Nothing to do with Bizet´s opera, these are hillside townhouses with private walled gardens. They originate from Moorish times, and the design of the carmen expresses the Islamic idea of the inner paradise, a reflection of heaven. The Albaicin in Granada has many carmens, with a few open to visitors, such as the Carmen de la Victoria, on Cuesta del Chapiz. Its delightful multi-level garden features pebble mosaic floors, shady grottos and lush flora: bamboo, palm, cypress and pine trees; rose, honeysuckle and wisteria; and granada (pomegranate). It´s a university visitors´ residence, but ring the bell and they´ll let you wander round the peaceful, delightful gardens, with their Alhambra views.