“Beirut – Peace to Beirut with all my heart
And kisses – to the sea and clouds,
To the rock of a city that looks like an old sailor’s face
From the soul of her people she makes wine,
From their sweat, she makes bread and jasmine.
So how did it come to taste of smoke and fire?! 

(“Beirut” by Fairuz – lyrics by Joseph Harb, quoted in Postcards from Lebanon).

ChI has been in and out of Beirut on and off since before the Civil War, and the amazing thing about it is its “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” – it really does retain its extraordinary joie de vivre, and chic urban lifestyle, come hell (which did indeed come) or high water.    

When times are good, it’s a fantastic place to hang out in and have fun, and to experience the pleasures of both the senses and the intellect - (Beirut was for a long time the intellectual capital of the Arab world, and some would say it still is).   

When times are less good, there is courage, and sometimes even bread and jasmine, despite it all.  And when trouble comes, it seems to make the party spirit more intense than ever. 

Rated by Monocle as No 4 in the world’s great places to live (Monocle 15, vol 2 July/August 2008). 


Pigeon Rocks off the coast of Beirut
Paul Doyle, Lonely Planet images

Beirut from the Corniche
 Photo by John Smith

ChI Stays At...

  •   Four Points Sheraton in rue Verdun – 21st century minimalism, comfort and
      great service
  •   Le Vendome Intercontinental, on the Corniche – a jewel of quality and
  •   Albergo in Achrafieh

Cultural Moments

  •   Agenda Cultural Festival
  •   Bidoun Art and Culture magazine
  •   Wax Generation at the Marie Baz museum,
  •   Al Bustan festival
  •   Art Lounge


Author: Emma Hooper

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