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Shanghai: The Sassy Mama Guide By Chloe Reuter

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A true globetrotter, Chloe Reuter is from Luxembourg and the UK, was born in Brussels and has lived in Asia for almost 20 years.   The guru of luxury PR in China, here she gives us her picks on what not to miss in Shanghai.

Describe Shanghai in 3 words.
Absolutely Totally Fabulous

Best hotel in Shanghai when travelling with kids?

Xingguo Radisson in the French Concession. Slightly old style but set in the most incredible garden in the heart of the old French Concession, super for kids to run around! A green oasis in central Shanghai. Great swimming pool too.

Your favourite place to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner? Why?

To be honest, there are not that many specific “kid friendly” places in Shanghai. So it’s always a good idea to improvise and keep coloring pens and paper in your bag! Try breakfast at Element Fresh – great juices and healthy breakfast. Dim Sum for lunch at Crystal Jade. Spanish at El Willy in a superb Art Deco villa on Dong Hu Lu. Get a table in the garden when the weather is warm enough!

What is your favourite thing to do with your kids in Shanghai?
My children are 2 and 4. If the weather is nice we’ll put them on the back of our bicycles and cycle through the French Concession, stopping at parks and picking up dumplings. Sunday mornings we might head to the antiques market on Fang Bang Lu which is full of interesting things to explore. We also go for walks along the river, we bring their bikes so they can cycle around.

Best places to eat with kids?
The Kitchen by Salvatore Cuomo
in Pudong.  Or on a nice day walk long the river with a view on the Bund.  Sit outside in the sun with a pizza and watch the boats go by.

Kid friendly museum?
The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium in Pudong – kids and adults love it. We also love the Science and Technology Museum in Pudong.

Best outdoor activity?

Take a picnic and head to the Shanghai Zoo in Hongqiao. It’s a huge park with tons to do and see. Don’t miss the baby pandas.

Favourite spa?
Shui Urban Spa
in Fergusson Lane. Totally white and pure, leaving you absolutely refreshed.

I get my hair done at…
SuperStar on Yuyuan Lu.  30 RMB blow-dry in 30 minutes! You can’t beat it.

I get my manicure pedicure at
, Pauline Lee’s adorable shops are dotted around town. Try the Fuxing Lu branch in an old European townhouse.

The three shops I can’t live without are:
Philippe Le Bac for the best cashmere – fabulous designs and prices. They manufacture cashmere for some of the world’s top luxury brands. Pay by the gram! For Summer check out their bamboo/cashmere and bamboo/silk mixes.

Kid’s Republic on Yuyuan Road. Great bookstore with beautiful books, many are Chinese editions of famous English-language kids books. They have storytelling sessions on weekends.

The boutiques along Xinle Lu/Changle Lu. Some of Shanghai’s best shopping is in these eclectic little boutiques. They are dotted around the French concession. Take some time to wander around.

Who I have on my Shanghai speed dial…
, the best pilates studio in town on Zhenning Lu. Their reformer classes will whip you into shape fast!

Best place for xiaolongbao, Shanghai’s traditional dumplings?
, either Shanghai Centre (Portman) or Xintiandi branches. Children love it! Make sure they watch the chefs making the dumplings. They will be mesmerized.

Best place for sweet treats?
Baker & Spice
, Anfu Lu or Shanghai Centre. Delicious.

Your favourite souvenirs?

For cute accessories with a Chinese twist head to Shanghai Trio.  I also love Song Fang Maison de Thé for their delicious tea with retro tins which add a colorful twist to your kitchen.

Can’t live without…
My bicycle.

What’s your favourite time of year in Shanghai, why and what do you love to do?
Spring and Autumn. Wake up early and head to Fuxing park, you’ll see a charming side of Shanghai which is fast disappearing: morning tai-chi, cha-cha and tango dancing, kite flying, old men walking their pet birds, people jogging backwards….Fuxing park also has a small area with rides for little children. On nice days they can join painting classes there too.

Don’t miss…
The wholesale flower markets like the one at the top of Wan Hang Du Lu. Full of wonderful flowers, delicious smells, and lots of interesting things for children including fish, turtles, rabbits, crickets, etc.

Take a walk around Tianzifang, near Taikang Lu. The area consists of a maze of little lanes, which are continuously evolving into shops, galleries, cafes, etc

The fabric market on LuJiaBang Lu. Release the fashion designer in you. Pick your fabric and style, and have clothes made in a day or two. Great for children’s clothes too. Bring your Bonpoint and Jacadi favorites to have copied in other materials…You could even get a matching outfit for a favorite doll!

Kid’s Market at Pu An Lu. A cavernous market with dozens of stores. Stock up on anything you need!


What advice would you give families visiting Shanghai?

If you have a weekend, head out to Moganshan in Zhejiang Province, 2.5 hours drive away. It’s where Shanghai’s expatriates used to go to escape the hot Summer, they started building houses there over a hundred years ago. Stay in an old European villa on the mountain surrounded by bamboo. Go for hikes, stop for tea and cake at Mark Kitto’s lodge and enjoy some quiet time away from Shanghai! Kids love it!

Adults should check out…
Go for a date to Mr&Mrs Bund! Huge menu of French tapas type dishes. Lots of fun and great for people watching.

Tell us one thing about Shanghai we don’t know.
Shanghai is developing at breakneck speed, much of what you see as a visitor is shiny and new, and makes you say WOW. Don’t forget to explore the backstreets, the lanes, the old Art Deco houses dotted throughout the French Concession. A huge part of Shanghai’s charm is the old Shanghai, which is disappearing fast. Call Jonathan at Luxury Concierge to organize a private and unforgettable tour.

*Chloe Reuter
A true globetrotter, Chloe Reuter is from Luxembourg and the UK, was born in Brussels and has lived in Asia for almost 20 years (Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo). She speaks and writes fluent Mandarin and has been in Shanghai since 2004. She met her husband there and they have a son and a daughter.

She started her career in Tokyo for Reuters TV and then Bloomberg TV. She then moved to London for a year with Channel 4 News before returning to Shanghai to head up Public Relations for DDB China Group. In early 2010 she set up ReuterPR, a boutique agency specializing in Luxury Communications in China. Chloe is probably one of Shanghai’s biggest fans and plans to be here for many years to come. She says, “You can never get bored in Shanghai!”

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