Mini street art in Paris

I was a bit distracted the last 3 months, but I’m back to give you more of what we come across when we open our eyes on our travels. This one is about some amazing street art I saw on my latest trip to Paris. As you can see here below, it’s not always the big pieces, but often those subtle notes on walls we pass by that make us smile. Enjoy!

Invader – In Paris there are over 1000 pieces from this artist. Under this pseudonym he started in the 90s deriving his inspiration for his designs on the Space Invaders video games. I walked around Bastille and Marais and picked up on the ones below.

compuman

I loved the one below which is not just about street art, but about the love for this city and the romantic note it has.

jetaime

 

MiniArt

SOBR – The below are by an artist designing under the theme ‘It’s time to dance’. Young happy people seem to dance the night away on the walls of the streets in Paris.

SOBR

And how about this one? In Marais where a lot of fashion houses have some flagship stores, they are challenged by outspoken street art designs questioning their integrity.

chanel

Paris is wonderful for finding the bigger pieces of street art, but more so for the subtle notes on the walls of their historic buildings. It adds this temporary twist on a city that is continuously evolving. Enjoy when passing through next time and drop me a note when you have found something special.

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Dinner in Lecce, Puglia

In a historical town in South Italy which draws in thousands of visitors every day over high season, it is hard to find some authentic restaurants between those touristy ones. Let me give you three that are worth a visit when you happen to be in Lecce.

Vico dei Sotterranei – let Via Giuseppe Libertine for what it is and check this restaurant in one of the side streets. They have some lovely outdoor space in a quiet street and serve great Italian food, mainly fishy stuff. I had a great ravioli with king prawns and tomato sauce. The salad I took as a side had a lovely touch with oranges and raisins. Decoration is a bit different, and service is lovely.

Vico

‘OO’ or Doppiozero – the terrace is an eye catcher and frequented by a nice crowd. This restaurant is mainly about their charcuterie and salads, which are a great treat and should be enough to fill you for the evening. Their main dishes are an Italian twist on some international combinations, and I’m not sure they got it (salmon with soya sauce Italian style?). You will come for those charcuterie boards, the chaotic but lovely Italian service and hanging out on the terrace.

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Tormaresca – again a fish restaurant, but such a great one. We came for lunch and had some seafood and the authentic tuna tartare with bread. Both inside and outside has got that special touch, the service is great and food is amazing. Just what you want when on this culinary hunt in Italy.

camascera

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Culinary heaven in Mexico

When NOMA lands in the street where you have your hotel for a 7 week pop-up you know that you might just have hit the right spot for great food. Yes, this is NOMA Copenhagen doing a side step in the tropics. This pop-up was already booked full out before it started and with a 700 USD cover charge this might surprise you, but probably not the foodies amongst us. While I was not in the know for this event to happen it set some great expectations for the restaurants in Tulum in general and I was not disappointed.

noma

Hartwood – one of the examples where a NYC chef with a passion for Mexican food decided to change his life and open a restaurant where his heart is. Eric Werner’s story is well described in this blog at Lucky Peach. Hartwood is an open air restaurant with amazing food using Mexican ingredients. They serve for example pulpo with vegetables you’ve never heard off, ceviche with fruit that is uncommon and all of this is mouth watering. Line up early, put your name on the list and wait knowing that it is more than worth it.

Hartwood

Mamasan – it was the first restaurant at the start of our holidays which we joined for lunch. We needed an airy space because we were just adjusting to the tropical temperatures, and Mamasan offered just that. On our zizag chairs we were tasting our first ceviche. I can tell you this was a great start of our holidays.

Mamasan

Casa Jaguar – run by Patricia Calles and her son Diego this restaurant combines Asian and Caribian food. In a stone setting with a wood fire for the kitchen, amazing dishes emerge and land on your plate. Casa Jaguar has that tropical vibe and the freshest of ingredients that are able to surprise your taste buds.

CasaJaguar

Cenzontle – this secret garden restaurant is a lovely candlelit place with Mexican style dishes with a modern twist. Ivan Angeles the owner, started as a waiter and then opened Cenzontle. It is indeed that hidden garden secluded from the rest of the world with lovely Mexican food being prepared for you. BTW he is also one of the founders of the stone building bar at the corner opposite Hartwood which serves great cocktails.

Arca – I quote from their website: Chef Maya Scales and Chef Benjamin Coe’s menu pays homage to the Yucatan Peninsula using the very best products from local beaches, farms, and the chefs’ own vegetable nursery. Their dishes change frequently according to the seasons and availability of the freshest produce. Below 8 people Arca accepts walk ins only and they can host you at the bar if you need to wait a bit. The best cocktails are prepared for you on the spot at the impressive bar.

