Mobile World Congress Barcelona: things to do in your free time

Barcelona, the only city to host the GSMA Mobile World Congress, is bursting with great restaurants, chic clubs, creative cocktails, top shops and more

Welcome to Barcelona! You're here for the biggest global meeting on mobile technology, the GMSA Mobile World Congress, which takes place in 2015 from March 2 to 5 in Barcelona's Fira Montjuïc and Fira Gran Via. But what will you do in your free time? Lucky for you, you're in one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, and whether you want to spend your hours away from work dining in Michelin-starred restaurants, sipping cocktails by the sea, dancing the night away, or unwinding in a relaxing spa, we've got you covered. The city is full of things to do, from art exhibitions to concerts to local festivals, and at the beginning of March, the weather's often good enough to enjoy the winter sun on terraces and in squares, and even along the coast at the beaches. Even if you're only in town for a couple of days, you'll find plenty of things to do in Barcelona.

Ten sights you won't want to miss

Santa Maria del Mar

One of the most perfect surviving examples of the Catalan Gothic style, this graceful basilica stands out for its characteristic horizontal lines, plain surfaces, square buttresses and flat-topped octagonal towers. There’s also superb stained glass, especially the great 15th-century rose window above the main door. The Santa Maria del Mar also boasts some great real estate. In the heart of the Born district, it's located amid some of the city's top bars, shops and restaurants, and it's a mere stone's throw from the Picasso Musuem (see below). A great place to start exploring this part of town.

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Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

Museu Picasso

By no means an overview of the artist's work, the Museu Picasso is rather a record of the vital formative years that the young Picasso spent nearby at La Llotja art school (where his father taught), and later hanging out with Catalonia's fin-de-siècle avant-garde. The seamless presentation of Picasso's development from 1890 to 1904, from deft pre-adolescent portraits to sketchy landscapes to the intense innovations of his Blue Period, is unbeatable, then it leaps to a gallery of mature Cubist paintings from 1917. The pièce de résistance is the complete series of 58 canvases based on Velázquez's famous Las Meninas, donated by Picasso himself.

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Ciutat Vella

Gaudí and Modernisme

The queues at the Sagrada Família can sometimes span more than two city blocks. The wonderful thing is you can appreciate the whole exterior of Gaudí's life's work from the street, but if you haven't got time to visit inside, there are many other Gaudí buildings to get to know in Barcelona. Top among the list is La Pedrera (also known as Casa Milà), situated on Passeig de Gràcia, the city's huge shopping street. Be sure to visit the rooftop for stellar views and incredible architecture, even in the smokestacks. Also on Passeig de Gràcia, you'll find Casa Batlló, one of the most impressive and admired of all Gaudí's creations, jutting out of the skyline in a gorgeous splash of vibrant colour. Heading down La Rambla you'll come to the Palau Güell, Gaudí's first major commission, and the prelude to another collaboration with empresario Eusebi Güell, Park Güell. In the park (which was free until October 2013), you'll see for yourself that the fantastical exuberance of Gaudí's imagination remains breathtaking.

Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral)

Remember that Barcelona's Cathedral and the Sagrada Família are two entirely different beasts. The Cathedral is in the centre of town and if you time it right, you can get in for free. You might think if you've seen one European cathedral you've seen 'em all, but we are partial to this one. It's definitely worth a visit, but if you're not in the mood to go in, at least feast your eyes on the wonder from the outside, which, after the years-long renovation, is finally scaffold-free. Glorious.

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Ciutat Vella

Mercat de la Boqueria

Thronged with tourists searching for a little bit of Barcelona's gastro magic, and usually ending up with a pre-sliced quarter of overpriced pineapple, Europe's biggest food market located smack on La Rambla is still an essential stop. Admire the orderly stacks of ridged Montserrat tomatoes, the wet sacks of snails and the oozing razor clams on the fish stalls. If you can't or don't want to cook it yourself, you can eat instead at several market tapas bars. If you visit in the morning, you'll see the best produce, incluing the smallholders' fruit and vegetable stalls in the little square attached to the C/Carme side of the market, where prices tend to be lower. But if you come only to ogle, remember that this is where locals come to shop. Don't touch what you don't want to buy, ask before taking photos and watch out for vicious old ladies with ankle-destroying wheeled shopping bags.

