London/Paris in Summer – the sun letter

Second edition of our newsletter across the Manche. Charlotte succeeds in her new position in Paris but her heart is still in London so I’m lucky enough to see her on a regular basis. With the summer – hot temperatures in Paris / still uncertain weather in London until recently – it’s more than ever the time to get the most of the 2 cities and to start planning your week-end. Look at eurostar.com or snap eurostar (if you’re more flexible) to spot the seasonal promotions. For this summer, we’ll talk about music festivals: Love Box in London/Lollapalooza in Paris, terraces and outdoors – barbecue versus “buvettes” and we mention a famous palace… All the links and details below, happy Summer across the Manche and let us know what you try !

biere en terrasse

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The Japanese House at the Barbican

The Japanese House,Exhibition, Barbican Center

Until the 25th of June, the Barbican – this excellent cultural center- houses the exhibition: The Japanese house : Architecture and Life after 1945Do not miss this opportunity to better understand  the evolution of the lodging after the WW2 in a country devastated by the bombs and in which a large part of the population is homeless. Under the US occupation (1945-1952) the Japan is influenced by the Western culture, its magasines, cinema, etc…Nevertheless, building houses is re-building a nation and a so-called “tradition debate” took stage in the society. The new accommodations should be inspired by the Palace style with raised floors, airy and open spaces or by a rural come-back with earthen floors and large roofs? A new genre called “home drame” emerges until the 1950’s and considers every social change under a domestic perspective. You will discover the famous directors Azu and Naruse who testify of this intellectual current. From the 1960’s, the Japan know a new era of prosperity. But the growth of the economy creates overwhelmed and contaminated cities. More and more, the architects reject the urban life and think the house like a safe heaven. The Tea house, silent and independent small room, build outside the house become a must-have. You will end the exhibition by a more immersive approach, you will enter the gardens, the kitchens, the bathrooms of the Japanese houses where some shoes and food products seem to be given up, to help you to project yourself in this domestic life. Enjoy your travel in Japanese land!

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A day at Chelsea

Chelsea, Pink Love Door, London

On a sunny Monday (it’s always better when it’s a workday), we headed with Charlotte to the Chelsea Harbour, a tiny marina, close to the Imperial Wharf station. To enjoy the view, choose the Chelsea Harbour Hotel, whose interest lies in its terrace. After that, pop in the Design Center, a building as interesting as the stores dedicated to the decoration and refurbishment it houses. Walking along the Thames (or trying to – unfortunately you have a lot of buildings in progress), you will reconnect with the famous Chelsea spirit, these small colored houses. Did I mention the famous painter Turner set his sights on the 119 Cheyne Walk? By chance, just in front of the famous river…sunset admirer forever. If you are a plant-savvy, push the doors of the Chelsea Physic Garden (as usual, all the links to the websites are in the main text), the 2nd oldest botanical garden in GB created in 1673. Then, leave for the Saatchi Gallery, the famous contemporary art Gallery where I always prefer the temporary exhibition rather than the permanent collection. For those who are fancy to do some trendy shopping, the King’s road should be the answer to the stores you look for. Have a nice Chelsea day!

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Tea time at Bronte restaurant, Strand, Trafalgar Square

Bronte restaurant, Trafalgar Square, London

Not so easy to find a charming but relaxing place in the thrilling Trafalgar Square…but we were not afraid by the challenge. Previously, we had confess our admiration for the UK designer Tom Dixon, that’s why when Charlotte has heard the Bronte (not a tribute to the Victorian poetess but to the Admiral Nelson, earl of Bronte, who has his status standing nearby) was the bar and restaurant opened in July 2016, designed by him, we haven’t hesitated too much…. Hopefully, we haven’t been disappointed at all. On this Saturday afternoon, we chose the Afternoon Tea, an exquisite and generous selection at £24. One of the best we have tried until now. High quality ingredients in the finger sandwichs, delicious selection of “petits fours” (lemon tart, eclair, cheesecake, chocolate mousse…) but above all the perfect recipe of scones. With its golden and copper reflects, the lights are welcoming and refined at the same time. For once, you have a lot of room between each table and few stairs on the left, 3 curtains here and there helps to create a cosy atmosphere and an out of time moment. And as an image is worth a thousand words…look at ours pics below.

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An afternoon in Stoke Newington

Stoke Newington, Church Street, London

We have spent an afternoon in Stoke Newington, the new trendy district at the North of Dalston (still the Hackney Borough) defined by some people as the “new Shoreditch”. A bit exaggerated for me, because Stoke Newington is the not the place-to-be to chill out but above all because its architecture is far more beautiful – oh the lovely Victorian houses – and its atmosphere evokes a trendy village. Even if all our addresses are located in the Stoke Newington Church Street, we advise you to come from the Canonbury station to enjoy the neighborhood and feel the calmness and the sweetness of the area. In the main street, you won’t find the usual utilitarian stores: Boots, Supermarket, falafel and co..but some design shops, stylish coffees and a small furniture flea market (Marton Street). Have lunch at the Antica Pizzeria di Michele to taste the famous double Mozza pizza (simplicity is sometimes effectiveness) and the adorable Green Room café hidden in a flowers shop. Enjoy then a glass of wine at the Stoke Newington Tea House (jazzy nights and beer garden). Look for the hidden Bansky “Royal Family” in the streets nearby and admire at the design Shop the English chess game conceived with UK famous buildings.

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New restaurant: Aster at Victoria

Aster Victoria, Café, London

A new comer in the Victoria’s neighbourhood on the food stage from February: it’s Aster. This French-Finnish restaurant gathers a Déli, a Café and a more classical restaurant. Furbished by the talented Russel Sage Studio (who has already created the Dishoom and Bounce interiors amongst a lot of luxury hotels, bars and restaurants), you will find a cosy inside, a vintage bar with an antique gold patina, some surprising and aerial lights and an incredible painting. Our advise: book a table at the café and share a lot of nibbles, sides, and starters to discover the nordic cooking interpreted by Helena Puolakka. We recommend the golden beetroot salad, the pork roll with the aquavit mustard, the wild shrimps and of course the home cured salmon. The beetroot borscht is very thirst-quenching and the duck salad delicious (ordering the small size is enough). The whole team is very caring and you can’t imagine a nicer welcome. Good to know, upstairs, you have 2 private dining rooms you can book for corporate events or a special occasion.

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Tom Dixon’s shop and restaurant, Portobello Dock

Not far from the Ladbroke Grove station, you will find a hidden gem: Portobello Dock, a converted Victorian wharf building, which houses the Tom Dixon’s design studio, his showroom and a trendy restaurant Dock Kitchen – and even a tea room run by his daughter. This unmissable British designer received in 2006 the “Design of the Year” award, after creating his own brand. He was the Art Director of the Habitat retailer before, but no doubt he has made the good choice. Stop at the restaurant and enjoy a Lebanese-style cooking on the first floor with a huge terrace opened on the canal (and £10 lunch during the weekdays). Entirely refurbished by Tom Dixon, peer at the smallest detail, from the lamp to the chair. After that, go downstairs and spend some time in the showroom. This incredible, and ultra-trendy, Ali-Baba’s cave with industrial inspiration and a clear tribute to copper will present you the latest furniture created by the designer.

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