Saturday 6 July 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Saturday. 6/7/2024

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Saturday

Bright horizons

This week, we fill up on Lisbon’s favourite slow-food snack on the city’s sunny terraces, announce two unmissable Monocle events in New York and serve up the Concierge’s expert tips on the brightest spots in the City of Light – before turning our focus to a major photography festival in Arles. First, here’s Andrew Tuck on what Monocle has in store over the coming months.

Illustration: Mathieu De Muizon

The Opener / Andrew Tuck

Coming attractions

What are you doing on Monday 15 July? Fancy a date (for your diaries) in Paris? That evening, I’ll be co-hosting an event to celebrate the publication of The Monocle Companion: Fifty Ideas for Building Better Cities. This pacey series of essays has been produced in partnership with the French company Saint-Gobain, which makes the materials that we need to create better and more sustainable cities. There will be a fun panel on urbanism, plenty of time to mix and mingle, and even the opportunity to tour Saint-Gobain’s state-of-the-art building. Interested? All you need to do is email Hannah Grundy at and she will furnish you with an invitation. It will be fun.

Some more house news. Monocle Mediterraneo, our sunny blast of summer newsprint, is now on sale. In the early days of Monocle, we wondered how we could stay in touch with readers as they – in the northern hemisphere, at least – headed to the beach, and took time out on loungers to ruminate about the year so far and plot a positive trajectory for the months to come. While its format and even its name have changed over the years, I am pleased to say that this engaged and optimistic piece of print can still be found every summer in sun-tanned hands in places from Cádiz to Bodrum.

And talking of Turkish delights, this autumn we will be heading to Istanbul for the Quality of Life Conference. We’ll be there from Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 October for what is always a key moment in our year when we get to spend time with readers, have big conversations about making better cities, businesses, homes and lives, and immerse ourselves in a new place. Recently, when we were putting together a small magazine that tells our story for internal company use, we included several pages of emails from readers and listeners, with their permission. These were missives that detailed their relationship with Monocle (obviously I didn’t include any grumpy ones).

By way of enticement, here’s what Kamil from Tampere in Finland had to say in his letter. “I attended your Quality of Life Conference where I got to challenge my own assumptions, climb high and land in the soft hands of my hosts,” he wrote. “I peeked into a truly global world on a completely new level. I have utilised many small details that I picked up at your conference in my projects and they have made a difference.” So, take it from Kamil (and me): a Bosphorus sojourn is what you need once we are done with summer.

As Mr Brûlé mentioned in his column last week, we are currently looking at the way we tell digital stories, the future of and how we stay in touch with readers. We already have a vibrant digital property, of course, with The Monocle Minute (and its weekend franchise that you are reading this very second). The news cycle over recent weeks has seen this emailed newsletter having to be tweaked several times across a day to stay ahead of events. This week we updated our coverage of the UK parliamentary election results to ensure that we were as up to date as possible as it landed in inboxes at 07.00 in Australia, Asia, then Europe and the US. Tomorrow it will be the turn of French voters to test the Monocle Minute team and also Monocle Radio. Make sure you tune in to hear what happens – and then we can even discuss the results over a glass of wine at our Paris Companion party. Until then, good weekends to all.

Image: Dandy Del Mar

The Look / Sungas

Battle of the bulge

The only habit that I have retained from living in Brazil is my choice of swimwear (writes Gregory Scruggs). When it’s time for a dip I strip down to my favourite blue Wöllner sunga and dive in, bemused looks be damned. No bathing suit feels more natural when swimming. While briefs of this kind are standard issue for male beachgoers of all shapes and ages in Brazil, they have a more chequered reputation elsewhere. On US beaches, I have been mistaken for a French Canadian, then regarded with horror as an American who willingly dons a “banana hammock”.

That derisive stateside nickname has an Australian cousin that carries more good-natured appreciation: “budgie smuggler”. Swimming briefs were invented in Australia by Scottish-born immigrant Alexander MacRae in 1928. His creation, eventually named the Speedo, spawned an international swimwear powerhouse whose sales have increased over the past 10 years. Like Xerox and Kleenex, the brand name is synonymous with the product.

Today these swim shorts are de rigueur for men across the Mediterranean – and outright required for hygiene reasons in order to swim in public pools in cities from Marseille to Ho Chi Minh City. But the Speedo-curious have plenty of other options these days, from a classic sunga by Rio-inspired Frescobol Carioca to a square-cut model by California-based Dandy del Mar. Surprisingly, one place where you’re unlikely to see these briefs this summer is Paris. Today’s Olympians are more likely to don tech suits that fit like compression shorts. The Speedo fans among us will have to console ourselves with aspiring to look as good as US swimmer Mark Spitz, grinning with gold medals in 1972.


