Spanish version

Calle del Arenal

Calle ArenalCalle del Arenal is now a pedestrian street and it is a pleasure to walk along this broad street that leads you from the Puerta del Sol directly to the Plaza de Isabel II and then to the Royal Palace.

The name of the street, "Sands", has its origin in all the sand that was placed here while new buildings were built in the adjoining streets.

During the time of Muslim domination, the christians lived in this area. In the XVI century wealthy people built their houses here.Arenal

In 1872, near calle de Bordadores, an assassination attempt on King Amadeo de Saboya was committed. A policeman was killed and the terrorists escaped.

In  house number 20 died the famous Spanish musician Roberto Chapi in 1909 and in number 26 the bullfighter Frascuelo in 1898.

Calle del Arenal has always been a street full of hotels and hostels, shops and cafeterias.

The Little Perez Mouse

PlaqueThere is a fairy tale well known in many countries, although the main character may change.

When a little child looses a tooth, you have to put that tooth under your pillow. Then during the night,here in Spain, it is the little Perez Mouse that comes, takes the tooth and leaves a little present or some cents.

Around 1894 Queen Maria Cristina de Habsburgo-Lorena, mother of King Alfonso XIII, asked Father Coloma to write a story for her son, then about 8 years old and who had just lost a tooth. Father Coloma wrote the story about the little Perez Mouse and his friend, king Bubi. The Queen called her son Bubi.

Little Perez MouseThe little mouse lived in the Calle de Arenal, number 8 in a big chocolate box in a confectioner´s shop. On the facade of this building you can see a plaque commemorating this event. Inside the building, now a small mall, there is a little statue of the Perez Mouse.

Last June, 2008 a new museum opened its doors. It is dedicated to the little Perez Mouse.

It is exactly where the little Mouse used to live, on the first floor in calle de Arenal. It is specially dedicated to children.
You will see there an exact copy of Perez´appartment.

After long years of investigation they finally find out how it looked like. On the walls there are paintings of Perez´family a friends, like Mickey Mouse, the tooth fairy and other famous characters of literature or movies.Gaviria Palace

There are also copies of the books related to his business from all countries.
Hostesses will tell children stories about the  little Perez Mouse.

As in all museums nowadays you will also find souvenirs related to Perez Mouse like cups, dolls or notebooks.

Although the museum is quite small and the visit will probably be short, if you come with kids they will like it.

San Gines Church
On the left, at number 9 we find the Palacio de Gaviria (Gaviria Palace). It was built in the XIX century by Anibal Alvarez Bouquel and inaugurated by Queen Isabel II.

It was almost forgotten for more than a century. In 1991 it was restored and currently offers the possibility of enjoying an historical atmosphere, full of paintings, art and modern music offered by three simultaneous DJs.

A little bit further, at number 13, we can see the San Gines Church. The first church or hermitage already existed in the XIII century. It was destroyed and rebuilt in the XVII century by Juan Ruiz. The roof has recently been restored.

Inside we can see a painting by El Greco, Jesus expels the merchants from the temple, also known as the Purification. It is considered one of the best paintings by El Greco.Jesus expels the merchants from the temple

This painting has belonged to this church since 1700, although recently it has been exhibited in the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and in other important museums.

This painting can be seen only on Mondays at 12:30.

San Gines PassageBefore reaching the San Gines Church, on the left, you will find the Pasadizo de San Gines, San Gines Passageway.

Just on the corner is one of Madrid´s most famous bookstores. Some say it was already here in the XVII century. They sell antique and Bookstore and Chocolateria in the San Gines Passagesecond-hand books. Even if you do not want to buy anything, just have a look a the store, it is worth it. It is located by one of the sides of the church and the books are usually on some big tables in front of it.

At the end of the Passage you will find the Chocolateria San Gines.

This cafeteria is well known for its chocolate con churros, a strip of fried dough. These are specially popular after spending the night out dancing or with friends. Also on New Years Eve, before going back home, people like to have some chocolate con churros. You will find them in almost all cafeterias in Madrid, specially in the morning, as they are a very popular breakfast.

Just before turning into the passageway there is the famous discotheque Joy Eslava, which used to be a theater years ago. Many of its clients can be found after midnight tatsing the delicious churros at the Chocolateria. Join them at least once!

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@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
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