Hometown: I was born in Beirut and spent most of my childhood here, except for 5 years when I was an infant where I lived among French and American expats in Saudi Arabia. I remember Christmas used to happen in the desert, and American Santa rode a camel. It was weird.
Based in Beirut since: March 2012. When I turned 18 I left for Paris, then 5 years later I moved back.
Day job: Fashion designer and volunteer caretaker of my baby nephews.
What brought you to Beirut: I had to move back since they kicked me out of France after five years for being highly qualified and not French. It was an unfortunate combination. Plus I wanted to spend time with my parents and family.
Cure for homesickness: When I feel that I need a bit of Europe, I head to Roy’s bar in Badaro. The way it’s set up reminds me of bars and cafes in Europe and specifically Berlin. It’s cozy and laid back, there’s no “concept”, and you can just sit back in a beach chair on the sidewalk and sip a cup of coffee or a beer.
Lebanon’s hidden gem: La Maison de la Forêt in Bkassine, a small village in the South, next to Jezzine. It is a communal eco-touristic site. You can sleep in small wooden huts in a pine forest and there are plenty of activities like biking, horse riding, canyoning and wall climbing.
Where we’ll find you on a Saturday morning: After spending an hour playing with my twin nephews, I would probably head to Dawawine with my boyfriend and have a glass of mint lemonade or a cup of their great tea selection while we’re both answering emails and finishing off some work.
Where you’d be on a perfect evening: With my boyfriend getting sushi takeout from Ginger & Co., then sitting on the couch and watching a TV show. We’ve been binging on The Americans, Orange is the New Black and Russell Brand’s now cancelled talk show, Brand X. Then we’d head back out to meet up with some friends at Torino Express for a few drinks, shots and some sidewalk randomness.
If you had one last meal, you’d make reservations at: Lux, because everything there tastes amazing and their cocktails are the best, and sometimes they play Tom Waits. They serve refined food made with locally grown organic products in an environment that feels like a cruiseliner in the ’60s.
If you found 100.000 LL bill, you’d head straight to: Rosa Maria Jewelry boutique and buy my mum a ring or a necklace. Of course I might need to add a bit of my own cash to the stray hundred.
Where you’d go for a staycation: Kaytoule. It’s a small village in the south next to Jezzine and it’s where my Dad is from. It’s my happy place. There is nothing better than an afternoon nap on the swing in my grandparent’s house after a big family lunch. That’s probably the most Lebanese thing I’ve ever said, but it’s so quiet and breezy up there that you can physically feel your mind calming down.
Images courtesy of Executive Magazine, Everplaces, Rosa Maria Jewelry and Nour Hage