The best place for shopping in Seville is Calle Sierpes, a narrow pedestrianised street which is shaded during the summer offers both conventional souvenirs and high quality items of the new, stylish Spain.
In the former category would-be Carmens – Bizet’s classic opera of the same name was based in the city – will flock to Molina at No 11 where frilly flamenco frocks start at 99 Euros but go to over 200. Like many of the shops on Sierpes Molina is open 10.00am till 1.00pm or thereabouts with a long lunch before opening again at 5.00pm for four hours. Sevillano’s shop with the best of them but definitely not during the afternoon siesta.
El Cronometro, No19+21, is a double-fronted watch shop. Number 19, all dark wood with traditional ceramic tile designs whereas Number 21, is much more modern. Beautiful looking watches abound in both, but then when prices range from 3,450 Euros to 11,000 and go ‘Don’t even think about it,’ they have to be. Unless either a serious collector or seriously wealthy El Cronometro is the sort of place you look at whilst aspiring to.
Maqueduon at no 40 is neither tourist trap nor high style unless the Panama hat is to make a comeback. Unlikely but you never know. These once-necessary and now laughed at head pieces range in price from 9.5 to 68.5 Euros. More curiously still the shop sells the old style flat cloth caps as worn in many a British sitcom.
More conventional souvenirs are to be found at Zadi at 48, Diaz at 69-71 and Dizal at 75. Quick gifts and great paperweights for office workers are the small brightly-coloured tiles, ceramics being a tradition in, and a strongpoint of, Seville. These in Dizal were 1.50 Euros each with small pot thimbles between 2 and 6 Euros each being another possibility.
Some of what you see here is simply put tourist tat but there is real value and style in some of it. Most of the tourist shops do a good variety of shawls. Dizal’s selection ranges from 27-89 Euros and whilst some might be a bit dangly they are adaptable to both winter and its summer airconditioning.
Similarly the fans, just whats needed when that self-same airconditioning breaks down, are lovely. They are also very Spanish and used the right way massively alluring. Zadi had some plain ones at 3 Euros and a rather nice one at 45 Euros which had a plum blossoms design to it.
Where we will go, and at speed, when we or anyone generous we know wins the Lottery is Hermes Govantes at No 60. (Tel 954 501 100) although there are several other stores throughout Seville and Spain and a website at Hermesgovantes.
Whilst not as consistent or as high profile as the Italians or the French, Spanish design has something; we’d have the lot because we loved the lot. The work suits (okay maybe the one what could be considered dark purple, very dark we’d skip) but the rest because of their cut and quality we’d have. Pricewise they weren’t exhorbitant as the prices ranged between two and four hundred Euros. This is before we mention the beautiful, beautiful, beautiful workshirts at just over 60 Euros.
And boy do we wished we’d bought some of that leisure wear. The shirt that nearly made it back home but which didn’t because we all make mistakes and annoyingly was a snip at 65 Euros mark is still before us in our dreams. It was beautiful. Made up of several different but similar pale blue patterns it was the sort of thing that looks really good wherever its worn whilst underlining the reputation of Sierpes as the place to shop in Seville.