Arca

Restaurare – not so upscale and a bit more humble is Restaurare. This vegetarian restaurant makes you turn to become vegetarian after one meal. I had a vegan tofu noodle dish which was amazing. The menu has theses dishes that seem not too interesting when you read their description, but they are amazing when you taste them. The waiter – there was just one – was running like crazy to support the restaurant which was pretty much full. Make sure not to miss it on the Tulum beach road hidden behind the trees.

restaurare

Gitano – A Mezcal Bar and a great restaurant that’s what is Gitano. With life music and parties organized throughout the week you will be sure to test some of their cocktails. And try to come early one day to test their menu. You will order different dishes like vegetables, carbs and fish/meat to form your meal and share amongst all on the table. And don’t forget the cauliflower Mole. This vegetable with the original Mexican chocolate sauce is their signature dish that you will probably see at every table.

gitano

Safari – The airstream serving as a kitchen will lure you in. This open air restaurant is really relaxed and camp (and cheap), with a lovely team bringing it all together. The fish taco’s are great, as is the ceviche, and with the drinks from the great bar you will have a wonderful evening.

Safari

All of the restaurants are in Tulum Boca Paila area, the trendy bit of Tulum. You pass by km 7.5 and the hippy part approximately one mile earlier and continue to find this culinary heaven and these trendy hotspots.

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Street art in Mexico

Mexico is an amazing colorful country. And this colorfulness also jumps out of the murals that you see when you travel through the country. I had the opportunity to spend some time in Tulum in Yucatan Mexico and view some great pieces when wandering the streets.

Aquarela

In downtown Tulum in the back streets there are the best pieces. This is one of my favorites from Aquarela a Miami based artist. The vibrant colors make this a wonderful decoration of the street with the Hotel sign matching perfectly with this surrounding.

animals

That the wild life in Mexico is an inspiration for many shows through the street art with octopuses, birds, tigers, and flamingos which I saw.

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And how about these two pieces from different artist but both inspired by displaying a setting where creatures with animal heads are enjoying a night out. This must but a thing, so please if you know more about this style, drop me a note.

graphic

And the graphic influence has not been ignored here either. The Tulum Coffee Art club in downtown Tulum has decorated its doors with a nice black and white piece. And a few streets further I found this other graphic one.

So besides from the Mayan temples, Cenotes, beach, and all other great things to see in Mexico, don’t forget to spend some time checking the creativity on the walls.

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Paris: culture, fashion and culinary tips

Paris is  great place to go for a long weekend, and I don’t think I need to remind anybody of that. And while we probably all look for something else please find my tips in this blog for great food, a bit of fashion and culture.

Food – a coffee at Hotel Costes with a sweet or avocado lunch? It definitely gives you the feeling that you’re in a special place, so why not. Or go for lunch at Canard et Champagne, and indeed eat duck and drink Champagne. They serve 4 main dishes all with a different twist on the duck, and serve champagne as if it is water. For your  dinner check Miss Ko for an Asian modern twist with a great beat in the background or Monsieur Bleu for sophistication and amazing food with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

ParisResto

Culture – of course no visit to Paris without a visit to Palais de Tokyo. This museum of contemporary art is open each evening till midnight and has always been able to inspire and surprise me. I’ve been floating in a boat through the basement, stepped into a 3d artwork and saw amazing video art. Let me know when you go and whether you liked it. A few years ago Fondation Louis Vuitton opened in Bois de Boulogne. Currently artist Daniel Buren plastered the facade with its striking coloring. It has different exhibitions on, so when you’re done admiring the building and Daniel Buren’s artwork try to find some time to enjoy the inside. Or go to the other side of town and visit La Maison Rouge. This smaller museum often has exhibitions on that are related to French history or political developments. It is the perfect fun place to learn more about this country and its people.

ParisCulture

Fashion – when I was in Paris this year it was Fashion week. And staying in the Marais neighbourhood half of the galeries were turned into showrooms for fashion brands. It meant that fashionable people were all around and we run into fashion shoots continuously at the corner from our hotel. A lovely atmosphere. For the shops to go, I give you three tips. First always check Colette. Yes, it is overcrowded with Japanese, but as one of the first concept stores in Europe it is still able to provide trends and new cooperation with brands to look out for. Second Merci with a more relaxed environment and in a space that is able to give more attention to its brands. And third, if you’re brave enough to ring the bell and wait to be admitted, visit one (or all) of the l’eclaireur shops for a dramatic emersion in exclusive brands in a museum-like environment.

