If you are planning a visit to Merida, a stroll down the Paseo Montejo is likely to be high on your sightseeing list. Inspired by the Champs-Élysées, this leafy boulevard is lined with palatial mansions built in the days of the henequen boom of the late 19th century and early 20th century. During this time, local families grew wealthy from the cultivation of henequen or sisal, a native agave which yields a tough fiber used to make rope, twine and sacking. They built homes in the style of Parisian town houses or chateaus and there is even one with a minaret. While many now house banks or offices and the most famous of all, the Palacio Canton (shown here in our first photo) is the Regional Anthropology and History Museum, two are open to show visitors what life was like during the heady days of henequen when Merida was one of the world’s most prosperous cities.
Montejo 495 Casa Museo
This is one of the famous Casas Gemelas at the beginning of Paseo Montejo. The twin houses were built in 1911 by Manuel Cantón to the design of French architect Gustave Umbdenstock. Guided tours show visitors 20 rooms with original turn-of-the-century furniture, porcelain, glass, art and sculptures. With its wide staircases with delicate iron railings, columns and crystal chandeliers, this house has timeless elegance.
Open Thursday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Quinta Montes Molina
A short walk north along Paseo Montejo and set in beautiful gardens, Quinta Montes Molina dates from 1902. In 1915, it was purchased by Avelino Montes Linaje and is still owned by the Montes Molina family to this day. Guided tours of the house show visitors rooms full of original furniture, Baccarat crystal chandeliers, Murano glass, paintings and the family china. Porcelain and alabaster statues grace the halls and corridors. Sepia photos, art deco pieces, clothing, musical instruments, clocks and even old telephones paint a picture of family life over the years. Downstairs in the basement are the kitchen, the wine cellar, laundry and the servant’s quarters.
Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Plan a Merida trip with Thomas More Travel
Thomas More Travel offers day trips and overnight stays to Merida and tour desk representatives will help you if you would like to plan a longer trip.