Monday, May 30, 2011

Only Lyon.

Over the weekend a few of us internationals went to my friend's house in Lyon. My mother had told me it was nice but I did not expect to enjoy it so much! People always think that Paris has the best of French culture to offer, but in reality the FOOD in Lyon is in a whole other league!
Three words to describe the weekend: Eat. Drink. Sun.
We went out a whole lot since it was Lauren's 21st birthday, celebrations started before taking the train by drinking a bottle of bubbly at school. We went to an Australian themed club on a péniche, a club that has stock-market like fluctuating drink prices, an irish pub and a Bostom themed club. Hmmm I just realized how French people seem to love "exotic" themed drinking dens...
The weather was beautiful so we planned the weekend to have one day of visits and one day lounging by the pool... it was fabulous. Add 2 nights of going out until 4 am and you have a great weekend.

Charcuterie plate in a Bouchon Lyonnais. We ate so much French food: escargot, souris d'agneau (melt in your mouth lamb shank), salade lyonnaise (mmmm lardons), quenelles, chicken liver salad, beef tartare, tarte tatin, tarte aux pralines...


Le Passage, a sort of super chic "speakeasy" type bar. I had a Royal Highball, seemed appropriate. 
- 4 oz Chapagne
- 1 oz Cognac
- Simple syrup
- Strawberries
Served on the rocks.

This INSANE apartment we chilled in one night, it was huge and expertly decorated if not a tad impersonal...

Pool day among rose bushes, lavender and a bountiful cherry tree (pick your own cherries to cool off... ). Wearing my tiny european bathing suit, so useful to tan!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I confess, I am a stalker.

Well I stalk real estate listings. Especially in Montreal, New York, and any other over the top listing I find. I also check out The Real Estalker and Curbed a few times  week. Until today I used to debate if I preferred a slick contemporary space or something with a little more character and history. I have now found my ultimate home and I can firmly say I like a little ancient flavor. I should have figured that out a while ago, since I love contrast, texture and classics. I have always dreamed of having a really ornate, ancient living room furnished with super contrasting and eclectic elements. Here it is, in Montreal, for a mere 3.5 mil:

Classic limestone facade.

Deliciously quirky furniture choices.

Many a classic "design" chair. Ornate decorations made subtle. 

I love beanbags. Sitting on on right now.

Stunning LaCornue (second) kitchen.

A yard with character. I could throw a decent party here...

Monday, May 23, 2011

5 years.

Is halfway to a 10 year reunion...

I feel like everything has changed yet nothing has changed. Except my clothes are much more tailored. 

Its really time to get going.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Home sweet Home

Summer is here. School is driving me insane and the Swiss bore me. Hence I am really looking forward to being back home in Montreal and go to all my favorite hang outs. What I lack here is a good drink, a good coffee and good ethnic food. I am sick of cheese and endives! (well not really but you know, i miss my international cuisine and affordable luxuries!)

First of all, Baldwins. Everybody who knows me is aware this is MY PLACE to go. Any day of the week I know I will have fun here (except maybe certain Saturday's when the place is invaded by suburban folk). But even if the crowd sucks, the place is always gorgeous, the music amazing (mix of old school, some hip hop and a bunch of really cool hipstery new stuff, it usually gets more upbeat later in the night) and the drinks are the best in town. And the service is also great... but that is maybe because I have been going there for 3 years... sometimes thrice a week....

Buvette chez Simone. Wine bar, cold cuts, cheese. So fun all the time, much more relaxed atmosphere and beautiful people to watch! Their salads are also quite delicious, Audrey loves the greek salad with its HUGE slabs of feta.

Verses Sky terrace at the Nelligan hotel. I just discovered this spot last year with my friend Chloe and we spent many sunny afternoons drinking bubbly there, admiring her boyfriend working in the outdoor kitchen (best kitchen setup ever... minus the bees) and the stunning view. Try the "Piscine", a huge glass of Prosecco on ice with raspberries. Extremely refreshing, fabulous looking and gets you pretty tipsy!

