Yesterday I made my first visit to the new-and-improved (?) Mercado de San Miguel
, the Madrid market constructed in 1916 next to the Plaza Mayor.
The Mercado de San Miguel was open and closed for the previous several years after numerous renovations. It reopened just last month after a total internal renovation. I have mixed feelings about "the new concept".
While the market does (very) basically adhere to what a market it, it also attempts to redefine the word. I noticed one fruit stand, one meat stand, one chicken stand, one fish stand, and one embutido and cheese stand. While this already sounds like a lot, these types of typical "market stands" were in the minority.
Other stands included 2 normal bars, 2 wine-tasting bars, a wine accessories stand, a classy pastry/bread stand, a tea stand, a candy stand, a flower shop, and 1 or 2 other specialty stands.
All of the employees seemed to be Spanish which is typical among these kinds of shop owners. (nearly) All of the customers seemed to be tourists & foreigners. I think I noticed only a few Spaniards.
The interior is modern, everything very new, very clean, even the downstairs bathrooms were clean, large, and modern. The shops themselves had new glass casings and modern decorations. The bar stools were modern too.
As I walked through, careful to take note of the place, it reminded me somewhat of the converted Mercado de Colón
in Valencia City, where a beautiful old market was converted to a kind of high-class, boutique market for those with money to spend. The Mercado de San Miguel made me feel the same, lots of money-carrying tourists sitting at the wine-tasting counters, chatting about their latest BMW purchases.
(Here's where I wax nostalgic...) I remember years ago when the Mercado de San Miguel was a typical market, with old-fashioned stands of every typical variety, Spaniards doing their daily shopping, and a few tourists taking photos. But this market is nothing like the old-time, typical, working market in Barcelona, the Mercat de la Boquería
. In that of San Miguel in Madrid, I didn't notice anyone taking photos because, I imagined, it wasn't a typical working market full of colors of rows after rows of seafood, fruits and vegetables, and Spaniards lining up to make their daily purchases.
So en fin, the new-and-improved Mercado de San Miguel
is pretty, modern, and stylish on the inside and historical on the outside. For this alone it's worth visiting. But don't think this is your typical Spanish market.Has anyone else visited the new market? If so, how did you feel about it?Do you have memories of the "old" market? If so, share them with us so that we may compared old and new.