This quiet, attractive quarter, located on one side of the Church and Convent of San Francisco, just a few steps away from the avenue known as Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins, is an idealplace for whiling away the hours, far away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Santiago.
Its winding streets provide an adapted setting for taking photographs and enjoying the small cafés and shops located on what used to be the old patios of the Franciscan Congregation.
The members of this order, who arrived in the country in the 16th century, became owners of these lands, but towards the close of the 19th century, due to economic difficulties, were forced to sell them to private individuals and to the Chilean State.
Outstanding national architects, such as Ricardo Larraín Bravo and Alberto Cruz Montt, left their hallmark on the design of the mansions where renaissance, neo-Classical, baroque and colonial styles prevail. These architects were able to configure surroundings with characteristics all of their own, similar to those found in European towns, a hallmark that is still evident to this day.
In its early days, this quarter managed to draw in the elite, but as the city grew it gradually lost its attraction. Even so, it enjoyed a renaissance in the latter half of the last century, when well-known actors in the history of Chile, such as the visual artist Nemesio Antúnez, decided to take up residence there.
Furthermore, the arrival of important art galleries drew bohemians and intellectuals into this quarter, as it attracted the visit of such well-known artists and poets as the Nobel Literature Prize winner, Pablo Neruda.
The streets and buildings throughout this area are linked to episodes in the modern history of Chile, such as the Headquarters of the Socialist Party and the Corporación Londres 38, a property used as a clandestine detention center after the military coup. Nowadays, it is a center for cultural reflection and creativity.
The París Londres quarter was declared a National Monument under the category of Typical Zone in April 1982.