Sofitel Melbourne on Collins - Luxury hotel - TAKING A STROLL BACK IN TIME TO THE BLOCK ARCADE


Completed in 1893, The Block Arcade is considered one of the late Victorian era’s finest shopping arcades and ranks among Melbourne’s most popular tourist attractions. Just how did it get its name?

The magnificent Melbourne arcade took its name from the practice of ‘doing the block’. This friendly expression referred to the stylish shopping trend of the late 19th century which involved dressing fashionably and promenading the section of Collins Street between Elizabeth and Swanston Streets. The ‘block’ was the place to be seen, and those who frequented the shops and tea houses on the popular thoroughfare were often recorded by caricaturists in the city’s social pages.

In 1892, the city of Melbourne was flourishing, and buildings mirrored the style of those in Europe. Designed by architects Twentyman & Askew, The Block Arcade was one of Melbourne’s most richly decorated interior spaces, replete with mosaic tiled flooring, glass canopy, wrought iron and carved stone finishings. Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, the arcade’s six-storey external façades are some of Australia’s best surviving examples of Victorian architecture in the Mannerist style.

Today The Block Arcade continues its reputation as one of Melbourne’s most magnifique shopping destinations, with a bounty of exquisite retail and dining offerings under the one roof. Be transported to a little corner of France at La Crêperie Saint Germain, shop a curated and ever-evolving collection of quality pre-loved and designer garments at VAULT boutique or escape into the artistry of natural botanical perfumery at Essensorie. Mais bien sûr, there are so many others we could mention – but you must go promenade!


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