ParisFashio

Always beautiful, always authentic, always inspiring. Paris is a city that has it all and draws me in to come back over and over again.

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Go local: a visit to Bath in the UK

Yeah, I love my travels. Hopping on a plane, and transporting yourself to a location where you find inspiration, challenging environments and other forms of living. I’m totally aware that you don’t always need to travel far to find this. In the UK take a trip to Bath and you might just find all that.

Stonehenge – half an hour from Bath is Stonehenge. A circle of big stones from between 2000 – 3000 BC is a throwback in time. It is possibly a burial ground of ancient times, and when you stand there it can’t but amaze you how different that time must have been to how we live now. Make sure to book this one in, on your way to Bath.

stonehenge

Roman baths – take a leap in time and transport yourself to approximately 60 AD when the Roman baths were built that you will find in this town. This historical site in the city gave it its name when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon.

romanbaths

Royal Crescent – and then in the 18th Century the Royal Crescent was built. This build of 30 terraced houses is the most iconic site in town and a great example of Georgian architecture. It is this style that is dominant all over Bath.

royalcrescent

And if you add to this a great range of historical streets with nice restaurants, good hotels and quirky shops what more excuses would you need to spend your weekend here instead of taking the plane to somewhere?

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About Mauritius: restaurants, beaches, nightlife and places to stay

Restaurants – Mauritian menus are often an eclectic mix to please the visitors and provide authentic dishes. So you will come across burgers and pizzas, but also their famous sausages, curries, and amazing seafood. In Grand Baie where I spent most of the time I found a few restaurants that I can definitely recommend. Le Capitaine is the up scale restaurant that offers this great mix, but if you want to go low-key and eat some great lobster go to Puchon in the center of town. La Botteghita is your place for great Italian food, and for the American vibe go to The Beach House. And don’t forget to check my favourite Visite Privee Restaurant, which just opened a few weeks ago and is a great place, with wonderful decoration and superb food.

If you want to really indulge yourself and feel pampered go to 20degrees Sud hotel for great cocktails, lovely food and service at their colonial restaurant. On the West coast at Belle Mare area, I would need to recommend The Plantation, with amazing sea view in The Residence resort.

foodmauritius

Beaches – the beaches in Mauritius are amazing! White sand, the blue-est waters, and the best palm trees. But where to go best? The North is supposed to have a bit less rain in general, so that could be your base. The beaches are either public (with entrepreneurial locals providing sun beds) or private beaches with hotels. The private beaches are often accessible against a day rate. One to recommend is Lux resort, there are two on the island in the North. I tried the one at Belle Mare beach and found that the service is great, the spa is wonderful, and they will for sure have secured some white sandy beach for you. For public beaches Mont Choisy is a good pick or Trou au Biches. You will join and find a local that has sun beds, and truck food in the shade to support any food or drink request you might have. If you are in the South try to visit Shanti Mauritius, which is a wonderful private resort, again accessible for a day rate. It has some great restaurants and service to your sunbed at the beach.

beachmauritius

Hotels – I stayed at a lovely apartment in Ocean Villas in Grand Baie in the North. There is a hotel adjacent so the advantage is that you can join the hotel facilities, but you are free to do so. It has a private beach which is lovely if you don’t want to bother driving around to find a good beach. At one of the next beaches you will find Mystik Hotel which is a bit more funky. It has the best rooftop bar, nice restaurant, swimming pool and a modern look and feel. If you want to go more traditional, and you have a budget to afford 5 stars check out 20degrees sud. This is a lovely colonial hotel with great service and on the beach.

hotelmauritius

Nightlife – There is nightlife in Mauritius that is to recommend to enjoy. As I spent most of the time in the North, Grand Baie, the recommendations are mainly in this area. Note that most of nightlife is happening on the weekend kicking off on Thursday. Go to Banana Beach Club for life music and a nice mix of locals and tourists. If you want to continue after there are a few options, for example club Les Enfants Terribles. This club is mainly frequented by locals and opens from approximately 11pm, and can have some great DJs on. It has a few rooms and a lovely outdoor area. Then you have OMG, and Insomnia/Vintage, where you will find an Asian crowd and popular music. But if you just want a chill after dinner, check the roof top bar at Mystik hotel for some nice tunes. I loved this one!

nightlifemauritius

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