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All about Warsaw

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warsaw

There’s a “Christmas Market Fever” all over Europe these days, and Warsaw doesn’t escape the bug. This city manages to fascinate every Christmas, with new, designer decorations adorning its main markets, streets bathed in light, and a coat of snow… the guaranteed “white Christmas” experience. Plus… the architecture in the old town, much rebuilt as a tribute to the city’s past and traditions, creates the perfect setting for a romantic Christmas. And Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw is fit for royalty, but with affordable luxury accommodation, and gourmet cuisine, guaranteed to make out of your Warsaw Christmas experience the memory of a lifetime.

angel

The Christmas markets of Warsaw kick off this weekend, on November 27, and are planned to last till December 23, 2015. The main market, at Plac Wilsona, is the most popular, as well as the most interesting of all. It’s highly touristy, so expect everything that comes with the “territory.” But unlike other traditional Christmas markets around Europe, this is an international event, with 24 exhibitors from Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and so on. There will be, of course, enough exhibitors from Poland to satisfy your needs for local arts and crafts. The usual holiday treats, including aromatic mulled wine, are a given.

Another popular Christmas market takes place at Barbakan. It’s the perfect destination to shop for indigenous arts, crafts and handicrafts. More than an opportunity to buy Christmas gifts and decorations, this is also the place to see craftsmen showcasing their skills, traditional entertainment, and you can even meet the Vikings! Pastries, hot dishes, cold cuts with Polish traditional mulled wine are the promised treats. The program is designed to make happy visitors of all ages.

Barbakan

The Christmas Market in Ursynów is another favorite of the locals. It sells a range of regional products, artistic objects, authentic souvenirs, and Christmas decorations, as well as Christmas foods. There’s no market without mulled wine, so don’t worry about it. This market has many activities designed exclusively for children, but there’s a lot for adults too.

Still not convinced? Don’t take our world for it. Just check out the Top five European Christmas Markets recommendations by The Sun, to see Warsaw ranking among the best in Europe!

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piano competition

Visitors to Warsaw in Autumn are treated to any number of festive events. Right now Poland’s capital reverberates with the sounds of the nation’s most famous composer and virtuoso pianist, Frédéric François Chopin. Through October 23rd, visitors to the city can enjoy the latest edition of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition at the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic.

Organized by the Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina, the piano competition is one of the most famous musical events of this kind in the world. Launched in 1927, the event is one of the oldest such competitions as well. Held only once every five years, this is one of the very few monographic competitions dedicated to a single composer. Originally organized to perpetuate the music of Chopin, the event is also an effort to sustain Chopin’s style. For a time, this competition was the only such event allowing pianists from around the world to compete for recognition.

Recalling the first event from the Winter of 1927, 26 young pianists participated, with the winner being a Russian pianist named Lev Oborin. Since then, the event has grown to its stature as an internationally-prized competition, which has witnessed greats such as; Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimmerman, and, more recently, Yundi Li. This year’s competition features competitors like Seong-Jin Cho, from South Korea, and Dmitry Shiskin, from Russia.

Interested visitors may purchase tickets to the Warsaw event at the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic, or online. Those unable to attend may watch via live stream the Grand Finales on Full Sessions of the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition YouTube channel.

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Plac Zamkowy

Śródmieście is the cultural heart of Warsaw, a place of wonder and great tourist interest, comprising both Stare Miasto and Nowe Miasto (the “Old” and “New” towns). This is where you will find many of Warsaw’s monuments, architectural gems, museums, and famous eateries.

Stare Miasto, with its Old Town Market Place, the true heart of the Old Town – officially on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites-, may be tourist central, but well worth it of attention, as it is home to some of the most notable Warsaw landmarks you have to see while visiting this beautiful, historic, city. The city’s own symbol, the Warsaw Mermaid sculpture by Konstanty Hegel stands here since 1855. The Warsaw Historical Museum is another “must-see” attraction of this neighborhood, and so are the Adam Mickiewicz Museum and Strona Zakrzewskiego.

