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Live Like a Local in Hong Kong

Rue Madame founder Ariane Zagury share her favourite places in the bustling city.

Frenchwoman Ariane Zagury has worked in some of the most prestigious financial advisory groups, but being raised in a family of textile retailers, it seemed only natural that she would ultimately return to her “roots”. In 2008, Ariane and her husband relocated from London to Hong Kong, a place she had visited as a child and had fallen in love with. She says, “My husband and I were both bankers in London and we felt it was the right time to return. And now seven years on, I have become a permanent resident.”

It was there that her dream of starting a business was birthed. “I moved to Hong Kong and saw a lack of fashionable, feminine and wearable designer brands, so I decided to open Rue Madame in 2010, to bring in chic Parisian brands. I’d become an entrepreneur in Asia – a dream come true!”

Rue Madame has quickly become one of Hong Kong’s hottest fashion chain stores, and the successful Rue Madame Fashion Group is also the exclusive partner in Asia for French luxury basics brand American Vintage. Both Rue Madame and American Vintage stores have just opened in Ngee Ann City. We caught up with Ariane to ask her for her tips on Hong Kong’s best.


Where would you go for a good meal?

My first choice is Le Relais de l’Entrecote (222 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai), from the famous steak frites restaurant in Paris. I must confess I am a partner so I have a bias, but I am obsessed. Another would have to be Yardbird (33-35 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan), a yakitori place. I have dreams about their KFC caramelized cauliflowers! My husband and I like Chachawan (206 Hollywood Road, Central), a casual yet good Thai restaurant. We sit at the counter and discuss all our upcoming projects!


Share some family friendly eateries…

To be frank, my kids are also obsessed with Le Relais de l’Entrecote’s French fries and yummy desserts. When we want to enjoy a beautiful view, we’ll go to Spices in Repulse Bay. The kids also love sitting at the conveyor belt counter at Sen Ryo in IFC Mall.


Besides Rue Madame and American Vintage, where do you shop?

Carven and Sacai are two brands that I don’t carry but that I like a lot. And for the kids, I love to go to Petit Bazaar (9 Gough St, Central) – their selection is perfect.


How about shoes and accessories?

I am big fan of Gianvito Rossi (G/F, 10 On Lan Street, Central). These shoes are glamorous and as comfortable as high heels could be. For bags, I’ve recently fallen in love with an Italian brand, which is handmade in Sardinia and uses recycled fibres. The designs are beautiful and have both a handcrafted and a high-end texture. The brand is Antonello and we carry it at Rue Madame.


Which malls are must-visits for the fashion conscious?

IFC Mall is very well conceived and has a wide offering of international brands. Harbour City, which is the largest in terms of size, is where you can find everything from kids to sportswear and even Zara Home.


Where would you head to for some R&R?

After the busy life in the office, I like spending my weekends on the beach, Shek O and Deep Water Bay are probably the family’s favourites.


How to get there?

International airlines including Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific and several budget airlines, such as Jetstar Asia, Scoot and Tiger Airways, fly direct from Singapore to Hong Kong. Flight time is usually three hours and 40 minutes. For more on Hong Kong, visit www.discoverhongkong.com/.


5 Must Do’s

  • Visit (and climb) The Thousand Steps. It’s a beautiful walk with some amazing viewpoints, plus gives you a good workout.
  • Pop into the Rue Madame boutique at Shop 3082A, Podium 3, IFC Mall, and check out the chic Parisian labels. Whether you prefer an edgy or feminine look, there’s something to suit your style.
  • Discover a different side to Hong Kong with an outing to Shek O beach, or Big Wave Bay Beach. It’s popular with windsurfers and is also home to a prehistoric rock carving. Take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan Station, Exit A3. The hop onto Bus 9 to Big Wave Bay Beach.
  • For dim sum, go to Luk Yu Tea House (24-26 Stanley St, Central, Tel: 852 25235464). You have to make reservations for lunch. We hear the pork liver siew mai is a must-try.
  • Take a scenic junk cruise aboard the traditional red-sail Aqua Luna. On board, it’s less traditional, with comfortable lounge beds for you to simply sit back and soak in the harbour views and impressive city skyline with a cocktail or beer in hand. The 45-minute evening cruises depart from Tsim Sha Tsui Pier 1 (from 5.30 pm) and Central Pier 9 (from 5.45 pm). From HKD$195 ($33.65) per person (includes one drink).


Want more local travel trips from expats? Read on!

By Barbara Koh, The Finder, June 2015

Photo: 123rf.com

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