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El Raval

The Barcelona beach guide

Sure, it's not quite spring yet, but how bad can it be when there are so many days filled with winter sun in Barcelona? You might not want to take a dip in the Mediterranean, but a walk near the coast to breathe in some fresh sea air and clear your head of technology for a while could be a welcome change. And the great thing about visiting the beach in winter is the sea and sand are about as pristine as you'll see them all year.

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MACBA. Museu d'Art Contemporani

If you're used to being soft-soaped by eager-to-please art centres, you'll have to adjust to the cryptic minimalism of the MACBA, where art is taken very seriously indeed. Yet if you can navigate the fridge-like interior of Richard Meier's enormous edifice, accept that much of the permanent collection is inaccessible to the uninitiated, tackle shows that flutter between the brilliant and baffling, and, most important, are prepared to do your reading, a trip to the MACBA can be extremely rewarding.

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El Raval

MNAC. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

'One museum, a thousand years of art' is the slogan of the National Museum, which you can see from the convention centre, and the collection provides a dizzying overview of Catalan art from the 12th to the 20th centuries. The highlight is the Romanesque collection. The display here features 21 mural sections in loose chronological order. A highlight is the tremendous Crist de Taüll, from the 12th-century church of Sant Climent de Taüll. Even 'graffiti' scratchings (probably by monks) of animals, crosses and labyrinths have been preserved. The excellent Gothic collection starts with some late 13th-century frescoes that were discovered in 1961 and 1997, and the Modernista collection is also unmissable. The rich collection of decorative arts includes original furniture from Modernista houses.

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Sants - Montjuïc

Fundació Joan Miró

At the convention centre you're at the bottom of Montjuïc, and if you head up the steps you get to the National Museum (MNAC, see above) and just beyond that a bit is the Fundació Joan Miró. Approachable, light and airy, the museum's white walls and arches house a collection of more than 225 paintings, 150 sculptures and all of Miró's graphic work, plus some 5,000 drawings. Miró is shown as a cubist (Street in Pedralbes, 1917), naive (Portrait of a Young Girl, 1919) and surrealist (Man and Woman in Front of a Pile of Excrement, 1935). While you're there, don't pass up a visit to the open-air sculpture garden.

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Sants - Montjuïc

Camp Nou

Camp Nou, where FC Barcelona has played since 1957, is one of football’s great stadiums – a vast cauldron of a ground that holds 98,000 spectators. That’s a lot of noise when the team is doing well, and an awful lot of silence when it isn’t. If you can’t get there on match day but love the team, it’s worth visiting the club museum. The excellent audio-guided tour of the stadium takes you through the players’ tunnel to the dugouts and then, via the away team’s changing room, on to the President’s box, where there is a replica of the European Cup, which the team won at Wembley in 1992, in Paris in 2006 and in Rome in 2009. The club museum commemorates the glory years, making much of the days when the likes of Kubala, Cruyff, Maradona, Koeman and Lineker trod the hallowed turf, with pictures, video clips and souvenirs spanning the century that has passed since the Swiss businessman Johan Gamper and the Englishman Arthur Witty first founded the club. The last tour begins an hour before closing time.

