Barcelona, La Rambla

Barcelona, La Rambla, steel engraving by Rouargue Freres after his own drawing, published by F. Chardon in Paris, signed, 19th c. Collection: Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw [M/3013].


Barcelona was the second port of call on Chopin’s journey with George Sand and her children to Majorca in 1838. The travellers reached Barcelona from Perpignan on 2 November and put up at the Cuatro Naciones inn at 35 La Rambla (now 40). Over those five days spent in the Catalonian capital, they visited St Eulalia’s Cathedral and the surrounding district, the Barrio Gotico (the gothic district of the old town), and also the ruins of the House of the Inquisition. They spent at least one evening at the Teatro Principal. On 7 November, they boarded the El Mallorquin and sailed for Majorca.


Unfortunately, the second stay in Barcelona, on the way back from Majorca, had an entirely different character to the first. Chopin reached Barcelona on 14 February 1839 after a dramatic sea journey on board the El Mallorquin. ‘George Sand to François Rollinat: “After arriving in Palma [from Valldemosa], Chopin began to spit blood terribly; the next day we boarded the only steamboat running from the island, which transports pigs to Barcelona. […] The endless squealing and hideous stench prevented the patient from resting or drawing fresh air. He sailed into Barcelona having spat out a bowl-full of blood and reeling like a ghost.” One week’s stay in Barcelona, under the care of Doctor Jacques Hubert Coste’ [Tomaszewski, Chopin…].