One of Madrid’s most beautiful squares, the Plaza Oriente has manicured gardens, statues, views of the Palacio Real and across the Casa de Campo. It was commissioned by Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, and has a very French feel. The equestrian statue of Felipe IV and statues of ancient monarchs were supposed to adorn the royal palace but were thought too heavy. Just down from the park are the Campo del Moro gardens, which in medieval times were used for jousting tournaments. With their winding paths, neat flowerbeds and fountains, the gardens make a lovely, civilized spot for a picnic or to read a book in the sun. The Café de Oriente (see SNACK), nearby, is a great place to enjoy a café solo overlooking the gardens, before heading back to the hurly-burly of everyday city life.
- Plaza Oriente,