Lounging at Lagoa

Time to hang out at Lagoa de Freitas, in Zona Sul, the wealthy residential neighborhood, a few blocks away from Ipanema and Leblon pristine beaches. Although the Cariocas prefer its flat runway for their morning jog on 7.2 kms of bike paths all around (rowing, skating and horse riding are also available), my guilty pleasure remains to sit in Palaphita Kitch, trendy tiki-like spot to enjoy a piña colada in diving my eyes into the silver sparkling waters that shade the Pedra Dois Irmãos at sunset. Down the morro do Cantagalo, Quiosque 20.

tripsuzette-riodejaneiro-roadbook-lagoa-sunset-2A picture is often worth a thousand words…

tripsuzette-riodejaneiro-roadbook-lagoa-sunsetBefore that, further west from Leblon beach, you may visit the Instituto Moreira Salles, a flawless modernist house surrounded by gardens also signed by landscape architect Burle Marx – father of iconic b&w organic swirling pattern of Rio’s sidewalks he designed in 1971. tripsuzette-riodejaneiro-roadbook-moreira-salles-burle-marxNowadays, the place is a great cultural venue through relevant photographic exhibitions.

Rua Marquês de São Vicente 476 (Gávea). http://www.ims.com.br

tripsuzette-riodejaneiro-roadbook-moreira-salles-modernistWhile you’re in Leblon, don’t miss to shop at Granado, an fancy old-school pharmacia that sells hip brasilian beauty products (a centenary antiseptic powder, delicious soaps and also some barber’s stuff…). Very nice packaging patterns and mostly organic recipes. Phebo perfumeria is now part of the brand. A much better choice for presents than the very common “bonfim” bahia bracelet (or do buy both ?!)

Rua General Artigas, 470 (Leblon).

In this neighborhood, the casual – and just reopened – option for diner late at night remains Braseira da Gávea, crowded by artists, students and intellectuals who are sharing the same passion for typical picanhas (beef) or linguiças (sausages) with vegetables and farofa (manioc semolina).

Praça Santos Dumont, 116 (Gávea). Tel. +55 21 2239-7494


Day dreamers in Jardim Botânico

reddish-orange trunks of pau-mulato’s alley

Jardim Botânico is a neighborhood in itself with the famous botanical garden and its vertiginous alley of imperial palm trees. But in this majestic garden (consider a two hours visit is a minimum) of 6200 tropicals species pampered by exotic birds and devoted gardeners, another splendid alley is my favorite : the Pau-Mulato tree, native of the Amazon region, reaches a height of 20 to 40 meters, and from July to September, its trunk turns to red-orange, then green, and little by little, returns to its original “mulatto” color. Must see ! tripsuzette-riodejaneiro-roadbook-jardim-botanico-labicycletteOn the edge of the garden, Tom Jobim, brother figure of bossa-nova, has his very moving memorabilia space, just across La bicyclette, a bakery and café you won’t miss for lunch. Rua Jardim Botanico, 1008

A short walk away, Parque Lage is another appealing green promise. In line with the Cristo Redentor just above, on the edge of Tijuca primal forest (part of fragile Mâta Atlantica), the public park houses the Escola de Artes Visuais. No wonder that Nicolas Ghesquière has chosen this lovely Belle Epoque palace for his aftershow party (besides, his Gucci’s fashion show was held in iconic Niteroi, across the bay) …as the mansion was notably featured in 2003 by Snoop Dogg’s single “Beautiful” music video.

tripsuzette-riodejaneiro-roadbook-parquelageThough, the old stalls are the kingdom of cheeky monkeys, the enchanting park belongs to students carrying their sketchbook and the Plage café around the atrium pond is a perfect haven for dreamers.

Rua Jardim Botânico 414 (Jardim Botânico)

Mama gives birth again

Few months ago, Hotel Santa Teresa entered the world famous French group Accor under MGallery portfolio, upscale boutique-hotel brand. It doesn’t make much difference as its 44 rooms, garden pool and trendy bar dos Descasados (literally, bar of divorced people) were already a cosmopolitan showcase of tropical flair and wood furniture tempo by renowned designer Sergio Rodrigues.

Rua Almirante Alexandrino, 660 (Santa Teresa). Tel. +55 21 3380 0200

Santa Teresa Hotel

tripsuzette-riodejaneiro-roadbook-santa-teresa-mama-shelterFurther down at back street of the hotel, the manager keeps an eye on the upcoming Mama Shelter (since Accor eventually entered Mama’s board). Two separated mansions and 55 rooms are standing both sides of the road. Let’s find again the Mama’s successful usual gimmicks (although Philippe Starck has now stepped out of the boat) : a huge turn-around bar, here in a mix and match of “grecques” and azulejos, sketches and tags on ceilings… At ground floor of Bela Vista aisle, rooms have their own terrace. Opposite to the lobby and courtyard, the restaurant is a tribute to the Sambodromo and its overexcited scenery : a high stepped platform (or tribune) where wannabes and hipsters will go crazy, fore sure. Officialy opens in September, but the Olympics is the right time to check if the software is on duty.

About 100€ for a standard double room, breakfast in extra.

Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno, 5 (Santa Teresa) mamashelter.com/fr/rio