My own circuit in Shanghai

My own circuit in Shanghai

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Sport viewing has become a worldwide sport in its own right, one that has inevitably triggered countless vocations. After rapturously watching soccer matches, kids no doubt run to the nearest square or park with whatever they find, be it a ball or a tin can.

Just like soccer giants Maradona or Pelé, racing drivers are revered figures, but their sport is a bit more difficult to imitate. Clearly, don't go full throttle while running your errands or travelling on the highway – actually, don't do it anywhere.

But what you can emulate is the drivers' bold adventurousness, their fearless dedication to discovery and self-improvement. So while outside the Shanghai International Circuit this week, you should follow your own circuit, one that will take you to the bustling city's most fascinating places, where you'll see the most mind- expanding art, stroke the most innovative fashion creations, eat the most surprising meals, or hear the most recherché music. After this merry ride, you'll feel exactly what champions feel after they've completed a race : triumphant, stronger, and ready for another ride in another town.

Your own panoply

There's no rigid dress code for attending a car race – Formula 1 is no Ascot. But the long-awaited sun rays of spring now piercing the clouds offer an opportunity to embrace one of the most notable trends of the season : cropped tops worn with abbreviated skirts or shorts. Interestingly, the look is sexy yet devoid of vulgarity. That's because it is often tinged with romanticism.

At Dior, the festooned top-and-short combos are cut in crisp white cotton with a play on sheer and opaque parts. At Fendi, high-waisted leather bloomers partner matching bra tops, worn with a jacket, so that you just catch a glimpse of midriff flesh.

At this time of year, temperatures tend to sink as dusk approaches, so we'd recommend a stylish cover-up, namely, the spectacular, laser-cut patchwork leather coats (one including a LV logo ) Nicolas Ghesquière designed for Louis Vuitton. Their cuts are so sophisticated that they look like a homage to the complex architecture of race cars. The most avant garde types should check the strong functional outerwear by the promising Chinese designer Feng Chen Wang. You can also go further by doing a Top Gun thing, by donning Louis Vuitton's overalls, or leather jackets, which will also surely be of great use at the Iron Maiden concert in early May.

And please, don't show up with those huge statement, logoed handbags. As far as bags are concerned, understatement is the word du jour. Many brands went for tiny purses or bags that give the silhouette a playful, doll-like edge. Louis Vuitton's adorable mini-bags are on top of the list.

Your own city tour

A stroll through the city of Shanghai, with its craggy, ever-changing skyline and vibrant streetlife, offers the same amount of adrenaline racing drivers experience on their winding circuits.

This year, the excitement especially comes from an exceptional array of fascinating exhibitions, coinciding with the Chinese Grand Prix. 50 contemporary Chinese artists, including the kitsch-loving Chen Tianzhuo, are on display at K11 until May 2. The SCOP gallery showcases the striking black and white pictures of Barbey and Berry, two Magnum photoreporters who notably documented the May 1968 upheavals in France.

Some of the most arresting artworks on show in Shanghai are by Thomas Feurstein, whose giant tubes and refrigerators turn the Chronus art center into some sort of mad scientist's laboratory.

For more world-renown names, don't miss the Giacometti and Oliafur Eliasson exhibitions, respectively at the Yuz museum and Long museum WestBund.

The Shanghai Theatre ballet reprises Shakespeare's Hamlet, and for a good laugh, check out American stand-up comedian Zainab Johnson's show at the Kung Ku comedy club.
All that event-hoping requires some good breaks. And what better way to chill than to visit the new wave of French restaurants that just opened here? Far West, a new crepe place, offers a wide range of recipes, from the salty (with running cheese and ham) to the irresistbly sweet (melted chocolate sauce). Michelin star chefs Francky Semblat and Jean Christophe Ansanay-Alex, respectively opened L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and Paris Bleu offering the kind of scrumptious French cuisine whose high standards recall the professionalism of Formula 1 champions.

After the race

All that rubbernecking you'll have to do to follow these fast-moving cars may eventually wear you out. But Shanghai has a slew of surprising, find-me-if -you-can speakeasy-style cocktail bars where you are sure to find solace.

The "Barber Shop" is hidden behind, well, a barber shop, the Barules is behind a phone booth, and you need to look past a Coke vending machine to find Flask.

Let the hunting game begin.

Your own soundtrack

The French musical wave that reached its climax with Daft Punk's infectious « Get Lucky », shows no sign of slowing down.

Indeed, the iconic Cassius Band, who reached worldwide fame with « Lady », just released the Ibifornia (featuring Pharrell Williams), the first single from their upcoming EP, out in june. Another Frenchie, Shazz, has just released a new EP, called Epilogue, an ode to 1990's style dance music, as evidenced by the « 1993 » track.

As for the irrepressible M.I.A., she continues her reflection on international borders with « MIA OLA » and « Foreign Friend », a two-part song, the first being super fast, while the second is much slower. Of course, all Formula 1 fans will go for the first part

We hope you'll enjoy this fabulous week, and the end of the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday doesn't mean you must leave the city. Keep discovering its treasures, at least until the much-awaited Strawberry music festival on April 19.


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