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Les Corts

Where to eat during the GSMA Mobile World Congress

Barcelona restaurants with Michelin stars

Barcelona continues leading the way in cutting-edge, international cuisine. In the wide range of quality restaurants in the city, 23 stand out above the rest: those that have the honour of receiving one (or two) Michelin stars. If your wallet allows and you want to pay tribute, here's the list of Barcelona's 23 star-studded restaurants. Enjoy! Restaurants with two stars Moments Raül Balam, son of Carme Ruscalleda, has earned his second Michelin star with this leading hotel restaurant. Like the original in Sant Pau, the concept is impeccable, innovative – but very Catalan – cuisine, with dishes such as the veal 'fricandó' (beef fillet with mushrooms) with Scotch bonnet mushrooms and the Maresme shrimp with glazed tomato petals, a vegetable medley and toasted pine nuts. Enoteca Llançà chef Paco Pérez has been awarded two Michelin star in Barcelona. He has done so with a style of cooking that is based on the maritime traditions of Cap de Creus, expressed to the max using the best, freshest produce. His espardenyes amb ceps is unmissable. Lasarte Martín Berasategui’s embassy at the Condes de Barcelona hotel has become one of the essential restaurants not only in the city but in all of ​​Catalonia and Spain, where people flock to marvel at the creativity of the chef. The sampling menu is a treat that everyone should have the chance to enjoy, at least once in a lifetime, and if possible, once a year. Àbac Jordi Cruz has regained Àbac’s second Michelin star, making his restaurant on

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The best Catalan cuisine

Enjoy the finest traditional dishes in Barcelona Try these restaurants, cafés and tapas bars for the best traditional Catalan fare in Barcelona - from escudellia (Catalan stew) to crema Catalana (pictured above). 7 Portes The eponymous seven doors open on to as many dining salons, all kitted out in elegant 19th-century decor. Long-aproned waiters bring regional dishes, served in vast portions, including a stewy fish zarzuela with half a lobster, a different paella daily (shellfish, for example, or rabbit and snails), a wide array of fresh seafood, and heavier dishes such as herbed black-bean stew with pork sausage, and orujo sorbet to finish. Reservations are available only for certain tables; otherwise, get there early. Petit Comitè Said to be the mentor of überchef Ferran Adrià, Fermí Puig has enjoyed years of quiet success with the moneyed classes at Drolma in the Hotel Majestic. This bistro is Puig's attempt to open up to a less élite public, serving more affordable versions of the Catalan classics; suquet (fish and potato stew), pig's trotters with spinach and pine nuts, and so on. Be warned: it's not obvious from the menu that dishes are small and meant to be ordered in a tapas style, so for all the good intentions behind the concept, this is still not an especially cheap option. Can Culleretes Barcelona’s oldest restaurant, ​​and one of the oldest in Spain, is still going strong. The Agut-Manubens family, with mother and daughter to the fore, serve good Catalan cooking

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Let's do brunch

Discover the best restaurants in town for brunch While the healthy living associated with the Mediterranean diet may be admirable, once in a while it's nice to just sink your teeth into a big juicy brunch. In comparison with a coffee-and-sandwich breakfast and the famously lengthy, languid lunches, brunch isn't a meal you'd immediately associate with the local culture. In fact, as a predominantly Anglo-Saxon tradition, it suffers from a less refined, more DIY - okay, let's just say it: greasy - image. However, in recent years this foreign weekend favourite has proved surprisingly popular in the Catalan capital too, albeit with less of an emphasis on the grease. At weekends you'll find many of Barcelona's restaurants and bars open for business well before midday, and enjoying a brisk brunchtime trade. So, from hangover restoratives to fancy breakfast feasts, dig in to Time Out's guide to the best brunches in town. The latest restaurant reviews Una Mica de Japó For the savvy connoisseurs of Japanese cuisine, Una Mica de Japó is not a novelty. This izakaya (Japanese tavern) is one of the best representatives in the city of what they do. It all happens in a small, cosy restaurant with eight tall tables surrounded by stools and room for four at the bar. Picnic Serving tapas and international dishes for a modern clientele, Picnic is successful thanks to its cosmopolitan cuisine, a world fusion that serves up fried green tomatoes, grilled octopus, beef burgers, and coca

