Londres 247, Coyoacan, Mexico! One of the most famous addresses in all of Mexico, yet to you it might just be known as the Frida Kahlo Museum or La Casa Azul!
I have been a fan of Frida Kahlo for many years and visited the place she once called home three times! You probably have seen the movie about Frida Kahlo’s life (played by Salma Hayek) or even if you just happen to know what she represents to Mexican culture and perhaps some of the world. Let me give you a quick run down of who she is and why paying a visit to this place is a must, when in Mexico City. And by the way, I make a yearly trip to Mexico City to visit my grandparents, so you will see me post about many places within the city quit often. Because Tenochtitlan is amazing!
Born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderon, on July 6, 1907, in Coyoacan, Mexico, to a German father and a mestizo mother, she spent her childhood in the family owned house, which one day would be known as La Casa Azul (the Blue House). At the young age of 6, Frida contracted Polio which caused one of her legs to become thinner and shorter than the other. In 1925, she would suffer an accident that would change her life forever; The wooden car she was riding in collided with a street car, causing her to suffer from broken ribs, collar bone and a metal handrail impaled through her pelvis fracturing it as well. Frida would spend an entire month in the hospital and many more at home recuperating from this near-fatal accident. During her recovery at home, Frida began painting many self-portraits of herself. The legend tells that her father had placed a mirror above her bed so she could see herself (you will see a picture of it below).
In 1927, she joined a communist party in which she met the legendary muralist, Diego Rivera and they married in 1928; though they divorced in 1939, they would remarry a year later and remain together until her death in 1954. Frida’s paintings were inspired by Mexican folk and culture and although many were self-portraits, they combined reality and myth, with an abundance of vibrant colors. Frida painted to express her pain due to the aftermath of the wooden car accident and of the polio she got as a child. As you will see in many of the photographs taken in the Casa Azul, she was very traditional and loved representing to her Mexican roots. She was a feminist, who was also known to have high profile affairs (most notably with Leon Trotsky) and was bisexual. In 1954 Frida’s health declined and she was found dead by her nurse on the morning of July 13, 1954. Her body was displayed at the Palacio de Bellas Artes (very prestigious in Mexico) and then cremated as she had requested. Her legacy continues to live on through her paintings and she will always be known as one of Mexico’s most beloved daughters.
Every time I visit La Casa Azul, I feel as if it is my first time walking through the door and I seem to always discover something new. I love walking through every space in the house that is open to the public. I imagine what living in this huge home in the early 1900’s must have been like. I imagine Frida walking throughout the house; I wonder what her favorite room was and in my mind, picture her in the patio working on one of her famous paintings. The house is enormous, with a huge garden and a very typical decorated kitchen (as you will see in the many pictures below) and you guessed it, its blue. Every artifact, painting, decoration, book, chair, bed, dish and other pieces of furniture, are authentic and once belonged to Frida and her family and later Diego Rivera. The Frida Kahlo Museum is open to the public year round, except every Monday and every national holiday. It is best to schedule your visit in advanced, you can do this on-line, and have the pass printed out to avoid the long lines to enter. Also, please note that there is a charge to be able to take photographs inside the museum and an additional charge for video recording. I highly recommend paying these fees because it is priceless what you will see and encounter inside, and to not be able to snap memories or record will truly be a shame. And yes, you are probably wondering how they will know if you paid or not, well they will give you a hideous permit that you must tape to the front of your shirt. Staff is usually walking around and if you are indeed snapping pictures or recording, they can ask to see your permit. I have seen someone escorted out for violating this rule. This is the information that you need to know when visiting the museum:
- The current general admission costs $200 pesos weekdays and $220 on weekends
- It costs $80 pesos for the video recording permit and $30 pesos for a photography permit
- The museum does offer discounts for children, natives, students and teachers
- You are not allowed to take large bags inside the museum (they will ask you to check your bag in, there is a fee for this)
- You cannot bring food, drinks or be chewing gum inside the museum
- Selfie-sticks are prohibited (insert sad face here)
The museum is located in Coyoacan, which offers many other sites to visit nearby, including the historic Mercado de Coyoacan (which I will tell you all about in a future blog). I truly hope that you enjoy your visit to La Casa Azul just as much as I do. If you have visited this place, let me know how you liked it. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any other questions and hope you like all 100+ pictures below, just as much as I do.