St. John's Archcathedral

St. John’s Archcathedral in Warsaw (Image by Adrian Grycuk)

St. John’s Archcathedral (Archikatedra św. Jana w Warszawie) is an outstanding landmark of Śródmieście. It stand right to the Jesuit church, another impressive religious attraction. Entrance for both is free, and the treasures waiting inside are all noteworthy. St. John’s Archcathedral is a Masovian Gothic gem, with Early Baroque decoration inside, beautiful chapels, and a valuable baptismal, which dates back to 1631.

The defensive walls of Warsaw – what’s left of them – can be observed in Śródmieście, too. More interesting, however, is the Castle Square, with its Zygmunt Column, a 1644 monument, one of Warsaw’s most famous landmarks, honoring King Sigismund III Vasa, who moved Poland’s capital city from Kraków to Warsaw in 1596.

Barbakan

Warsaw’s Barbakan as captured by Carlos Delgado.

The Warsaw New Town is another distinctive neighborhood of Śródmieście: it begins at the Barbican, a historic landmark designed by Jan Baptist the Venetian, one of the few remaining fortifications that once encircled Warsaw. Some must sees in this part of the city are the Maria Skłodowska’s Museum on Freta Street, and the New Town Market Square.

Muranów may be mainly residential, but it shows a lot of the authentic lifestyle in Śródmieście. This neighborhood also extends in the Wola district of Warsaw. Here, don’t miss the Museum of History of Polish Jews.

Museum of History of Polish Jews

Museum of History of Polish Jews (Image by Wojciech Kryński)

In Powiśle, you’ll find the beautiful St. Anne’s Church, as well as the historic Świętokrzyski Bridge. as well as the Warsaw University Library, and the university campus.

Last but not least, the Ujazdów Castle is a must if you visit this part of the city. It can be found in the historic Ujazdów district, between Ujazdów Park and the Royal Baths Park, both very popular attractions among the locals.

Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw

Paweł Oszczyk, the legendary chef at La Rotisserie Restaurant in Warsaw, has several favorites when it comes to shopping: and what can be better than learning where to shop like a local. For guests staying at Mamaison Le Regina, or Mamaison Residence Diana, but also for city visitors, here are some of the chef’s recommendations for fashionistas. 

Klif may be a chain, but it is chic and trendy, with designer and brand name offerings to die for, spanning the full spectrum of clothing, cosmetics and jewelery. Klif is often visited by celebrities from the world of fashion, entertainment and business, both local and international. This means: bring your gold card along, as here you will be shopping with the VIPs.

boss store at Klif

With 260 stylish shops, Galeria Mokotów is another landmark destination for fashion buffs. Since its opening in 2001, it attracts customers with its unique atmosphere and extensive offer of both commercial and entertainment services.

galeria

Arkadia is the largest mall in Poland. You should be visiting it for the landmark status of the venue, but also for its motto: you don’t have to be a start to get a VIP treatment. The mall lives up to all expectations: high end fashion, discounts that make some exclusive pieces available for shoe-string budgets too, cafes and fine dining, plus entertainment for all ages.

arkadia

For something different, and fashion by local designer Gosia Baczyńska, check out her flagship store on Floriańska 6. Popular with Poland’s celebrity crowd, the shop is an elegant stop off for the fashionista intent on taking home something fit for a VIP.

Warsaw designer Ania Kuczyńskahe has her own shop too, on Ania Kuczyńska Mokotowska 61. Inside, you can find a mix of authenticity and glamour the designer is so well noted for. Prepare to pay a premium for these clothes, which are designed to impress.

Another of Warsaw’s wonderful designer showrooms, the one filled with outstanding fashion by Joanna Klimas on Butik ul. Nowolipki 2 is a must see. Her stylish collections are inspired by the aesthetics of Polish folk art, and you will soon understand why the designer is so celebrated by fashion gurus.