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Barcelona's top tapas bars

Where to go for the ultimate in Catalan and Spanish tapas There are menus listing tempting tapas just about everywhere you turn the Catalan capital. The choice can be overwhelming, and nowhere else but Barcelona boasts tapas in such variety - but this can apply to quality as well as the dishes on offer. Here are the restaurants, cafés, bodegas and tapas bars serving the best mini-meals in Barcelona... Quimet i Quimet Packed to the rafters with dusty bottles of wine, this classic but minuscule bar makes up for in tapas what it lacks in space. The specialities are conservas (shellfish preserved in tins), which aren't always to non-Spanish tastes, but the montaditos, sculpted tapas served on bread, are spectacular. Try salmon sashimi with cream cheese, honey and soy, or cod, passata and black olive pâté. Get there early for any chance of a surface on which to put your drink. Casa de Tapes Cañota El Cañota is a Galicia-inspired seafood tapas bar, and it comes with a pedigree. It's the younger brother of the renowned Rías de Galicia, one of the greatest Galician restaurants in the city and the country. El Cañota serves traditional dishes: fried fish and seafood, patatas bravas, Galician octopus, ensaladilla rusa, draught beer and wine. All of it is top-quality, and served in a laid-back venue that's perfect for a celebratory meal, or for dinner after taking in a show at the Teatre Lliure, Mercat de les Flors or BTM, which are all nearby. La Tieta Chickpeas with prawns, tasty potat

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Get to know Barcelona's vibrant nightlife

Bars in Montjuïc & Poble-sec

The best drinking spots in the area Es Xibiu The friends who launched Red Rocket Bar have also got a pintxos bar going in C/Blai: Es Xibiu benefits by having a Mallorcan in co-owner Bel, as well as a selection of pintxos (similar to tapas, mounted on small pieces of bread) with an unbeatable value for money and a dish of the day. Be sure to try the Mallorcan speciality drink, palo amb sifó. Saturdays at lunchtime mean vermouth hour with music spun by the best rock 'n' soul DJs on the national scene. Barramon Some people will never get over the fact that Barcelona has three cold days a year. If you’re one of those people, then head straight to Barramon. Have a glass of wine, a dish of the house crinkly fried potatoes and imagine that you’re in the Canaries. The quiet intimacy of the tables, the black-and-white movie stills and the muted bar lights will multiply your nostalgia for palm trees tenfold. Also has a terrace on Carrer Blai. Bar Seco This bar belongs to the Slow Food movement – they use local, sustainable produce to make the dishes for a menu that is quite short but more than sufficient to satisfy hungry bellies. Their bio-patatas bravas are rightly renowned. As is the outdoor terrace, just in front of the Montjuïc air-raid shelter. La Soleá A small restaurant that offers a well-chosen selection of small, tasty dishes. You can’t go wrong with their Burger Queen – it’s a meal in itself. La Federica Don’t be suspicious of beautiful places: The interior decor at Federica

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Touring the chicest clubs in the city

Where the rich and stylish go to flirt in Barcelona Sutton (Tuset,13), the last frontier. Cross that line and it's either impress or die. A Rolex and Dsquared polo shirt would've given me a clear advantage. I spot a Barça handball player, a basketball player, a TV presenter! Upscale posturing of the finest calibre, this is the place to be. A night out in the 'zona alta', uptown Barcelona, on Carrer Tuset, supposedly home of the best Kobe steak. It's all or nothing, the ultimate prowl, but truth be told, nothing's happening. Nothing at all. I head back out and have the brilliant idea of checking out Bling Bling (Tuset, 8-10), a pulsating mass of VIPs and pale Carlton Banks clones. I feel like a sardine in a tub of caviar. The name of the place is no joke: serious bling here. Universal (Marià Cubí, 182) is something else, its style inching away from the tip of the upper crust and a little closer to the world of mere mortals. A good shower, preppy polo shirt and loafers are enough to give it a try. Besides, I've begun to notice that around here there's a lot of bark and very little bite. I decide to check out Otto Zutz (Lincoln, 15) where I've been told that when things get hot, it's like winning the EuroMillions, but I don't even hit the Plus 5: impossible to compete with the overload of cool guys masquerading as streetwise gangstas. One last chance. Known as a legendary place to pull, Luz de Gas (Muntaner, 246) is always a good bet when seeking a bevy of possibilities. One t

