April 1st marked the birth of Comme à la maison, the new French online magazine based in our beloved city.
Directed to a young (half of it between 25 and 40 years old) and growing readership (more than 6,000 baguette-eaters are said to amble their way around Shanghai these days – compared to 5,000 Germans and 3,500 English), this new online publication clearly defines its aim as dealing with “art de vivre” (the art of living):
L’équipe de Comme à la maison partage avec vous son regard sur l’actualité des tendances d’ici et d’ailleurs, de l’art, de la culture chinoise qui est aussi devenue la nôtre, et des préoccupations sociales et environnementales qui nous tiennent tant à coeur.
“The team of Comme à la maison (Feels Like Home) shares with you its look on trends from here or elsewhere, on art, on this Chinese culture that has also become ours, on social and environmental issues that we feel strongly about.”
But what sets this publication apart is its user-friendly approach and slick visual design. It calls itself an “urban guide” and boldly mingles the two worlds of the Internet and paper press. You can choose to listen to a soothing park-like soundtrack while flipping through the 70 pages and enjoy articles written by a team of eleven French expats under the deft adroitness of Tiphaine Lebreton and Hélène Brouillard. Full screen and column thumbnails are other options that allow you to navigate at your convenience through the vividly colourful issue. There is also a downloadable PDF version.
The two 26- and 25-year-old French ladies launched the project last November. They lived in France, the U.K., Hong Kong and the USA (one of them as a financial advisor) before settling down in Shanghai. After first dabbling in art and design for a few years, they both quit their jobs to reap the benefits of their international experience in a project based on “discovery, proximity, and sharing.” As they noticed expatriates often feel out of the picture when they go back home, or simply get ostracized by the language barriers here, they came up with the idea of an ‘e-magazine.’ Comme à la maison should make people feel more comfortable because it is written in their own native language but also relates to their French and Chinese urban culture (through nine sections in the mag: Culture, Arts, Trends, Urban Guide, Our Planet, Sports, Young Talents, Cooking, and French Community Events).
They told Shanghaiist:
One of our objectives is to make people learn more about the pillars of Chinese culture, as in our first feature article about the famous novel Journey to the West. Another one is to launch “young talents” on the Shanghai stage, young and bold start-ups or artists looking for a little attention.
Their team of experienced journalists and field experts – including food stylist Michael Elliott whom we introduced in a previous post – hopes to be financed by local and international advertising from newly-implanted French companies, and are counting on the ever-growing French-speaking community (foreign and Chinese, here and abroad), and their feedback – so far 120,000 different clicks, of which 85% are from Shanghai itself. So, for those au fait with “the language of Molière”, feel free to drop a line on their website. And the long-term plan is to see their magazine on real glossy paper one day…