Monocle, the international briefing on global affairs, business, culture and design is expanding its collection of city guides with the addition of books covering Vienna, Singapore and Paris which will be published this month by Gestalten, Monocle’s publishing partner.
Guides to London and New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo were published last year and there are now 12 titles in the collection with another eight books to be launched in 2016, including Sydney and Honolulu.
Researched and written by Monocle’s international editorial team, these guides contain a discerning edit on all that the magazine perceives to be great about each city. Monocle’s interest in a city’s ‘quality of life’ is reflected within these informative and entertaining books.
From art to architecture, early morning markets to late-night bars, the guides mingle listings of the best-known and most iconic destinations in each city with suggestions for seeking out the new, the entrepreneurial, surprising and off-the-beaten track venues and retailers.
Editor-in-chief of Monocle, Tyler Brûlé, says: “These books provide the visitor with a balanced view of each city. We list grand hotels alongside family-owned bistros and recommend little-known exhibition spaces as well as renowned galleries.
“Our travel guides aim to help people feel like locals rather than tourists, no matter how long they are staying in each city.”
Monocle’s editors and correspondents have collected information about a wide variety of cities since the magazine was launched in 2007. Each guide includes a checklist of recommended places to stay, places to eat and things to see.
The books are also enriched by a series of thoughtful essays by writers who are well acquainted with the city. Monocle Travel Guides are compact and collectable. They will retail in all Monocle Shops, online at monocle.com and through the best booksellers globally from 1 0 May 2 0 1 6 . Each book measures 21cm x 14cm, contains 148 pages, full colour and retail at: € 15/£ 10/$ 15.
VIENNA TRAVEL GUIDE
Monocle observes that there’s much more to Vienna than Baroque palaces, horse-drawn carriages and opera. Yes, it’s the capital of strudel, schnitzel, sausages and sachertore but this guide wants visitors to know how best to enjoy their coffee or m elange (a version of cappuccino), whether to go for a kleiner or grosser brauner (small or big “brown one”) and know that it is likely to be served on a tiny silver tray with a complimentary glass of water.
Vienna bridges Eastern and Western Europe and the influence of the Habsburg empire has provided a legacy of grand palaces, plus a concentration of world -class galleries, opera house and museums. However, Monocle’s guide takes the visitor away from the stately architecture into great music venues, specialist craft stores, the pick of the coffeehouses and the best running routes along the Danube.
Monocle also provides visitors with details of how to behave in polite Viennese society, to acknowledge a person’s title, to understand the significance of kiss on the hand and how the honesty system of purchasing newspapers works.
SINGAPORE TRAVEL GUIDE
Monocle’s guide to the city offers readers a brief but concise account of how a resource-scarce island has grown into a gleaming example of 20th and 21st century modernisation.
As well as praising the quantity of green spaces and enthusiasm for ‘vertical gardens’, Monocle introduces the visitor to delicate social details. For example, unenlightened visitors might take the Singaporean greeting of ‘Have you eaten?’ as an invitation to dine– Monocle helpfully explains that this is a common way of saying hello or good morning and a courteous conversation starter along with a formal handshake.
The guide covers the formality of ordering taxis or flagging one down, recommending that the best solution is the join the queue at the nearest taxi stand.
Monocle also delights in the rich quantity and variety of food stalls, the kopitiams, which sell affordable meals ranging from Teochew porridge and chicken rice as well as recommending more high -end restaurants and places to stay.
PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE
Monocle comments: “If New York is the city that never sleeps, Paris is the city that’s always on holiday.” Parisians value lifestyle, rest and m ake sure they get enough of both. The guide alerts the visitor to the variable nature of opening hours (especially in the summer months) as well as the length of time it can take to truly enjoy an excellent meal.
The guide includes essentials of etiquette– for example, Monocle advises the visitor to always preface a conversation with ‘bonjour madame/monsieur’ whether asking for directions or buying a croissant.
The guide also explains the current Parisian craze for ‘natural wines’, made with no chemicals and minimal intervention and the significance of an apéro (the chance to drink and eat between 18.00 and 20.00).
The guide’s essays include a flaneur’s tour of picturesque lanes, street art and areas beyond the tourist-thronged centre. Readers can learn how to speak like a local too. F or example, Monocle explains that you should say ‘pas mal’ if things are OK, ‘grave’ (sure) when they agree with something or ‘mortel’ (sick – as in the contemporary use of the word) if it’s worth being enthusiastic about or ‘limite’ if it’s just so so.