Photo: A tango demonstration

A tango demonstration in the San Telmo neighborhood

Photograph by Robert Frerck/Getty Images

Buenos Aires is often called the “Paris of South America,” for its soaring architecture and rich European heritage. But the city and its people, known as porteños, are a study in contrasts: European sensibilities and Latin American passion; wide boulevards and cobblestone alleys; steamy tango and romping rock and roll; sidewalk cafés and soccer fanatics; bejeweled ladies draped in fur coats and children rummaging through garbage for cardboard scraps. Buenos Aires, which sprawls over 78 square miles (202 square kilometers) and has a population of about three million, is a patchwork of distinct, fascinating communities, from the frenetic downtown and working-class tanguero neighborhoods such as La Boca and San Telmo, to wealthy districts such as Recoleta and trendy Palermo, to middle-class barrios such as Belgrano and Caballito.

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