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PHOTOS: An afternoon at the Parque Francia

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

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 statue that watches over the park. Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Friends chatting. 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, friends and sun: perfection.  Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Banana bread is great for a picnic. 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

Another group of friends happily enjoying the afternoon. Alberto Font/The Tico Times

The guards of the park. Alberto Font/The Tico Times

A couple enjoys the afternoon. 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 share a meal. 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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