Come together

In New York this week? Monocle is hosting a get-together in Soho on Wednesday 10 July with Mykita to celebrate the launch of our first pair of sunglasses made in collaboration with the esteemed eyewear brand. Join us at 18.30 at Mykita’s Manhattan shop at 458 Broome Street for convivial conversation and a glass of wine. RSVP essential – email Hannah Grundy at The full details can be found here.

Then, on 11 July, as part of Magculture’s pop-up at the Vitsoe shop on West 8th Street, Monocle’s US editor, Christopher Lord, will be in conversation with Magculture’s Jeremy Leslie and Josh Jones, editor of Huck, ahead of the return of Magculture Live next weekend. They will be discussing all things publishing and print media. Click here for more information.

Culture Cuts / Summer playlist, part 2

Give it a spin

For the second part of our summer playlist, taken from our bumper July/August issue, Monocle Radio’s senior culture correspondent and music curator, Fernando Augusto Pacheco, picks 10 tracks to set the right mood for an afternoon spritz.

1. ‘It Hurts Me’, Papooz
A delicious track by French duo Papooz, mixing 1970s album-oriented rock with bossa nova.

2. ‘Stay with Me Through the Night’, Fabiana Palladino
This song’s strong vocals make it perfect for an easygoing summer evening with a cocktail in hand.

3. ‘Love from the Other Side’, L’Impératrice
A highlight from the French group’s latest album, ‘Pulsar’, with chic pulsating beats throughout.

4. ‘Valentine’, Tourist
According to UK producer Tourist, this hypnotic track has echoes of New Order – which can only be a good thing.

5. ‘Body Heat’, Dabeull and Holybrune
Funky, sweaty, feel-good beats with an appealingly retro feel.

6. ‘Sister Andre’, Pokey LaFarge
A bubbly, sweet song that will warm the heart of anyone who is in love.

7. ‘When the Night Is Over’, Honey
Swedish duo Honey sound like a modern version of Abba, with an extra electronic sheen.

8. ‘Igual que Ángel’, Kali Uchis & Peso Pluma
Kali Uchis partners with Mexican sensation Peso Pluma for this sensual track.

9. ‘Emotions’, Mariah Carey
One of our favourite tracks by the US diva, “Emotions” is the ideal soundtrack to a carefree summer.

10. ‘Namida No Night Game’, Hitomi Tohyama
Okinawan delights from the Japanese city-pop legend.

To listen to this playlist, search for Monocle Radio onSpotifyand tune in live many more songs.

Illustration: Mathieu De Muizon

How we live / Snails

Worth shelling out for

Amid the recent upheaval in Lisbon’s restaurant scene, one dish has proven a gastronomic holdout: snails (writes Gaia Lutz). Come summer, escargots climb the ranks of menus across the city to become one of residents’ top appetisers, shared by boisterous groups of friends. Though not as much of a staple as sardines, which are also particularly popular during the summer months, snails have long been cherished. Indeed, the Portuguese eat them in higher volumes per capita than even the French. One statistic suggests that Portugal’s annual snail consumption equates to the weight of 10 Boeing 747s. Demand is so high that the country’s heliciculture can’t keep up and €3m worth of the molluscs have been imported, mostly from Morocco, in the past year alone.

Restaurants across the country proudly advertise their snails with window signs that announce, “Há Caracóis” (“We have snails”) to hungry passers-by. These posters sometimes consist of simple A4 sheets of paper with the words printed in black. Often, however, they involve attention-grabbing design features such as photos or cartoons in a bid to lure customers.

In some establishments, the molluscs are the main event. Visit O Rei dos Caracóis, Júlio dos Caracóis or Casa dos Caracóis – the last of which sells living specimens for those who want to prepare the delicacy at home. But it’s on the esplanades of the city’s tascas and marisqueiras that the molluscs make their most distinguished appearance. Accompanied by cold beer and sangrias, they help to set the pace of Lisbon’s summers: sunny, social and slow.

The Monocle Concierge / Paris

La bonne vie

The Monocle Concierge is our purveyor of top tips and delectable recommendations for your next trip. If you’re planning to go somewhere nice and would like some advice, clickhere. We will answer one question a week.

Dear Concierge,

I am returning to Paris for the first time in 10 years. I’m open to any insights and recommendations for food, sights and culture.


Jason Tropp

Image: Renaud Marion, Iorgis Matyassy
Image: Renaud Marion, Iorgis Matyassy

Dear Jason,

A great question to ask, as all eyes will be on Paris this summer while it hosts the Olympics. In the 3rd arrondissement, Monocle has just opened its latest permanent outpost. To mark the occasion, we have published a dedicated Paris Edition newspaper, which is on sale throughout Europe this summer. In it, you can find a wealth of recommendations, from the city’s most exciting culture spots to its best retail and hospitality. For more about Paris and also the rest of the country, pick up a copy of France: The Monocle Handbook.

