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February 26, 2014 Comments Off on Lebanon; Paris of the Middle East Views: 813 Travel

Lebanon; Paris of the Middle East

In Lebanon’s you can go skiing in the mountains during the winter, as well as hit the hottest beaches in the summer, Sana Shaban tells us more

The capital city of Lebanon, Beirut has been dubbed the ‘Paris’ of the Middle East, and is well known for its exuberant cuisine and luxury nightlife. Zeitouna Bay is array of culture built on the waterfront of the Mediterranean Sea with yachts all around, it is filled with restaurants, a few retail shops, and includes a yacht club. Love Lebanese food? Who doesn’t! But the best I’ve ever tried has to be the infamous Café Blanc in Beirut; it is located in ABC Ashrafieh. There you will find the sourest stuffed vine leaves, crispiest fried cheese rolls, and most futuristic looking shisha you’ve ever seen. Another great location for food is Gemayze, which is a street made up of restaurants, bars, and pubs. Feel like sushi? Or Italian? Why not both? If you can’t decide what you’re in the mood for, simply go to either Sotó or Olio where the companies are merged and in either restaurant you can have both menus.
For nightlife there is nowhere better than the elusive Sky Bar, which resides in downtown Beirut overlooking the sea front, and fireworks light up the sky every Saturday night making the club visible up from the mountains surrounding the city. Another summer addition to Beirut is Uberhaus’ The Garten; an intriguing outdoor garden themed club with hammocks for relaxing after dancing all night!

For those hipster kids the place to be is Hamra, starting at the ‘Alleyway’ which is full of graffiti and originality, there are about eight small pubs crammed next to each other all with outside seating playing individual styles of music in each. Moving out of the Alleyway and onto the back roads of Hamra there are many more venues that deserve mentioning. For that jazzy Woody Allen vibe the place for you is De Prague, this bar and restaurant has dimmed lights and candles everywhere, plays jazz all night long and has a different black and white movie projected on a wall at all times (with English subtitles) giving you that old school feel.

If you prefer nature and beautiful landscapes then there is also that option, Mount Brumanna, only 40 minutes from the city, offers a cool breeze in the summer when the city is too hot, and is perfect for long walks in the evening. Most importantly though are the famous cedar tree forests known as the ‘Cedars of God’ up in Kashida Valley which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kashida Valley, which in Arabic means the Holy Valley, is located within the Becharre and Zgharta Districts of the Northern Lebanon in Mount Al-Makmal.

If you crave culture, and history, be sure to visit Byblos. Byblos is the Greek name of the Phoenician city of Mount Jbeil and was first occupied between around 8800 and 7000 BC, and according to semi-legendary pre-Trojan war Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon, it was built by Cronus as the first city in Phoenicia. Today Byblos thrives with culture; it is covered in ruins and paved with cobblestone with nature in every direction. It has narrow cobblestoned roads filled with little shops containing fossils. It is believed that Byblos is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world; furthermore it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For all those seafood lovers, the best place for fish in Lebanon I would have to say is Al Azrak Restaurant in Byblos, it has the freshest fish and the yummiest tabbouleh!