Athens is a modern metropolis and a vibrant capital that deserves to meet its new scenery. Leaving aside the touristic track, discovered your own Athens,, the hospitable, the charming one. Meet Athens through her interesting and special neighborhoods. Athens is not only Plaka and Monastiraki, but it is all those routes beyond the classics. Such a route we will follow today in a picturesque neighborhood: in the beloved Mets, the French lady of Athens.
Mets stands opposite the rock of the Acropolis and steal a glance at Lycabettus Hill. Formerly it was called because in its green hills adulterous pairs nest their love. Mets was named when in 1872 Karl Fix opened the first brewery on the hill of Ardettu, which he named Mets in honor of the conquest of the homonyms French city by the Bavarian in 1871.
In Mets, you feel as if the time has stopped. As if no intervention has touched it. It has managed to preserve the authenticity and integrity of the old neighborhood. It is the place where the past and the present live harmoniously together.
It’s certainly not one of those noisy and boisterous neighborhoods, that drift in their fast pace. It seems to be unsteadily silent, with its intense activity and vitality being covered by a veil of calm and tranquility. That’s the magic thing about the Mets. Itis a place with a tremendous positive energy that you don’t easily meet in the neighborhoods of the world. That’s why it was chosen by several artists and intellectuals to be their home. Up to nowadays. Somehow comes up the nickname bohemian. It is a pretty lightsome and airy neighborhood. It is urban and refined at the same time. It has this French finesse and creative air that is no coincidence that they resemble the Montmartre of France.
How to get to Mets
Mets is easily accessible via a number of transport methods. The most obvious is the metro (underground). It is a short walk from the Acropolis station and a 15-minute walk from Syntagma as well. There is a great view of the Columns of Olympian Zeus along the way. It is served by the trolley lines 11, 2, 4 and the bus lines 854, 227, A4.
The bourgeois Markou Mousourou Street, is one of the two main arteries of Mets. The rangy acacia trees along the sides of the road create bright green arches, giving the neighborhood vitality and energy. The wonderfully restored neoclassicals awaken your nostalgia and maintain that faded aura of the past.
The second main artery of Mets is Anapauseos Street with its long-lived cypress trees leading to the 1st Cemetery of Athens.
Its macabre scenery, with its floral and marble stores, is harmoniously conform with its bohemian scene. Some of the most must wanted hang-outs of the city are hosted here.
Side streets and Architecture
To truly meet the Mets, take a detour from the above main axes and let your feet lead you to the side streets and alleys, unfolding the tangle of the history of this urban neighborhood.
You will meet preservable mansions and reconstructed two-storey residences, remarkable examples of 18th and 19th century architecture. Most of their facades are embroidered with plaster ornaments, other covered with climbing plants and some others are painted in bright pastel shades.
You will climb steps with a view, you will take a rest on benches that have a lot to tell you, you will seek the shadow of the exotic palms, you will smell blooming farnesiana trees, you will steal images from the interior courtyards that hide behind the gates.
But what you will enjoy most through this wandering is the effortless mellowness of the old neighborhood. A favorite corner for many and mine, is the small pedestrian street of Nikiforos Theotoki. Every time I find myself in ́the area I will not skip the chance to make a pass.
The Ardettus Hill and Longinus Grove are the small oases that give the green kiss of life in the densely populated Metz.
The Ardettus Hill, right next to Panathenaic Stadium, took its name from the hero of Attica, Ardettus.
In ancient times, the Heliastes was sworn here and the little Eleusinian Mysteries were held. The hill maintains even today traces of our ancient history. A stroll through its twisty pathways will reveal worn-out marble slabs, surviving monuments and temples, hidden underground arcades and secret passages. From the bowels of earth pour out a positive energy that makes this small pine lung in the heart of Athens, bursting with life throughout the day. The most atmospheric time is when it starts to dusk, the lights of the city go on and the view to the Acropolis and the Columns of Olympian Zeus becomes simply captivating.
Another hill that colorings the neighborhood is Longinus Grove, between Markou Mousourou Str. and Anapauseos Str.
A renovated playground full of cheerful children’s voices, a basketball court for those who want to practice their sporting activities, many benches willing to listen to personal stories, earthen paths to wander, clusters of Fluffy bitter orange trees that offer you their cool shade, the perfect place for a walk with your four-legged friend. A park with action and life!
There are various folk tales and rumors about this parkland. That this is a mystic place where strange things happen. Paranormal phenomena, voices, sounds. If you are a lover of mystery, then Longinus Grove is a must-visited place.
An entire era comes alive in the Οlympion that remains stable in its post decades now. This traditional tavern is filling you with authentic local flavors. Right next to the number 9 of Anapauseos Street is Colibri. Small and cool. Here you can find “clean” street food, juicy burgers and special pizzas. In Anapauseos and Gorgiou Street corner was recently installed the AMERICANA, which came to add a little aroma in the neighborhood with its yummy drilled lokmas. Pay a bait to sweeten your palate.
CAFÉ & BARS
The Odeon at Markou Mousourou Street is one of those cafes that write their own story in Mets. The Odeon is Mets and Mets is the Odeon.
The boheme aesthetic, the relaxed atmosphere and the jazz blouse sounds, give you the feeling that you are in one of the picturesque cafés of Paris. The Odeon, comfortable and cozy, remains all time classic and is a favorite choice from morning until evening. The most beautiful balcony of Markou Mousourou Street is located in the number 1 and is the Skyfall. If you lay your hand you touch the Ardettus Hill, if you raise your head you reach the starry attic sky, if you lower your gaze you have the most beautiful view of the historic center of Athens. Besides, from the breathtaking view of Skyfall you will find signature cocktails and refined dishes with great music. We’re going to fly lower on Anapauseos Street at the all-day Café bar, Cain that has become the talk of the town.
In Cain vintage meets street art. The interior welcomes you with an impressive mural that represents the biblical story of Cain and Abel. Your gaze will certainly not overtake the art nouveau hanging lamps over the bar and you will surely feel the freshness of the stargazer that decorate the colorful jars every day. Don’t miss trying its coκtails, Nekroni and the Killer’s hand, inspired by the atmosphere of the next neighborhood.
A’ CEMETERY of ATHENS
I know that a visit to a cemetery only enjoyable could not be described. However, a visit to the First cemetery of Athens takes on a great interest. Leave aside your superstitions and spooky moods and meet the greatest open glyptotheque not only of the city but of the entire country. Except that some of the most important personalities who have marked the story and the development of the country, men of letters, art, political scene and fighters who fought with their lives are resting here. Here, also, are concentrated works of the largest sculptures in the country. Of Yiannoulis Chalepas, of Filippotis, of Drosis, of Demetriades and many others. It is an open-air museum of sculpture art, with works of great and priceless value, such as The Sleeping of Chalepas, the Grieving Angel by Ioannis Vitsaris, the burial monument of Georgios Averoff by Filippotis and many other remarkable works.
The roads of the First Cemetery of Athens have a cultural interest that is worth a walk.