The origins of the city
Start the day early downtown where São Paulo began, at Pateo do Collegio, this building is a reconstruction of the monastery built in 1554, after the arrival of a dozen intrepid Jesuit priests. Soon a village grew, then a city, as two centuries of explorers, bandeirantes and Portuguese colonists came and settled. Inside the museum is a small display of relics from the 16th century, and a peaceful courtyard café.
Renowned for its eclectic style, the Theatro was built in 1911, inspired by the Paris opera house but its façade is a mélange of renaissance to art nouveau, and the interior is quite rococo with resplendent gold touches. The Theatro was the host for the transformative 1922 art exhibition that gave wings to the Brazillian art movement. Today it hosts the city ballet and symphonic orchestra.
Stroll across to the Mosteiro de São Bento, parts of which date to early 16th Century, see the beautiful stained glass windows from inside. This is the city’s main cathedral, the masses held have the most celestial Gregorian chants, though they are early in the day, and the monks host a legendary brunch if you happen to be there on the right Sunday.
Paulista food fanatics
The Mercado Municipal is the beating heart of ‘Sampa’s’ appetite for food. This is a magnificent cacophony of stalls brilliant with exotic fruit, colourful vegetables, wine and tasty pastries. The ceilings soar above ornate stone pillars and light spills through a 1940s stained glass window. Pull up a stool for a crushed fruit juice or challenge yourself to a typical snack, the towering mortadella sandwich or cod pastries.
Peace and calm is required, after this immersion in Paulista life. If you didn’t eat at the Mercado, return to Palácio Tangará for lunch, the menu includes many zesty salads by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and are delicious on a shady terrace, or by the pool.
Beauty treatments in the Sisley spa, limbs are loosened, neck muscles are soothed, feet are revived and complexions are refreshed, preparing you beautifully for an evening of elegant entertainment.
São Paulo State Symphonic Orchestra
An evening of music begins at Sala de Concerto São Paulo, where the moveable ceiling is designed to adapt by performances, giving the hall a worldwide reputation for extraordinary acoustics. The neoclassical building is interesting as it was originally a 1930s railway station. Today it is home for the highly regarded São Paulo State Symphonic Orchestra.
São Paulo gastronomy
Paulista’s typically dine from 9pm so after the concert is ideal to get the city’s enthusiastic culinary vibe. Restaurants are an entertainment for Paulista’s who are hugely appreciative, driving their chefs to ever greater heights. São Paulo is home to one of the world’s Best Female Chefs, Brazilian Helena Rizzo, from the minimalist and original restaurant Maní, while Alex Atala’s D.O.M. was already voted fourth Best Restaurant in the World. Here is a huge community of Italian, Lebanese and Japanese, with absolutely superb cuisine from these countries. Paulista’s tend to dress up so this will be an elegant and entertaining evening.
For after dinner music Sampa is always open. Try the awarded Madeleine Jazz Bar which serves jazz in a charming environment of the best quality, or Casa de Francisca for local samba, Chorinho and bossa nova rhythms, and Baretto which has an A List of national and international attractions. For more adventurous, Jazz nos Fundos in the bohemian Vila Madalena.