Freedom Avenue

Freedom Avenue (21)

Running between the Marquis of Pombal square and Restauradores square, runs the elegant and imperial “Avenida da Liberdade” (Freedom Avenue), a Portuguese version of the “Champs Élysées” in Paris.  

This avenue formed part of the Marquis of Pombal’s restoration project following the 1755 earthquake.

Its rational urban design was motivated by the original construction of a street known as “Passeio Público” (public passage) which stood in what is today the lower part of Freedom Avenue and Restauradores square.  

Paradoxically, not a lot of the public got to walk along it because it was flanked by walls and gates and was only accessible to members of Lisbon’s high society. It was not until 1821, when the liberals seized power, that the barriers were taken down and everyone was let in. 

There is very little left of the original street, a proud thoroughfare, ninety metres in width with limestone and basaltic stone abstract drawings on the ground, reserved for conversation and members of the bourgeoisie. However the present day “Avenida da Liberdade” reaches as far as the Marquis of Pombal square, much further than the original did.   

It still retains elegance and majesty but today has to cope with being divided by seven vehicle lanes as well as intense traffic on both sides, which makes it difficult to imagine the peace and serenity that members of Lisbon’s upper classes must have enjoyed in the past. However it does still contain several of its neo-classic palaces, like the “Tívoli” cinema at number 188.

This boulevard, built between 1879 and 1882, really is one of the most beautiful and elegant of the city.

Lined by luxury properties, in the present day it is one of Lisbon’s most expensive and sought-after streets to live in. You will also find here some of the city’s top hotels. Among the many fashion brands that are represented here in the midst of the avenue’s centennial trees and numerous fountains, are Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Prada, Chanel and Dior.

Therefore, if in the past walking along this magnificent avenue was a sign of elegance, today, three centuries later, it still is.

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