We hope this short shopping guide inspires you. Please feel free to share with us your favorite shopping destinations in Warsaw, too! And finish a day of shopping with a fine dining experience at La Rotisserie Restaurant inside Mamaison Le Regina, to learn why Paweł Oszczyk is one of the most celebrated Polish chefs.

La Rotisserie

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Holy Cross Church Warsaw © stavrida - Fotolia.com

If you happen to be staying at Mamaison Hotel Le Regina this weekend, there are many interesting things to see and do in the city, and many of them are free. Saturday at noon, head to Zachęta Narodowa Galeria Sztuki (pl. Małachowskiego 3) for the fourth national Free Art Day edition, featuring artworks by Ai Weiwei, Edward Krasiński, Karol Radziszewski, Aneta Grzeszykowska and Sandro Miller.

On Sunday, also at noon, Bemowo Dances the Tango is a free dance workshop at Bemowskie Centrum Kultury on ul. Górczewska 201. Later, at 17:00, at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music concert hall, you can attend, free of charge, a chamber concert performed by foreign UMFC students. Among them, pianists Carlota Arcos Cano, Ricardo Ruiz Ruiz and Gulia Avellina, soprano Tatsiana Zialevich, and others. In the programme: F. Chopin, A. Skriabin, G. Cassado, G. Rossini, F. Liszt, M. de Falla. There’s also a concert of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra at the Polin Museum on Sunday, April 19, at 19:00, part of the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Speaking of the 72nd anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, don’t miss the ceremonies at the foot of the monument to Ghetto heroes.

You can also enjoy a leisurely stroll in Park Skaryszewski, a historic landscape park in the Pradze-Południe neighborhood of Warsaw, declared the Most Beautiful Park in Poland in 2009. This is not a touristic spot, rather a local gem, designed as an urban park center for recreation and relaxation, with a developed communication network, adapted to the contemporary horse traffic. At the heart of the park there’s an artificial lake, surrounded by rich vegetation, counting about 280 species of trees and shrubs. There’s also an artificial waterfall and a beautiful rose garden, perfect for romantic walks in the summer.

Park Skaryszewski

The waterfall in Park Skaryszewski (Photo by Alina Zienowicz)

The UW Library garden on Dobra 56/66 is a true gem: it is a rooftop botanical garden, designed by Irena Bajerska, and ranking among the largest and most beautiful roof gardens in Europe. It spreads over 10,000 m², boasting a multiplicity of plant species and varieties: flowering shrubs, junipers, Siberian peashrubs, willows, dwarf mountain pines, and much more. There’s also a fish pond, connected by a stream to an artificial stone with a small fountain. Ducks are populating the waters and the shores of the pond: a true attraction for children visiting the garden. All segments of the garden are interconnected with paths, bridges, and pergolas, and the views over Warsaw from here are simply breathtaking.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist is another place you could visit without spending a dime: besides admiring its outstanding architecture and beautiful religious art, you can also come here for a concert of sacred music – albeit there is a small entrance fee charged for such events.

Warsaw is also the city of Chopin, who was born here. The official Chopin route suggested by the City of Warsaw was inaugurated in connection with the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth in 2010. When you follow the route, you will find several multimedia benches, which have an interactive sound system that will play Chopin’s music. There are 15 spots where you can rest on one of Chopin’s Benches, all connected with landmarks that played an important role in the life of the composer.

For instance, at Radziwiłł Palace, where Chopin performed for the first time in public, the bench will play RONDO in C minor, Op.1; 32”. At the Holy Cross Church, you will listen to the MEMORIAL MARCH from SONATA in B minor, Op.35; 45”; while the bench on Miodowa Street will play MAZUREK in A minor, Op.68; 34”. This is the street where you will find Honoratka, the only venue from Chopin’s time that still stands in its original form.

This is a kind of experience that completes your understanding of Varsovian tradition in unusual and unexpected ways, in tune, if you will, and perfect harmony: the kind of experience that redefines the purpose of travel, enriching your soul.

