The street called Rúa do Franco is home to an important number of the old town’s eating establishments. Its restaurants are continuing with the legacy of the first innkeepers that moved here to cater to pilgrims. In fact, the street was named after the “francos” (free men) or foreigners that came here from beyond the Pyrenees.
On our walk, we will see a wide variety of seafood: lobsters, velvet crabs, ox crabs and spider crabs, which can be eaten in city restaurants just a few hours after being captured.
We can also see how some house façades still feature still carved stone symbols, such as the shell, indicating property belonging to the Compostela Chapter, the tree, representing San Martín Pinario, or the University’s five-star coat of arms.
This street can also be considered the historical epicentre of nightlife in Santiago. In fact, the two parallel streets of Franco and Raíña gave rise to a feat known to several generations of students as the Paris-Dakar rally. Nothing to do with sports, this night-time route involved drinking a glass of wine in each tavern and telling a joke. It was named this way since, curiously, the bar where it starts is called Paris and the one where it finishes is known as Dakar.
Compostela’s nightlife has now spread to establishments throughout the old town and also in the so-called Ensanche (new town), which have been forever bound together by the comings and goings of lovers of the night.