The oldest store in Spain
Despite the fact that the Chinese bric-a-brac shops seem to have taken over, there are still those more traditional Spanish stores known to sell everything from fans to perfumes, toys and DIY tools that grace many a town across the country.
And, in the province of Huesca lies an example of one of these types of stores, which also happens to be the oldest shop in the country.
According to its current owner, Víctor Villacampa Sanvicente, Ultramarinos La Confianza was founded by a wealthy Frenchman, Hilario Vallier, in 1871. The shop has in fact been in Víctor’s family for three generations, as it was acquired by his grandfather just after the Civil War.
In the beginning, the store supplied sewing material and equipment and dry food, but over the years the range of goods was expanded by the subsequent owners until the shop was able to offer exotic spices, the best handmade products in the country and food specialities from the other side of the globe.
There were traditional Christmas liqueurs in December, salted cod during Semana Santa and chocolate in February.
In order to survive all this time, Víctor has had to move with the times and adapt to the needs of his customers, as they have also changed over the years. This also goes for the store’s décor.
Nowadays, Ultramarinos La Confianza is more than just a local store. It has become a tourist attraction due to its status, and attracts more than 25,000 tourists a year.
Funnily enough, many visitors have heard about the artistic wealth of the shop and come to see for themselves the allegory to Mercury, god of commerce, that has been painted on the ceiling by local artist León Abadías, as well as the cellar, which also acts as a restaurant, containing the full range of products sold over the years, and the coats of arms of the various European monarchies that reigned during the 19th century, amongst them from Spain and France.
Ultramarinos La Confianza is located at Plaza Luís López Allue, 8, 22001 Huesca. This is right in the heart of the historic quarter of the city, very close to the San Pedro el Viejo Monastery.
For more information, visit their website at: http://ultramarinoslaconfianza.com/