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La Rotisserie

Pawel Oszczyk’s name is synonymous with fine dining. A true celebrity chef, he is the Executive Chef at La Rotisserie Restaurant in Warsaw, one of the finest restaurants in the city. Besides the fantastic culinary experiences that are waiting for you at La Rotisserie, the chef recommends several other eateries for connoisseurs.

Mąka i Woda (address: Chmielna 13A) is recommended for good pizza: this is a traditional Neapolitan pizzeria, which also serves original Italian dishes, prepared with authentic Italian ingredients and fresh, seasonal produce from local farmers near Warsaw.

Maka i woda

Opasły Tom Piw on Foksal 17 is even more interesting than the pizzeria, because it is both a bookstore and an eatery. The restaurant serves authentic Polish cuisine for every palate, and has a weekly changing menu.

Mielżyński Winiarnia on Burakowska 5/7 is a wine shop and bar, with a great selection of local and international wines, handpicked by sommelier Robert Mielżyński. The wine bar serves delicious appetizers and seasonal dishes. The bar has an open kitchen, where you can see the chefs at work.

wine bar

Another fine dining experience is offered at the Soho Factory, at Warszawa Wschodnia by Mateusz Gessler. The restaurant is open 24 hours, 7 days of the week, and offers creative Polish cuisine at reasonable prices. You can even cook your own recipes, alone, or with your family and friends, and you will enjoy expert advice from Robert Kondziela or Mateusz Gessler.

Also, don’t miss Atelier Amaro on ul. Agrykola 1. Reservations are mandatory to dine here, so email reservations@atelieramaro.pl or call 022 62 85 747. The ‘Moments’ menus are to die for, and the atmosphere relaxed, elegant and sophisticated, the mere definition of exclusive fine dining. The restaurant is surrounded by green, and the beautiful landscapes of the Ujazdowski Castle park.

Nolita on ul. Wilcza 46 is expensive, but well worth it. This is a place for hardcore gourmands, and reservations are a must. Call 022 292 04 24, or book a table on their website.

nolita

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leica

A thriving center of cultural significance, Warsaw is a destination for every budget, appealing equally to adventure travelers, culture buffs, historians, party goers, and the list could go on. This time, we’d like to introduce to you some of the most fascinating art spaces in town, featuring both contemporary and classic works, true temples of beauty, where you can enrich your soul, while getting closer to the spirit of this outstanding destination.

Our first stop is MiTo at Ludwika Waryńskiego 28, a concept cafe, that also acts as a gallery space, showcasing contemporary art by local creators, in small temporary exhibitions. If beauty is not enough, the cafe also offers an exceptional selection of books for sale: no matter what you like, you will leave this place richer.

MiTo

Leica Gallery (address: ul. Mysia 3 00-496 Śródmieście) is for lovers of photographic art. It mainly shows art by Polish artists and photographers, in temporary exhibitions (other solo, or group), mainly revolving around current trends and social realities.

Galeria Kuratorium is a space for contemporary art, but also a design store. A unique art concept space, this shop is exclusively focused on works by young local talent. What they sell here is an inspiring alternative to traditional souvenirs, authentic and valuable, an excellent choice for art collectors, but also for everyone who wants to enhance a home, or a work space, with quality artworks.

Kuratorium

More local art can be admired at Bęc Zmiana (Mokotowska 65) – a non-profit space, dedicated to the promotion of modern Polish art and culture. More than art exhibitions, this space also hosts concerts, events, readings, and other cultural activities.

The arts and culture center of Warsaw is unique, exciting, challenging and extraordinary. The locals transform simple spaces into exceptional concept venues, pretty much like Pies Czy Suka (Szpitalna 8), where you will find a design store and a cocktail bar sharing the same roof. On sale here, items by local emerging artists and craftsmen. You can sip a delicious cocktail while you admire the goods, pondering what to buy. It’s pretty hard to choose: everything is beautiful, valuable, and enticing.

Keret House

Last, but not least, the Keret House, is an ­art installation inserted between two buildings at ul. Chłodna 22.

