To wander around this part of Madrid is to be reminded constantly of its regal associations. The magnificent Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales and the Monasterio de la Encarnación are both royal foundations, dating from the Habsburg era (1516–1700), while work on the breathtaking Palacio Real, inspired by the Louvre in Paris, began during the first reign of Felipe V (1700–25). Joseph Bonaparte was King of Spain for only five years (1808–13), but he laid out the plans for the handsome Plaza de Oriente next to the palace. Further afield, the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida was commissioned by Carlos ...

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