incomplete without hitting up Zara, then eschew the madding crowds on the Passeig de Gracia & travel a mere 5mins on the subway to Glories to shop in peace & calm – with maybe a quick sidebar to Massimo Dutti next door.