The house’s location is where two ghettos – the large ghetto and the small ghetto met. Only a few steps from the house stood a footbridge that connected both sealed off areas.

A fully functional building, the Keret House is equipped with all the amenities required for living in the city. The Keret House is open for visitors only on selected days. Visit the website to learn when you can see this outstanding creation by Architect Jakub Szczęsny. Call it the world’s narrowest house if you will, and don’t miss it. This outstanding work of art measures 92 cm in its narrowest point ­and 152 cm in its ­widest point.

La Rotisserie seating

A Gem of Budapest: La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge

A new world opened as our mystery guest stepped onto the patio of La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge, which is, according to local media and residents, one of the most beautiful terraces in Budapest. And they are not wrong. Time stands still here, in a silent intensity, you find yourself captivated, under the magic spell of a relaxing urban garden. For you are the mystery guest. Welcome to a different hospitality experience. Prepare to enjoy the finest local dishes, the freshest local, and organic, ingredients, and the friendliest atmosphere in this magic city.

We’ve got it: you are a foodie. But, you are, probably, not alone. You are here to share the time of your life with someone special, and we will do anything we can to make your time with us as memorable as you imagined it. This is, after all, award-winning Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest.

It could still be summer: the patio is green and cheerful. Guests come, and go, but you can linger for hours, in candlelight, under the stars, savoring signature dishes inspired by both Hungarian and French traditions.

But then, the weather may not always be on your side, so La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge is a haven of sorts, even when the elements are hostile. If you arrive too early, that “hear-a-pin-drop” silence may put you off, but patience, dear mystery guest: the energetic staff will appear in no time, with just the right culinary suggestions to take away your blues.

La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge

Imagine indulging in a Barbary duck breast with Rougié duck liver, chili Beluga lens ragout and gingery green apple, arriving at your table looking pretty much as sensual as a Charles Willmott painting. Now, that’s perfection, as some celebrity chef somewhere would say in front of the cameras. But, maybe, just maybe, you want something with local flavors? A “Chef menu,” one of the two you can choose from, paired with the right sommelier recommendations, will do the trick. In other words, precious mystery guest, no matter the season, we will overindulge you, for sure.

Moscow’s Darling for Lovers: MEAT & MORE Restaurant

So, dear  mystery guest, you are now in Moscow, probably staying at Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka. Good for you! Did you know that this fine luxury establishment hosts the 11th Spa by Algotherm in existence? Yes, the hotel redefines pampering in all its forms. You can expect the same treatment from MEAT & MORE Restaurant, the jewel in our crown.

MEAT & MORE is the perfect setting for a date, for a wedding, and, why not, even for a psychedelic evening. Just look around you: the interior is so fresh, innovative, and unexpected, that it can transfigure into any theme you may choose. A wedding? We are a favorite partner of the Wedding Magazine, and many couples pick MEAT & MORE for a lively party, after they tie the knot.

The cuisine is refined and sophisticated, just like the interior decor by Anton Gorlanov. This is the only restaurant in the Mamaison collection to welcome you 24 hours a day, every day. When hunger strikes, just step inside the restaurant, and the staff will make you feel like a VIP, every time.

MEAT&MORE

If your question is “How happy can a steak make a man?”  then the answer from MEAT & MORE is “elated.” Steaks pass as simple meals, but not when they are prepared with the best meat cuts available on the market, and refined with signature gravies, and sides that put the world’s most famous restaurants to shame.

Not a “meat” fan? Well, there’s always the “more,” which stands for creative chef dishes, melt-in-your-mouth desserts, soups, salads, and internationally-inspired mains that change seasonally.

Timeless Elegance, and Cuisine by Paweł Oszczyk: La Rotisserie Restaurant, Warsaw

This imperial space is the reason why many local residents visit Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw time after time, every week. Everything you see, touch, or eat in this urban eatery is the best. You don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to indulge in the finest gourmet creations available in Warsaw.

The “grand” experience is open to all foodies, always changing, innovative, and fresh. The restaurant is as romantic, as it is family friendly. It is as suitable for business lunches, as it is for exclusive parties. And the terrace: is a sanctuary.