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The city's top cocktail bars

Sample some of the finest bespoke cocktails in Barcelona, and meet the city's most daring mixologists. Whether your taste is for the red-velvety classic interiors and old-fashioned drinks as your nan likes 'em or if you prefer a more modern ambience with your one-of-a-kind tipple, we've got just the place for you. Ginger Ginger, you’re the Rita Hayworth of bars, with your tousled red hair. You’re there every night at your curved bar selling matches with your mischievous smile and that black dress. You’ve got an old sign with American typography that was probably used for the posters in the Great Gatsby. Dry Martini You don't mess with intrepid barman Javier de las Muelas. In fact, you don't mess with anything about this legendary cocktail bar that's internationally recognised as one of the best on the planet. They're very clever behind the bar, where the most complicated choreographies are staged, and all dedicated to the cocktail. Whatever you do, don't leave without trying the house concoction, the Dry Martini, which is unbeatable in Barcelona, and one of the most masterful creations of De las Muelas. Despite crowds and the barman's bark, Dry Martini continues to be a benchmark cocktail bar. And that, good readers, isn't just a cocktail bar. It's a church. Semon 9 Night At Semon it was not enough for them to have one of the finest gourmet shops in the city, a luxury catering firm, three restaurants (one Japanese) and for them to have established the brand in Madrid. Now, ba

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Barcelona's best wine bars

Where to sit and sip some reds, whites, pinks and cavas It's always the right time to for a good glass of wine, and you don't have to be an expert to enjoy one. Just head to these top wine bars in town and they'll help you pick out a grape that suits your taste. More drinks! Behold the G&T The best spots to sip a gin & tonic: not just your granny's drink anymore The vermouth route Vermouth hour has never fallen out of fashion in Barcelona, but in recent years the tradition of gathering with friends to share an afternoon aperitif, and the usual side dishes, has garnered a new generation of devotees and plenty of proprietors only too happy to accommodate. Time Out brings you the modern, as well as the classic, temples of vermouth. Have we left out your favourite place to get a G&T? Let us know about it in the comments below. Top features 20 great things to do 1. Ramble down colourful La Rambla One of the most famous boulevards in the world, La Rambla is worth a stroll down even if you only have one day in Barcelona. A gateway to rural Catalonia, the mile-long road bustles with tourists, artists, human statues, fortune-tellers, dancers and musicians. Vibrant flower stalls, a cultural and exhibition centre, the superb La Boqueria market, a Joan Miró mosaic, newspaper kiosks and cafés line the street. You may pay a fortune to sip a cola at a roadside café but the people-watching opportunities will be worth the price. 2. Get up close to Gaudí's grand designs In Barcelona, you can

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Where to go shopping

The best of Passeig de Gràcia

Barcelona's big shopping street, Passeig de Gràcia, has shops galore. We select some from the top brand names to the best of the high street. Shopping along Barcelona's grand Passeig de Gràcia means being right in the heart of the centre of town, where you'll be taking in a breathtaking modernist building one minute and the next dodging others out for a walk, in a hurry to get somewhere, or doing their own spending. From the biggest brand names to the most affordable, from the exclusive shops to those open to everyone, you're bound to find a treasure to carry home that suits your taste and fits your budget.  The exclusive Stella McCartney Stella McCartney’s first store in Spain occupies a fiercely modern space within an elegant Modernista building. Her sharp tailoring meets flashes of neon in her 1980s revivalist style, and is complemented by lingerie, childrenswear and accessories. Do not expect leather shoes or bags, however – Stella is a product of her parents. Valentino Valentino is no newcomer to Passeig de Gràcia, but with the finishing touches put on the shop (with a room covered in wood just for handbags) and window dressings that show off the couture dresses close-up, it's become a must-see classic. Stop in to admire the floral mini-dress with white collar and cuffs (from €3,000) or the patent leather and velvet stilettos. Prada First came Miu Miu, and now mama Prada's in town. The flagship store of the Italian firm is a temple of accessories: perfect leather handba

