This article explores the Paseo de San Francisco, an area of Puebla characterized by its gastronomic zone, historical monuments, and modern attractions.
The east side of Puebla’s Historic Center is pierced by the Boulevard 5 de Mayo. Many visitors faced with the wide and transited street, prefer to turn back to the safe haven located around the Zocalo (the most popular part of town).
Nonetheless, a quick (and careful) street crossing reveals a different face of the city. The historical Puebla is still there but thanks to some ingenious minds, a once industrial area have been spiced with modern touches to create a space unique in Mexico.
At the end of the 19th century, the area was dominated by two industries: tanneries and textile fabrics. Not long ago, the worn industrial buildings were converted into a commercial center. The developers, in an effort to save the legacy of the area, integrated structures and architectural details from the last century with modern materials and designs.
The result is a harmonious balance among chimneys, singular skylights, cafes, and shops. From an aesthetical point of view, we have to affirm how well all the elements work together.
However, a commercial center by itself is not going to attract so much attention. Here are other features that have turned the Paseo de San Francisco into a meeting point for the “poblanos.”
As I have mentioned in a previous post, this is the place to try the famous chalupas poblanas. Small tortillas (3 inches in diameter) are soft-fried in lard (they have to be pliable not crispy). Then, they are dipped in green or red sauce and covered with a little bit of shredded beef and onions (some add cheese). It is believed the dish was created to calm quickly the hunger of the industrial workers in the area.
It is a crime to leave Puebla without trying the chalupas. They have a fresh taste even though they are covered in lard. The Paseo de San Francisco offers many more regional dishes. It is an ideal place to try some of the best food in the city (and the chalupas, chalupas).
San Francisco Church and Convent
Some sources refer to Puebla as the Reliquary of America. Even though, the number of churches can feel overwhelming (how this one is called, I think I entered that one), make yourself a favor and visit the San Francisco Church. There is no other church like it in Puebla.
The structure itself was made with gray stone in a Churrigueresque style. It contains 14 Talavera murals in its façade and it is surrounded by daffodil and dark wine buildings. Take time to discover its many doors, murals, and details.
La Purificadora: A Boutique Hotel
This has become one of the chicest hotels in the city. It stands out because modern interiors are framed in what used to be a water purifying building. I was able to take a look around the property since I think I was not going to be able to get in.
There is a considerable-sized green area next to La Purificadora. The space is filled with flowers, sculptures, and benches. Young “poblanos” use the gardens to chat, rest, and eat a snack.
Shopping and Entertainment
In the area, it is easy to find an aquarium, a movie theater, shops, and restaurants.
I can’t believe a modern and spacious convention center is located inside the Historic Center of Puebla. Like the rest of what I have described, it was installed over textile fabrics. Today, it is considered one of the best places in Mexico to host banquets, exhibitions, presentations, concerts, symposiums, etc.
What do you think of Paseo de San Francisco? Let me know in the comments section below.