La Rotisserie interior

This is where you will find Chef Paweł Oszczyk, recently designated the Polish Chef de l’Avenir 2014, a prestigious award by the International Academy of Gastronomy, which recognizes culinary excellence. No wonder that the local food bloggers rave about the cuisine, and if you consider that the wines are hand-picked by Andrew Strzelczyk, the Polish Champion Sommelier in both 2012 and 2013, you’ll soon be convinced that only a few other selected restaurants in Warsaw come close to what La Rotisserie has to offer.

In other words, if you are looking for the ideal place to satisfy your passion for gourmet foods, this is it. Every other dish is more of a treat than the first, and every glass of wine is godliness.

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Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw

A charming European destination, Warsaw is as interesting in Winter, as it is in Spring, or any other season. With activities and attractions for every budget, this is the perfect cityscape, any time of the year. To enjoy a great time as a couple, or as a family, take advantage of our Winter Early Bird discounts, and save 20% at Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw or Mamaison Residence Diana. For those of you planning a trip to Warsaw this season, here’s what we recommend.

diana

First, have a blast at the Winter Town at the National Stadium. This is the second edition of a festival of sorts, that brings you 3 spectacular ice rinks, an ice hill with a slide and pontoons, and even an ice bar. Of course, there are many other exciting attractions: shows on ice “Kings on Ice” and “Xtreme Ice Show,” but also a disco skating rink and toddler activities every morning.

National Winter

Escape the gloomy days with a visit at the Wilanow Palace, and lose yourself inside the Labyrinth of Light, a light art installation covering over 1000 m², in the garden at the Orangery. This year, the theme is Alice in Wonderland – and the labyrinth offers attractions for young and old. 2015 marks the third and last year when the Labyrinth of Light art installation can be seen by visitors at the Wilanow Palace. You have time till March 15, 2015 to see it. The Royal Garden of Light is open every day from 09:00 till 16:00 – tickets are affordable and grant you access to other attractions at the palace, including the Labyrinth of Light, Garden of Imagination, and the Golden Courtyard.

light

Labyrinth of Light, photo by Marcin Mastykarz

Till February 15, 2015, you can still visit the largest Lego exhibition in Poland, which is on display at the National Stadium. On display, a 11-metre-long Titanic model, built with more than 500,000 Lego bricks; the new LEGO – Volvo excavator; the mock-up of the Simpsons family house in Springfield; Lego renditions of cars of the Polish communist regime era; and much more.

lego expo

Don’t forget to like Mamaison Hotels and Residences on Facebook for even more exciting travel news and updates from Warsaw, and for special offers from our hotels and restaurants.

Chopin Museum

Warsaw is advertised as the city of Chopin, because the great Polish composer Frédéric François Chopin was born and raised here. His musical genius drew inspiration for many of his early works from the life pulsing on these historic streets, and from the beautiful nature of the local parks.

“The muse of his homeland dictates his songs, and the anguished cries of Poland lend to his art a mysterious, indefinable poetry which, for all those who have truly experienced it, cannot be compared to anything else,” said Franz Liszt once, referring to Chopin.

Fryderyk Chopin Statue in Warsaw © Artur Bogacki - Fotolia.com

Fryderyk Chopin Statue in Warsaw © Artur Bogacki – Fotolia.com

In fact, Chopin loved the cradle of his youth so much, he requested his heart be removed after death and returned to his beloved Warsaw. So if you want to tour Chopin’s Warsaw, you only need to follow his heart.

Walk down Krakowskie Przedmieście, to find the Church of the Holy Cross, where the heart of the composer rests in an urn immured in a pillar. This remarkable church, one of the most visited landmarks of the city, was built between 1679 and 1757, and was a collaborative effort, involving the creative genius of several architects and artists, including Józef Szymon Bellotti, the royal architect at the Royal Court of Poland, for the main building; as well as Józef and Jakub Fontana for the towers and the facade. But nothing of the original works remains: the church was blown up by the Germans in 1945. What you see today is the work of architect B. Zborowski. Luckily, the urn containing the heart of the composer was removed during the Warsaw Uprising (1944) by the Germans, who gave it to Bishop Antoni Szlagowski. Only on October 17, 1945 the heart was returned to the church, during a ceremony that celebrated 96 years since Chopin’s death.