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Made in Barcelona: local design

15 shops where you can find Barcelona-made creations for your home, fashion and accessories, all from local designers and artisans Fashion Ailanto The Ailanto brand, created by the brothers Iñaki and Aitor Muñoz, is recognised and admired for its prints, fine materials and its patterns based on geometrical shapes and artistic forms. Visit their exclusive boutique and you will find it difficult not to walk away owning one of their timeless pieces of haute couture. Zazo&Brull Perfect geometric shapes, impossible arrangements of fabric, perfectly assembled pieces, attention to detail and timelessness, all in one place. This is the universe of Zazo&Brull, the creative duo formed by designers Xavier Zazo and Clara Brull. They tell stories through their clothing, anything from tales of gangsters to more personal reflections, with the cable-knit sweaters, embroidered bodysuits, leather dresses and tiered skirts that you’ll find at their shop/studio in Barcelona. Lydia Delgado Lydia Delgado has been in the fashion business for more than two decades, her designs have been shown on catwalks in Barcelona and Madrid, and she's managed to create a brand with a very personal style that is feminine, elegant, Parisian and with leanings toward the sobriety of black. Delgado shares a line with her daughter Miranda Makaroff, and their clothes hang together naturally in this sophisticated Gràcia boutique. Fun sweaters and finely knit jackets cohabitate with pleated skirts and cute sleeveless dr

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Shops with charm

Boutiques that make you fall in love with spectacular designs, secret gardens in the middle of the neighbourhood, family bookstores, eco-friendly shops... For the Botigues amb encant (Shops with Charm) competition, organized by the Barcelona city government and Time Out, we asked you to tell us the 20 most special places to shop and, with your votes and your photos, you selected the best shops the city has to offer. These are your winners. Casa Anita A place made for kids and teens but still fun for adults, where you can spend hours discovering the marvels between the covers of a book. You can ask for help from the bookseller, listen to recommendations from other customers or just explore freely, picking up whatever catches your eye. There’s a hardcover section, one for those that haven’t yet learned to read, another full of well-loved stories, right next to a small selection for adults – with only titles that the owner likes – and a section for fiction, music, theatre, poetry and art, sitting opposite the educational books, games and books about books. But the apple of Casa Anita’s eye is hidden in a bunch of wine boxes – the picture books, with fiction separated from non-fiction, of course. Self-edited books, origami and puppets have also found a place here. Tealosophy Simple tables and a neutral decor (presided over by a saxophone and a Singer sewing machine) all lend character to this tea house, which was one of the first to open in the city’s Gothic quarter. While the me

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Great shops for women's fashion

The best spots to find the latest in women's clothing and more Sayan This beautiful locale in Sant Gervasi – where white walls and tiled floors dominate – is the base of operations for Sayan. The Balinese influence is undeniable: silks, embroidery and colours abound, and there's even more to admire in the display case full of scarves at the entrance. In the shop, almost all of the fabric has the Sayan tag: Soledad designs the clothes and much of it is made in Indonesia. All is practical and perfect for urban living with a definite exotic flavour. OnLand Elena Castaudi and Michele Gilli are the unbeatable team behind On Land, a multi-brand store that is sure to please both men and women. For her, clothes by young, Barcelona designers like Name and Who. For him, interesting options by the likes of Josep Abril, On Land and Gorni Kramer, the latter two designed by the store's owners. Suits, shirts, t-shirts and casual trousers that offer a solid foundation for your wardrobe without losing sight of the trends. Misha In this little shop just off Avinguda Diagonal and Via Augusta you'll find urban, feminine clothes from such well-travelled brands as the French Sessùn or Belgian Bellerose, Temps de Cérises and Des Petits Hauts. Labienplantá Labienplantá is a shop that is constantly reinventing itself, starting with its front window. Although Andriana Fajeda has a weakness for Scandinavian brands, she also embraces many local designers. Different brands come and go, but of late you m

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