From Shanghai With Love

To Begum.. for making me feel home on the other side of the world.

A city that brings together the lights, the energy and the beauty of London and New York, and adding some Chinese spices on top… Shanghai is my latest favorite place to be.  Taking the two Chinese characters in its name from 上 (above) and 海 (sea), this upper sea city is a true gem in the Eastern part of China. With so much to discover.. it’s a little frustrating to decide where to start from, but here’s the Shanghai I loved.

Here’s my Shanghai..

Casa Pagoda A home furnishing and decoration store bridging the European style with an Asian touch. You don’t necessarily have to buy something – even walking around the store is as pleasing.  

Taikang Lu (Tianzifang) The Soho of Shanghai. An art district with small magazines, craft stores, coffee shops and trendy art studios hidden among narrow streets where you can find interesting bits and pieces.

Kommune Cafe in this district is one of my favorites. Try the falafel wrap with a freshly brewed cup of coffee served in old-fashioned milk bottles. Or if you’re in the mood, you can go for a coctail, or even better, a house spirit. Outdoor seating is available in spring/summer– right in the epicenter of the Taikang Lu quarter.

Antique Market on DongTai Road A true Chinese experience. Never pay more than 10% of what the seller is proposing you! Bargaining is what makes it more fun. Antique Chinese porcelaines, Buddha statues, Art-Deco flyers, Mao statues, pins, old books, watches.. anything you might think of. Truly inspiring.

Xintiandi A rather chic neighborhood offering you another bunch of stores, coffee shops and great restos. There is also a recently opened Hotel Costes – which brings together the classic Parisien Costes style with a slight Asian touch.

Dr. Wine Another recently opened spot where you can stop by anytime you like. Either sit at the bar or take one of the comfy leather couches for a glass of wine with one of the cheese/charcuterie/pate plates from the menu.. or if you prefer, you can also get a table. It’s a two-floor wine bar that is extremely relaxing. Friday and Saturday nights, the bar gets really cool. Cheers!

Lola A club-to-be lounge from two Barcelonan DJs that also has an outdoor seating section to enjoy in good weather. Great music, great sound, great bar. The club part is slightly separated from the bar/lounge section – which, I think, is a win.

Glamour Bar The name says it all. Great decor, great drinks, great experience. A must go – pre or post dinner.

Barbarossa Right in the middle of a pond in People’s Park, it’s a Moroccan lounge – and more importantly, my favorite brunch spot. Beware – doesn’t open before 11am on Sundays. If you go during spring time, enjoy the beautiful jasmines around.

Franck A tiny classic French bistro. Too many reasons to love it.

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