PHOTOS: An afternoon at the Parque Francia

January 15, 2016

In Barrio Escalante, just east of the Santa Teresita church and the Casa del Cuño, you’ll find the beautiful Parque Francia. This peaceful and charming San José park has become a gathering place – a popular location to enjoy the evening. In a hip neighborhood increasingly filled with new restaurants and bars, it’s also a low-cost, open-air alternative for a meal with friends. On a sunny Wednesday afternoon The Tico Times went to the Parque Francia to enjoy the calm ambience.

A group of friends enjoys a picnic. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
A group of friends enjoys a picnic. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Food and beverages are a must. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Barrio Escalante resident Ana Isabel Gutiérrez, 82, who lives across from the park, told The Tico Times about the changes she’s noticed over her decades in the area.

“When I moved here this was not a park; it was a farm. Then the Robert family [Louis Robert Brouca, in 1975] donated the terrain, and the French Embassy inaugurated it. Roses from France were brought to decorate the park. In 2006, [San José Mayor] Johnny Araya, along with the French Embassy and the ] Municipality of San José, [remodeled and] inaugurated the park as we know it today,”  Gutiérrez explained. “Now, it’s frequently visited by a lot of young people, and it’s beautiful.”

The park's statue. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
The statue that watches over the park. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Friends chatting at the park. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Friends chatting. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Lego is one of the reknowned dogs around the park. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Lego is one of the dogs well-known to frequent visitors. Alberto Font/The Tico Times

On this sunny summer afternoon, the park was packed with people. Various groups of friends enjoyed picnics, music and good companionship.

Music, food and friend companionship are the best during these summer afternoons. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Music, food, friends and sun: perfection.  Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Banana bread is great for a picnic. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Banana bread is great for a picnic. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
At this time the sun's beginning to set. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
The beginning of sunset. Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Regina Alpízar and Silvia Granados, 23-year-old friends,  sat on the grass enjoying the scene.

“It’s a very safe place, and people take ownership of the public space. Everyone can do whatever they want,” Alpízar and Granados told The Tico Times.

Regina Alpízar and Silvia Granados pose with their friends. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Regina Alpízar and Silvia Granados pose with their friends. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Another group of friends happily enjoying the afternoon. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Another group of friends happily enjoying the afternoon. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
The park's guards pose for photo. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
The guards of the park. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
A couple enjoys the afternoon along with the park's nature. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
A couple enjoys the afternoon. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Writing at the park is always fun. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Putting pen to paper, al fresco. Alberto Font/The Tico Times

“I like that it’s a calm place where you can come and enjoy the afternoon with other young people. You can do whatever you want and no one is going to judge you,”said Melissa Jiménez, 21, who came to the park for a meal with her friend Carolina Zúñiga, 22.

“The park has a very distinct vibe, very tranquil. It’s pretty nice. The people are young, and it also allows us to go back to the parks and reactivate that space that was deserted for a long time,” Zúñiga explained.

Melissa Jiménez and Carolina Zúñiga eating their delicious sandwiches. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Melissa Jiménez and Carolina Zúñiga share a meal. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Nothing's better than sharing the afternoon with friends at the Parque Francia. Alberto Font/The Tico Times
Alberto Font/The Tico Times

If you are strolling along the streets of Barrio Escalante, don’t miss out on the Parque Francia – especially on these lazy summer days.

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