McKiernan lunchonette and wine bar. In St-Henri a walking distance from Atwater Market and my apartment, super cute place to have lunch in a vintage-y setting with KILLER sandwiches and old school desserts (mmmm pudding chomeur). They also have an adorable terrace in the garden during summer months.

Mas Cuisine is a tiny fine dining restaurant in Verdun right around the corner from where I live. Chef/owner Michael Ross and his wife prepare EVERYTHING from bread to desert for the prix-fixe menu. It is my absolute favorite restaurant in Montreal, you can have an impeccable 3 course dinner for around 40$.

Chez Bong is my favorite asian restaurant. Its a Korean place on St Laurent in Chinatown. Try not to be too confused. It is in a basement with cedar planked walls and looks kind of suspicious, but all the dishes are super authentic and prepared by a little old Korean granny that smiles at you all the time. You can eat like a king for about 10$, which includes a chicken soup and all the traditional Korean kim chi side dishes. My absolute favorite thing to eat is the jap chae, a super slimy and stretchy sweet potato noodle stir fry. Mmmmm.

Café Myriade. Best. Coffee. EVER. Order a latte and don't you even DARE put sugar in it. (Award winning baristas, known as one of the best coffee houses in AMERICA.)

Fairmount Bagel. Cream cheese. Mmmmm. The best in the whole wide world, I don't care what people say, Fairmount bagels beat out St-Viateur because they are less dense and still have all the flavour (I used to be a St-Viateur fan but I was shown the light... and the place is much cuter, the experience of getting a dozen bagels is just so fun).

The urban chalet and rooftop pool at Imperial Lofts. Cannot wait to spend days roasting in the sun at Audrey's new place! Screw Hotel de la Montagne, this is way better, cheaper and closer to home.

Baldwin's : 115 Laurier Ouest
Buvette chez Simone : 4869 avenue du Parc
Verses Sky : 106 rue St-Paul Ouest
Mckiernan : 2485 rue Notre Dame Ouest
Mas Cuisine : 3779 rue Wellington
Chez Bong : 1021 blvd St-Laurent
Café Myriade : 1432 rue Mackay

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Till the World ends, apocalypse version

I am obsessed with this remix of Britney's Till the World Ends by Salem. I guess that it is more like a cover but who cares, it is so hauntingly beautiful/catchy!

Found it on my got to music blog 514 blog

Wallpaper @ Salone del Mobile

Here is a nice little video made by the good folks at Wallpaper magazine (yes I am obcessed with them) about the Salone del Mobile, you can see part of the Wallpaper Handmade exhibit at Brioni that I saw. I think I might have a small crush on editor in chief Tony Chambers....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


After Positano and Venice I came back to Lausanne for 5 hours and then it was off to the airport to take an EasyJet flight to Berlin for a "school trip". For all of you back home who don't know EasyJet, well its basically the cheapest way to get from point A to B in Europe when trains are not possible (trains are obviously easier... they don't measure your one and only piece of luggage).
It was my first time in Berlin and I seriously did not expect to LOVE IT SO MUCH!
Like wow, I really understand why it is widely known as the cultural capital of Europe, there is just so much to do and so much happening! True it is not a very "business-y" town but that means that rents are low and creatives are aplenty. We tried to do as much tourism as possible outside of the scheduled visits, seeing all the typical Berlin landmarks and constantly being shocked at how big this city is!

We had a private visit of the Boros collection, a private contemporary art collection housed in a Nazi era neoclassical inspired bunker that was once the loudest s&m/electro nightclub in town after the fall of the Wall. It was an amazing visit, most works having been commissioned by the museum itself and much of it being quite provocative... (hand job machine.... ) I would just love to have that light in my apartment!

It just so happened to be May 1st. Little did we know that meant a crazy party EVERYWHERE, and damn good cheap food in the street!

