PORTRAIT - Clementine & Nicolas - Shanghai, China.

Clementine and Nicolas spent a year travelling, most overland, from Japan all the way back to France. Their travel was motivated by deep cultural, architectural and culinary curiosity and a wish to experience maximum alterity. This was a catalyst to leave their home country's routine behind to settle in Shanghai after their journey. There, they are reinventing themselves and trying to change behaviours around them with their minimalistic, light-touch approach to living. Read on to discover these 'intelligent tourists" and why they feel absolutely in their element in China.

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CHINA / CULTURE - Coffee scene in Shanghai

I have to confess that my biggest how-very-futile concern before moving to Shanghai was whether I would be able to find decent coffee. We had been spoilt in Amsterdam, living just across the park from the beautiful (and award-winning) Scandinavian Embassy. I knew from my multiple trips to China that Starbucks was plentiful, but I did not expect to find any decent craft coffee in Shanghai.  It seems I had grossly underestimated just how well traveled many young Chinese are, and how the Chinese ancient obsession with craftsmanship can lend itself to superb coffee-making. I sat down with Anna from the ''Shanghai Coffee Daily" Instagram account, who meticulously dissects local coffee venues.

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TRAVEL FRAGMENTS - A RETURN VISIT TO HIP CHENGDU

Great coffee, stylish locals, a giant buddha, cute pandas and a large buddhist monastery at the heart of a hip retail complex, with one the best bookstore in China..... It did not take much to convince me to return to Chengdu, family in tow this time. Chengdu's brilliant mix of old and new and keen eye for design is attributed to the preminence of its art and film schools. Further explore the Sichuan capital with us (and refer to more of our Chengdu addresses here).

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TRAVEL FRAGMENTS - SHANGHAI OLD & NEW

A one-day itinerary from New Shanghai to Old Shanghai, from a morning cycling and skateboarding the new West Bund waterfront to an afternoon exploring the Former French Concession, via a lunch in the park. Kids friendly and all outdoors to make the most of a warm, sunny and low pollution saturday !

PORTRAIT - BIRGIT & AONGHUS, Shanghai, China

A well-travelled French-Irish family, who jump from one continent to another on a whim, cat in tow.  Discover their hilarious encounter and surprising family history, Today, they manage to be worldly, yet totally free of judgement. Their optimism and candour are infectious and proof that travelling and experiencing the world is the best recipe for childlike wonder. Birgit and Aonghus also tell us how they transmit these values very intentionally to their 7 year-old son.

PORTRAIT - MAYA - Somewhere between Mexico, Israel and Japan

You may recall our interview with the French-Japanese Sabine and daughter Lea in Shanghai and their tale of rock' n roll expatriation. Maya is Sabine's oldest daughter and a larger-than-life character. A cultural explorer with no fixed-abode, who thrives on authentic encounters, learning languages in the unlikeliest settings and, above all, discovering local cuisines. We were lucky to catch her on her stop-over in Shanghai after a few weeks in Japan and ahead of a mother & daughter trip to Kerala in India.

PORTRAIT - SABINE & LEA, Shanghai, China

Rich family tapestry and rock'n roll expatriation.

Sabine is an academic that I met in Shanghai and with whom I collaborated. I am fascinated by her youthfulness and refreshing world views. Sabine and her two daughters Lea and Maya are totally at ease in the world, which they explore with utter openness and empathy. I was lucky to catch up with Sabine, as her younger daughter Lea was visiting Shanghai for the holidays. Lea was about to relocate to Hong Kong, from Montreal. We met on a rainy Shanghai evening in the Former French Concession.