About the Author: Roz from Irish Nomads has a passion for new destinations and cuisines. She is fascinated by the cultural differences of each destination and enjoys learning about the local customs and traditions. Rio de Janeiro is her latest travel destination and she’s already falling in love with the city.
In Guidefrancophoneriodejaneiro, it’s helpful to brush up on some Portuguese phrases before arriving (especially greetings and numbers). Most store clerks do speak some English, but knowing at least a few simple words will help make the trip much more enjoyable. The city has an abundance of English-speaking tour guides, so finding a guide to accompany you on your trip is a breeze.
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The city’s architecture reflects both its European heritage and modern Brazilian influences. You’ll find the Arcos da Lapa aqueduct (1750), the Teatro Municipal (city theater) inspired by Paris’s Opera House (1809), and the Catedral Metropolitana (cone-shaped cathedral) in the downtown area, as well as the Palacio Gustavo Capanema designed by Le Corbusier and hosting the Ministry of Culture (downtown). The former presidential palace in Catete hosts a museum of recent history and has nice gardens, and the Museu Carmen Miranda exhibits the collection of the famous Brazilian actress/singer with her pineapples-and-bananas hat.
The beaches are another attraction, from the calm waves of Copacabana and Arpoador to the high surf in Ipanema and Leblon. The sand is soft and inviting, the water is blue-green, and there are endless cafeterias for you to grab a refreshing drink or a snack. The beaches are also dotted with vendors selling everything from sun glasses to fried shrimp, and you can enjoy a traditional Rio beach experience by pegar jacare, where you wait for a wave to pass by then jump on top of it like riding an alligator.