FRANCE - WEEK-END IN MARSEILLE - MASSILIA DOLCE VITA

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LA PASSARELLE

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The charm of the countryside in the heart of Marseille? Bohemian style? Possible at La Passarelle. This Meditteranean restaurant serves healthy and tasty dishes all made with organic products. Vegetable and fruit salad, grilled fish or Kefta in a big garden near a Pétanque playgroung… Here it is.

ASK : If they’re open as they close in October when it starts getting too cold. And if they’re not, you can try tapas at their bar L’Alimentation Générale.

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JOGGING

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This former butcher shop revamped as a concept store is one of a kind in Marseille. Tastefully designed, co-founded by Olivier Amsellem (photographer) and Charlotte Brunet, it curates fashion items and lifestyle products not to be found anywhere else in town.  Aesop, Olympia Le Tan, Christophe Lemaire, Opening Ceremony, Adieu Paris…

Plus, there’s a hidden charming little garden hosting events at the back.

ASK : Olivier for some tips, where to eat, where to be. He knows the city like the back of his hands.

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MAISON EMPEREUR

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Manufactures françaises

Manufactures françaises

This is too good to be true. Old fashioned but modern. Chic but affordable. The oldest hardware store in France hasn’t aged a day in two centuries. From “savon de Marseille” (soap) to “Pierrot Gourmand lollipops”, here’s where you’ll find everything. Lifestyle paradise.

ASK : How to go to “Manufactures françaises” If you’re looking for made in France products only. Part of Maison Empereur, this little shop tucked in Le panier (one of Marseille’s loveliest neighborhoods) offers what’s best.

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SUSHIQUI

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Friendly Christian Qui, former landscape architect has trained 6 months in California and learned cutting techniques in order to become the fish master he is today. So there he goes, working all by himself  behind a little bar and transforming the morning’s small-scale fishing products into delicious and creative sashimis from Marseille. Enjoy them in an intimate and relax atmosphere between some Miso soup and oysters. 12 table settings here and dinner only. 

ASK : To have a look at Christian’s vinyle collection. And let the music play.

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image Roof of la Cité Radieuse
 
image Hotel Le Corbusier
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A visit to Le Corbusier’s “Cité radieuse” is not limited to architecture lovers. Besides the MaMo (art center),  the hotel, the restaurant and a bakery, you’ll find another gem at number 318 of this incredible building people of Marseille used to call “la Maison du fada” (the crazy man’s house). In cosy “SEMIS boutique expresso” you can enjoy a cup of coffee, fresh orange juices, cookies and muffins from Coogie coffee shop and buy traditionally knitted pieces from the cool brand “Atelier Semis”. A sweet treat while shopping.

ASK : For the home made ice cream… in Marseille.

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SORMIOU

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The road that leads to Sormiou is incredible, as you can see Marseille City on one side and the calanque on the other side. This vertigo feeling has a price. In order to go by car (and avoid walking an hour), you need to book a table in one of the two restaurants. Le Château (that I recommend) or Le Lunch (on the beach but not so good). Until October.

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LES GOUDES

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Les Goudes has an easy access by car. The best way to enjoy this calanque is to rent a sunbed at the restaurant La Baie des Singes (until October). Magical.

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Malaysia - George Town - Hotel - Sinkeh - Call it home

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Sinkeh (“New comer”) is some kind of treasure you’d want to keep secret. But because owner and stage director Chee Sek Thim puts 20% of the benefits into programming, meaning each guest contributes to support the Penang art scene, a hidden gem has to be unveiled.

 Re-designed to present a contemporary vision to an heritage building, this 19th century straits chinese house, tastefully revamped with wood and concrete, has nine rooms on its 1st and 2nd floor and an art working space on the ground floor. A Library and 2 open patios to chill. It’s rare to love a place so much that you’d come back to a city just for it. Sinkeh is that kind of hotel you can call home.

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ASK: To meet Sek Thim, among other stories, he’ll tell you why there are silk worm cocoons in glass jars near the entrance.