Holy Cross Church Warsaw © stavrida - Fotolia.com

It’s easy to see Chopin’s Warsaw like a tourist: the city celebrates its most beloved son with pride and joy, and promotes all the significant landmarks that were touched by the composer, one way or another. The official route suggested by the City of Warsaw was inaugurated in connection with the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth in 2010. When you follow the route, you will find several multimedia benches, which have an interactive sound system that will play Chopin’s music. There are 15 spots where you can rest on one of Chopin’s Benches, all connected with landmarks that played an important role in the life of the composer.

For instance, at Radziwiłł Palace, where Chopin performed for the first time in public, the bench will play RONDO in C minor, Op.1; 32”. At the Holy Cross Church, you will listen to the MEMORIAL MARCH from SONATA in B minor, Op.35; 45”; while the bench on Miodowa Street will play MAZUREK in A minor, Op.68; 34”. This is the street where you will find Honoratka, the only venue from Chopin’s time that still stands in its original form.

Honoratka

The composer used to dine and meet with his contemporaries often in the restaurant, back then called Kawiarni Honoratka. Today’s Honoratka is a place to discover traditional Polish cuisine, accompanied by the music of the master. Almost everything here is designed as an homage to Chopin: you will feel his presence, an uplifting experience, enhanced by cultural and artistic events and exhibits. And, of course, there’s even a Chopin menu.

Another uplifting experience on the itinerary is the Łazienki Królewskie Park, where, in the heat of July, August and September, every Sunday, from noon to 16:00 there are free Chopin piano concerts performed outdoors at the foot of the Chopin Monument, one of the most recognizable symbols of the city.

Łazienki Królewskie Park © aarstudio - Fotolia.com

The park used to be a playground for young Fryderyk and the son of the Prince. The gardens surrounding the various royal buildings are among the most beautiful in the city, and are popular for tourists and residents alike, not only for their outstanding landscape, but also for the events held here. Besides Sunday Chopin concerts, from June to September you can also appreciate performances by the Horse Quadrilles, which are staged on each first sunday of the month at 12:00.

Łazienki Królewskie Park is the site of the Royal Residence of King Stanisław August, today a prestigious museum, showcasing the Royal collections of paintings, sculptures, numismatics, and graphics, as well as temporary exhibitions on various themes.

No other landmark on the Chopin itinerary is as authentic as Salonik Chopinów, a small part of the flat where the composer spent his last years before leaving Poland. The flat, the only one belonging to the composer, which is still open to the general public, can be found inside Pałac Czapskich, formerly Pałac Krasińskich, and currently the Academy of Fine Arts. The apartment, however, doesn’t feature original furnishings, which were destroyed or lost during the World War II. Instead, the beautiful drawing salon was recreated in 1960 based on drawings by Antoni Kolberg.

If these landmarks are not enough to tame your thirst for knowledge, step inside Pałac Ostrogskich for the largest collection in the world of memorabilia and documents related to Chopin. One of his original pianos is still preserved here, together with manuscripts of his works, letters, notes, photographs, personal items, and much more. Unlike most museums celebrating the life and work of a local hero, the Fryderyk Chopin Museum is the most modern biographical museum in Europe. The experience is direct, hands-on, designed to satisfy curiosity and interest in visitors of all ages. 15 different rooms inside the palace are each a different “mini-museum” dedicated to the great composer.

This tour that celebrates Chopin will bring the purest of the local spirit closer to your heart. This is a kind of experience that completes your understanding of Varsovian tradition in unusual and unexpected ways, in tune, if you will, and perfect harmony: the kind of experience that redefines the purpose of travel, enriching your soul.