Mies Van der Rohe museum pavilion with a Calatrava sculpture in the middle = architecture orgasm. 

The Neues Museum, STUNNING. Seriously the most beautiful museum I have visited this year, just reopened after being destroyed during WWII. The David Chipperfield renovation kept all the original, war and time warped details and all the new parts are pure class. 

Jewinsh Museum by Daniel Libeskind. Architecture that actually gives you emotions. 

The "Cabinet of curiosities" at the Natural History museum. Shockingly beautiful dead stuff, like a jewel box. 

View from the ruined, Cold War era NSA top secret spy tower. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011


West 57th street, NY

Amagerforbraendingen Waste to Energy plant

Danish pavilion at Shanghai World Expo

8 house Copenhagen 

V house Copenhagen

Last night I went to an amazing conference by David Zahle from BIG architects, one of the most up and coming architectural firms on the international scene. It was fascinating, he presented us about 10 projects, most of them residential, and proceeded to explain the whole thought process behind the concept and the realization of each completed project.
What made the conference so captivation was Zahle, he was so energetic and charismatic, you could really sense how passionate he is about his work. BIG is pretty much takes a project and explodes it into something that is useful for society as well as visually striking, their motto being "Yes is More". Take for example the Amagerforbraendingen Waste to Energy plant, the contest brief was to simply create an envelope for the plant, but they decided to turn it into something for the people. Hence they created an urban ski hill, with vertical gardens and a smoke stack releasing ironic smoke rings. 
The slide presentation was also super fun, he really went from A to Z for each project, showing easy to understand but very well thought of diagrams as well as video presentations for some of them. Just to show how fun they are, they used Empire State of Mind as a soundtrack for their first American project, West 57th street. 
In a couple of weeks I have a conference by an architect from SOM, on of the world leaders in architecture, somehow I have a feeling that exposé will be a little less dynamic...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Laguna modern

After Positano, it was off to Venice! I went there once on a school trip when I was 15 and always wanted to go back and wander through the alleys and canals. Last summer I attempted to go but my efforts were crushed by an Italian train strike (NEVER trust Italian trains).
We stayed in a gorgeous Bed & No Breakfast right smack in the middle of Venice, but just off the annoying touristy traffic. It was in a 15th century house so we had a view on a courtyard, exposed beams, classic terrazzo flooring and moldings. So much better than staying in a generic hotel on land or a dingy hostel. Of course Venice is breathtaking and all, but the ridiculous amount of tourists made me feel like I was in a giant tourist ant hill, it really takes away from the charm of it. Positano might have been the definition of touristy, but there people are elegant and sophisticated. In Venice you are surrounded by every single tourist stereotype, everywhere. And the food is not as delicious... however we did find a great bakery near our flat where we got our morning cappuccinos and cheap sandwiches for lunch.
Going to Venice I had two things that I REALLY wanted to see: Palazzo Grassi and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Upon arrival I found out that Palazzo Grassi, a foundation created by French luxury tycoon François Pinault (LVMH) showcasing an incredible collection of contemporary art and installations, was unfortunately closed until June. However I found out that they had a sister museum called Punta della Dogana that just opened last year after an extensive renovation by starchitect Tadao Ando. Finding that out made my spidey sense tingle.

The building is incredible: it is airy, modern, ancient and timeless at the same time. Perfect for showcasing large scale contemporary art installations by the world's most influential and shocking artists.
I fell in love with Jeff Koons for the first time, I had always thought his work to be too easy and tacky, but it really has an eerie presence that captivates you. There were also installations by one of my longtime favorites Bruce Nauman (his retrospective at the MAC in Montreal a few years back is the first contemporary art exhibit I remember being moved by), Paul McCarthy (crudely thoughtful), Julie Mehretu (epic, intricate images that I could stare at for days) and Maurizio Cattelan (I was familiar with the name but not his work, his marble "gisant" sculptures were really haunting, loved it).

