A look into the evolving standards of beauty in China, as a "pale thin and beautiful" pan-Asian look takes global precedence, whilst new models of beauty emerge with urban Chinese woman asserting their social and financial independence.
200 millions Chinese people will travel the world in 2018 and a projected 400 millions by 2030, representing more than the total population of the USA. Forget your own prejudices and discover the innate curiosity and worldliness of this new breed of independent travellers from China.
A Chinese-Japanese family of wanderers with feet firmly planted in both East and West, placing particular attention to raising children across cultures. They have settled in a beautiful Art Deco home in Shanghai's Former French Concession.
Few will know that China embraced a pared down and essential form of aesthetics under the Song and early Ming dynasty and went on to lastingly influence neighbouring Japan. China's new maturity after reopening to the world sees its growing middle class start to embrace home grown design that is reinventing traditional century-old forms in architecture, interiors and fashion.
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.
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.
Discover China imperial past and its thousands of terracotta warriors, then explore the rich heritage of cultural fusion in Xian's Muslim quarter.
A French couple raising their baby in New York city. Combining a world education with dashes of French flair, and a genuine and contagious appetite for life and new experiences.
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).
A short trip from Shanghai for an injection of nature and calm that is a total contrast to the hectic megapolis. One hour on the bullet train and a short car ride take you to an unspoilt nature area, within walking distance to the famous Lingyin temple.
A French and South African family raising third culture kids in Amsterdam, cherry-picking the best of all worlds to recompose their own parenting point of view and family traditions.
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 !
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.
We spent a few days in tranquil and easy-going Fukuoka, a smaller Japanese city on the Southern Kyushu island, Discover with us some great coffee, a shinto shrine with an unusual (and kids-approved) entrance, superb handmade udon and a local sports shoe brand that weaves its own fabric.
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.
We fell in love with cool and mellow Taipei. Beyond the well-known Taipei 101 views and street markets, we spent most of our time there exploring the little laneways of the Da'an neighbourhood, enjoying great food, great design and getting a sense for the local art scene. Follow us!
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.
Emma and Marco are well-travelled academics and social researchers, who recently moved with their young son from the inner city to an incredible modernist apartment in a vibrant community overlooking Paris. We met over a vibrant and tangy home-cooked meal to discuss their views on travel and borders.
A very quick work trip proved a perfect opportunity to start exploring the Sichuanese capital, I discovered a city that elegantly mixes modernity and tradition, with a strong local retail and food scene that gives Chengdu a lot of soul. Can't wait to come back and bring the kids.
Our latest Travel Fragment is an afternoon exploring the Rockbund Art Deco district in Shanghai and visiting the Song Dong retrospective at R.A.M.