08 décembre 2016

Shanghai bikes

Version Française Among the first images I got from China, the thousands of Chinese workers riding bicycles is probably one of the most vivid of my teenage memories. In the 1970's, China was just waking up from the Cultural Revolution and was known in the world as the "Kingdom of bicycles" (自行车王国), representing 60% of the whole world production. Even after Mao's death in 1976, the dream of every family was "san zhuan yi xiang" (三转一响), meaning 3 spins and one sound, to describe  a wrist watch, a sewing machine, a bicycle and a... [Lire la suite]
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29 novembre 2016

Da Ke Tang, my cup of tea!

Version Française Having tea in the “Da Ke Tang” is one of the most authentic experiences I had (and still have) in Shanghai. Da Ke Tang is an old Art Deco villa, which belonged to a top member of Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuomintang party in the 1930s. Hidden in the back of an alley on Xiangyang Road, this is the kind of place you would never find by accident. On the first time I went there, I could not believe my eyes: none of the original luxurious wood decoration had been changed. The floor, ceilings and door panels were all... [Lire la suite]
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23 novembre 2016

Shanghai butterfly

 Version Française  When recently flipping into Lynn Pan's wonderful book "Shanghai Style", I saw a picture of a lady sitting on the bumber of an elegant 1930s luxury car. She is gorgeous, staring at the photographer. She is dressed with Western clothes although she is undoubteddy Chinese and her hair is curled. She wears leather boots, in the maneer of an English Lady returning home after a fox hunt. This photo is the one of Hu Die, a prominent film star of Shanghai 1930s! Hu Die (meaning butterfly in Chinese) or Hu... [Lire la suite]
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13 novembre 2016

Vertinsky, the Russian soul of Shanghai

 Version Française Among the famous characters who happened to live in Shanghai 1930s, one quite particular is Russian singer Alexander Vertinsky. Born in 1889 in Kiev, Vertinsky started his singing career as a in 1916 with a most memorable performance as "Black Pierrot", embodying Russian melancholic soul with an expressionist version of the famous Comedia Del Arte character. At that time, other European artists like Sarah Bernhardt used to dress in black and white to emphasize the expressions of the face and hand moves... [Lire la suite]
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02 novembre 2016

Shanghai vertical village

Version Française I recently sneaked into one of the most surprising buildings in all Shanghai: Hamilton House. Hamilton House was erected in 1933 by architect office Palmer and Turner for real estate tycoon Victor Sassoon. Victor Sassoon was the heir of David Sassoon, a Sefardim Jewish who had fled Bagdad in 1829 after Dawud Pasha came to power. He settled in Bombay, today's Mumbai, where he created a business empire with help of other Baghdadi Jews. Although he never spoke English, he was made a British citizen to reward his... [Lire la suite]
20 octobre 2016

Bund 18 follies

Version Française When recently visiting Bund 18, I was impressed by French chef Joel Robuchon's bakery on the ground floor. Inside, most products, like sandwiches or cakes are delicately prepared, showing high quality and surprisingly affordable. A croissant would sell at 15 yuan only and a tart at less than 30, a far better price for value than in other fashionable shops. This new venue is one of the surprises of Bund 18! So let me introduce this amazing place.  History  Bund 18 was built in 1923, designed by... [Lire la suite]
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16 octobre 2016

Shanghai Halloween ghosts

Version Française Halloween is coming, so let's talk about ghosts for a while. When I arrived I Shanghai, I bought a photo album in which there was a big night picture of the Xiang Yang market (photo left), a sort of open air market common in Asia where people get cheap clothes and copies. Unfortunately, at the time I bought the book, this place was already gone as construction of IAPM shopping mall had begun. This is one exemple among others of how fast Shanghai changes and how almost impossible it is to keep updated with its latest... [Lire la suite]
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16 octobre 2016

Fantômes pour Shanghai Halloween

English version Halloween arrive, aussi parlons de fantômes. Lorsque je suis arrivé à Shanghai, je suis tombé sur un livre où se trouvait une photo de nuit du marché de Xiang Yang. Il s'agit de cette sorte de marché en plein air que l'on trouve en Asie avec des copies et des vêtements bon marché. Or, à la période où j'ai acheté ce livre, il avait déjà disparu, remplacé par les travaux du shopping mall IAPM. Ce n'est qu'un exemple des changements qui ne cessent de s'opérer à Shanghai et qui font qu'il est quasiment impossible de... [Lire la suite]
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11 octobre 2016

Shanghai nostalgia

Version Française  I sometimes wonder why I love Shanghai so much. This has probably something to do with nostalgia. Indeed when I compare Shanghai with other cities I equally (or let's say also) like, Istanbul will immediately come to my mind, then Tbilissi, Budapest, Paris, Rome, Mumbai, Berlin, Qingdao, Harbin,... quite a long list actually! All these amazing cities, although not as big as Shanghai, have all something in common: They tell us about history! In most of them, traces of the most often brilliant past still... [Lire la suite]
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09 octobre 2016

Shanghai homo delphinus

Version Française As the biopic on oceanographer Jacques Cousteau featuring Lambert Wilson in the main role, "L'Odyssée" is about to come out in France, I cannot help myself from thinking of another deep ocean lover who was born in Shanghai: Jacques Mayol. Jacques Mayol is known all over the world from Luc Besson movie "The Big Blue" (last photo) which was inspired by his life. He was the son of a French architect living in Shanghai, Laurent Mayol who used to work for the French delegation in the 1920s 1930s. I could not... [Lire la suite]