Julie Mehretu

Maurizio Cattelan

Jeff Koons

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is probably one of the best modern art collections of the 20th century. It really is a must see even if it is kind of a zoo (the tourists know about this one...) because a who's who of art is assembled here and creates a deliciously eclectic mix.

The food in Venice was good, but not great. I blame the tourists, I feel that restaurateurs got lazy. But I did have a mean crab gnocchi, this being once again a fishy kind of town. My favorite food moment thought was walking thru the Rialto market everyday, the fish and produce on display was salivating! The fact that it is housed in the same building for the past 500 years helps too. 
Anyways thats it, Venice really is a place to see because it is absolutely unique and charming, but an extended stay is really not necessary, the smells and hoards of tourists are quite suffocating. However, be sure you check out the contemporary art there and not just the palazzos! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I found the beautiful people

I just got back from my 13 day European Spring Break Extravaganza and lets just say I have done it all. High end, low end, classy, trashy, modern, ancient, etc. 
After staying in Naples for a night (dirty dirty city, fun people thought) the first leg of the trip was in Positano, the premiere resort town on the Amalfi Coast. The people we met there were quite surprised to see two youngsters actually staying in such a posh town (people usually just come for the day) but we kindly omitted the fact that we were staying in the one and only hostel and quite literally had the best deal in town: private bedroom with large terrace and a million dollar view. All for 80 euros a night. 
This town is just beautiful. Built on the hillside with winding staircases and dramatic views everywhere. But what really makes Positano so incredible is the high quality of EVERYTHING. You will not find any bad tourist trap restaurants, or tacky street vendors. It is all high end and fabulous, without actually being overpriced!
Of course one of the highlights was the food. Pasta, pizza and lots of seafood. I think that we ate pasta with some sort of seafood at LEAST once a day. I also discovered my ultimate pizza: pizza bianca (no sauce) so basically just a baked crust, topped with fresh mozzarella, paper thin prosciutto, large parmesan shards, arugula and a drizzle of olive oil. The pizza in Positano was actually better than the pizza we had in Naples... go figure.
The beautiful people. This place is known for attracting the "jet set" crowd. And wow. It really does. I have never seen so many PERFECTLY dressed beautiful men and fabulous women in one place. I think Audrey found her future husband at least 10 times. The people watching alone makes the trip worth while. 
And now for the fabulous partying. Little did we know that easter weekend was the "launch" of the season so when we showed up at THE club, Music on the Rocks, we had no Idea how ridiculously amazing it would be. As you can see the club is quite... um.... kitsch. It is right down by the beach and INSIDE a cave, but somehow the decor just works and really makes you feel like you are in another world, which is what a club should do. The crowd was just so beautiful we were at a loss for words. Music on the Rocks really exemplifies the club mystique that most places fail to attain. It is glamorous, dreamy and filled with beautiful people drinking fantastic (strong) drinks. The VIP is filled with actual VIP's and there is no Ed Hardy trash to be seen anywhere. Men wear sharp blazers and are dressed to the 9's, and women are glamazons in high heels. 
What made our evening particularly pleasant was the people we met: fabulous jet setting older gay men (with a personal assistant and an 18 year old protégé in tow) who invited me and my two girls to join them for the evening. We had the ONLY private VIP area overlooking the dancefloor and the whole place, other friends from the hostel would pass by and be just like WTF. I want to be like these men when I glow up they are the definition of class. They rent a villa overlooking Positano each Spring, have houses in Miami, NYC, London, Switzerland.... One of them is on the board of Ferrari, another is in some sort of field relating to politics, and they do NOT order bottles. Drinks have to be made by the bartender and swiftly delivered to our box as soon as the previous one is done (the personal assistant made sure of that). They went clubbing only to show the 18 year old (the son of a good friend straight out of boarding school) a good time, and boy did he have a good time with "his" brunette and blonde that came with me. But it was all innocent pleasure drunken debauchery. 
I really recommend going to Positano. It is another world, unlike any other resort town I know. Eat, tan and party.