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TAIWAN - TAIPEI - VVG - Good Living

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VVG, which stands for Very Very Good, started what is today a lifestyle empire with a small restaurant fifteen years ago. Today spreading their “Good living” mantra, via their bistro, bakery, shops, (high end) Bed & Breakfast… And creating in a busy city a calm environment with american, european and japanese influence. You could spend hours chilling and visiting VVG’s branches, but I’d recommend you focus on VVG Something, their library (awarded one of the 20th most beautiful in the world), and VVG Chiffon (tableware and lifestyle products, think Merchant Mills, La savonnerie Bruxelloise…), both facing each other next to VVG Bakery and VVG Bistro located in a charmingly trendy area.

ASK: For the Miao Chocolate and strawberry marmelade at VVG Chiffon, Made in Taiwan

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Mumbai -Must shop- Bungalow8

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Since 2003, Mumbai’s beautifully styled first concept store spotlights the very best of Indian inspired design and fashion.  This is where Madonna and Sting shop when they are in town. From dining and living, bath, bed and fashion, everything is lifestyle connected. Walking thru the shop is like living in a dream house. Bungalow 8’s philosophy is to pair “Indian-ness with global-ness”. Charming.

ASK: For their house designed kimonos to bring some cosiness back home

At the time of writing, the Colaba store was about to move to Churchgate.

An organic pop up restaurant helmed by owner Maithili Ahluwalia’s mother is coming up in September.

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Mumbai -Cosy Brunch- Pali Village Cafe

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A 60’s European style restaurant with an Indian touch makes it one of the cosiest eatery in Mumbai. Heritage tiled floor and exposed walls, the decor itself takes you on a journey. Their menu is highly Mediterranean inspired so don’t expect to find typical local food here, for that you’ll have to go to Pali Bhavan next door. However, for brunch, this is the right place to be. Modern and old fashioned.

ASK: For their buttermilk pancakes. It’s just so good.

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Mumbai -Hotel- Abode Bombay

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Literally “Bombay house”, the only so called “boutique hotel” in Mumbai and old restored guest house is tucked in the heart of Colaba historical heritage district. Tastefully designed and furnished with a vintage 20th colonial century and art decor, the cosy 20 rooms meet all budgets. Complimentary breakfast and Wifi. Very convenient for a first time in the city.

ASK: To meet Lizzie the owner. She has very good city and travel tips.

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Mumbai - Local & global lifestyle- The White Window

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Former film actress Twinkle Khanna, ventured into interior designing and founded The White Window, a décor retailed store which aims to present items with timeless designs. Miss Khanna has won an Interior designer reward since then, and her shop provides a wide range of products from local artisans to globally sourced object and vintage pieces.

ASK: For the Buddha head candles. They never melt. Made in India.

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Mumbai -Must see- Bombay Electric

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Welcome to the coolest shop in Mumbai. If you’re looking for what Indian emerging talents and indie labels have to offer, it’s right here. Set in a beautiful heritage building facing the Taj Mahal, top names as respected fashion designers Manish Arora, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Sonam Dubal are also represented. The store also serves space for art projects, book readings and exhibitions.

ASK: to try some clothes on to feel part of Mumbai elite, who knows you might have saved enough to afford it in the end.

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Mumbai -Shop local- Fabindia

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Fabindia was created in 1960 by American John Bissell to curate sustainable rural employments. Today, the brand works with over 15 000 artisans. Their stores (over a 100) offer everything in one go, all made from traditional and hand based processes: Textiles, fashion items, stationery, furniture, organic food… Their body care products are particularly worth the try. All at affordable price.

ASK: For their lemon and mint foot scrub. Such a relief after a walking day.

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Mumbai -Socialite spot- The Table

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It’s a serious affair here, Native San Francisco Alex Sanchez who has been awarded the Best Chef in India title, creates his international inspired menu around seasonal products. Nearly all is procured locally. Small or large plates will adjust to your appetite (and your wallet). The perfect place to dine among Mumbai socialite family.

ASK: For their spiced lamb mini burgers. Good enough to share and to fit into their “lively social atmosphere”.

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