But to answer your question, a day in Paris starts with a good boulangerie. Mamiche in the 9th arrondissement offers warm bread and viennoiseries (pastries) that are freshly made every morning. From there, head to the Pinault Collection at the Bourse de Commerce. This former-granary-turned-museum is a must-visit not only for the many 20th-century masterpieces hanging on its walls but for the beauty of the building itself, designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Its restaurant, Halles aux Grains, is an excellent place to rest among the art.

If you’re in the mood for somewhere more traditional, try the family-owned Au Terminus du Châtelet in the 1st arrondissement, which is a neighbourhood institution and a favourite of the late photographer Robert Doisneau. Its seasonal menu reflects the best of traditional French cuisine in a distinctly Parisian environment.

Then browse the shelves of the Librairie Galignani to find a gem among its impressive stock list. New book in hand, cross the road to the Jardin des Tuileries to sit on one of its famous green chairs and people-watch. Amble down the Boulevard Saint-Germain to conclude the evening en beauté. Franck Audoux’s Cravan bar spreads across five floors with three bars, the Rizzoli library and a rooftop kiosk, which can all be enjoyed with a champagne cocktail in hand. Santé.

Image: Elly Ross

Words with… / Claire Ainsley

Atlantic currents

Claire Ainsley is the director of the Project on Centre-Left Renewal at the Progressive Policy Institute. She was previously the executive director of policy for Keir Starmer, the UK’s new prime minister. She tells us about what we can expect from the UK-US “special relationship” following the election.

How does Starmer’s view of the transatlantic relationship differ from that of his predecessors?
His foreign policy will be different in some important ways but he will consider the transatlantic relationship to be absolutely crucial – and that will be the case regardless of who is in the White House.

How would he manage a relationship with Donald Trump in the event that he is re-elected as president?
They have dissimilar approaches to politics and international diplomacy. You would never see Starmer tweeting overtures to a president, for example. They have very different styles. But David Lammy, during his time as shadow foreign secretary, made a lot of effort to build relationships with both the Biden administration and the Trump camp.

Lammy has also made some remarks about Trump that won’t have played well with him or his cheerleaders. Would Starmer stand by his foreign secretary?
Lammy has already somewhat moved away from some of those remarks. He’s trying to establish common ground and that’s what Starmer’s approach would be – to say, look, we have a lot in common, including the challenges we face. And at the top of that list will be Ukraine, I’m sure.

The previous UK government aspired for a free-trade deal with the US. Will that be a priority for Starmer or will he be keener to rebuild bridges closer to home?
He would see resetting relations with the EU as important but he has made it clear that we’re not going back into the customs union or single market. So Labour will be very keen to explore what a US trade agreement might look like, particularly on energy security.

For our full interview with Claire Ainsley, tune in to Saturday’s episode of ‘The Foreign Desk’ at 12.00 UK time on Monocle Radio.

Photography / Rencontres d’Arles

In the frame

If you find yourself in the south of France this weekend, make sure to visit Rencontres d’Arles, one of the world’s biggest annual photography festivals, which opened this week (writes Kamila Lozinska). Thousands of artists, enthusiasts and industry professionals have descended on Arles, which has been turned into one big gallery. As is customary during the festival’s opening week, the Prix Pictet, one of the industry’s most prestigious competitions, announced the start of its 11th cycle, which takes as its theme the word “Storm”. If you feel overwhelmed by the vast choice of exhibitions, events, talks and screenings, fear not. Here are our top-three picks.

Image: Vasantha Yogananthan, Narahashi Asako, Lee Friedlander
Image: Vasantha Yogananthan, Narahashi Asako, Lee Friedlander
Image: Vasantha Yogananthan, Narahashi Asako, Lee Friedlander

‘Time Frames’, by Vasantha Yogananthan
Since 2020, French-Sri Lankan photographer Vasantha Yogananthan has explored Provence through the region’s landscapes and inhabitants. This has resulted in a series that tells the story of his encounters with a woman. Time Frames (top) is the first chapter of his narrative-driven long-term project Images Imaginaires. Cloître Saint-Trophime

‘I’m So Happy You Are Here, Japanese Women Photographers from the 1950s to Now’
This exhibition presents the work of more than 25 female artists from different generations, offering a new perspective on Japanese photography. The collection interrogates ideas of representation and self-expression, and reflects on what the country’s women have brought to the medium.
Palais de l’Archevêché

‘Lee Friedlander Framed by Joel Coen’
This show (bottom), presented by Luma Arles, is a collaboration between US photographer Lee Friedlander and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Joel Coen. Through the use of photographs and film, taken from Friedlander’s archive spanning 60 years of work, Coen reveals the two artists’ mutual preoccupations: the insidious power of images, fragmentation and deceitful visual compositions.
La Tour, Parc des Ateliers.


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