Published Vervemagazine.in, December 2015
‘I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.’ Robert Louis Stevenson
We’re sold on the beautiful travel images that capture monochrome moments from the cities. The ones above are from their newest cities, Chicago, Prague and Rome. Having been familiar with the beautifully produced hard-bound editions of Louis Vuitton’s colour-coded city guides (available in box sets as well), the just-launched app is a traveller’s dream come true. Lavish photos (taken by imaginative photography creative Tendance Floue) with an expansive lens-eye, an attractive and friendly user interface, the little category bubbles open up a world of painstakingly-collected information. But they already had us at the opening quotes, which change each time you access the app, like the one by Stevenson.
Cafes that tell tales of day dreaming artists and authors, museums that paint a picture of a different time, streets that exude a ‘haute’ aura that has nothing to do with the ability to buy or sell. It speaks of a state of mind – the desire to experience the city through the eyes of the like-minded locals.
A team of 50 experts, including those from the cities being covered, contribute content making it a comprehensive guide to 25 of the world’s most popular cities: fashion capitals, centres for contemporary art, beach towns and business hubs. The best part? The Parisian guide is available for free until the end of this month (the others cost €9.99 or US$9.99 in the App Store).
Here’s what you can do:
1. LOCATION, LOCATION It’s a snap to find any address on these easy-to-read maps, available offline. In location-aware mode, you can see all nearby businesses and points of interest, zoom in and refine your results by topic. With the search engine, you can switch to list mode.
2. LITTLE BLACK BOOK Create and view your address book of favourites at any time.
3. POSTCARD FROM PARIS Send your loved ones a photo from your camera or from the guide’s gallery of pictures. Personalise your postcard and share your travel memories by using the filter in the colour of each city.
1. CONTRIBUTORS OF CALIBRE Each Louis Vuitton City Guide includes the participation of special guest contributors, who speak from personal experience of their home cities. Local celebrities or insiders open their personal address books and divulge several secret preferred haunts. For example, Prince M.L. Poomchai Chumbala suggests some of the elegant highlights to discover in Bangkok, while the film director Ivan Zachariáš takes the reader for a stroll around his favourite parts of central Prague.
2. LANGUAGE OF WORTH The guide is available in English and French options.
3. COLLABORATORS UNITE Louis Vuitton reaches out to journalists, writers, major figures in the world of arts and letters, many of whom divide their time between two cities; several authors often collaborate on one city, and each guide reflects the personalities of its contributors.
4. (UN)COVERED If you plan to go the whole hog they also have a small leather case with the Monogram pattern, for the iPad and iPhone (6 and 6 Plus); they come in four extra colors inspired by the city collection: blue for Paris, yellow for Rome, red for Beijing and pink for Tokyo.
Did you know?
Louis Vuitton has operated its own publishing house for some fifteen years and today offers a catalogue of more than 80 titles, including two collections focused on travel: its City Guides and Travel Books. Gaston-Louis Vuitton (1883–1970), grandson of the founder, was an avid collector and keen bibliophile, whose tastes ranged from literature to art books; he founded three bibliophile societies. When the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Elysées opened its doors in 1914, it already featured a comfortable reading and letter-writing room for its customers. This tradition continues into the present day at the Louis Vuitton bookstores.