The largest city in the United Arab Emirates is constantly changing. We go to Dubai not only for business or to see its tall towers, but also for its heritage and its cultural institutions. Thibaut and Quentin are two brothers who fell in love with this city. After going away for a weekend, they kept coming back… To the point where they dedicated a website to it, Dubaï Facile. They share with Tout La Culture’s readers the places that have changed their view of the city.
By Thibaut and Quentin
Discover the best cultural sites in Dubai
Reports present Dubai as the city of excess, extravagance and bling-bling. Beyond these clichés and prejudices, it is possible to discover a more authentic and definitely more attractive city.
Manhattan in the United Arab Emirates is an architectural jewel: the 828 m Burj Khalifa, with the Lyric Theater at its feet, is striking. The famous Dubai Frame by Fernando Donis is equally impressive. Between two visits and bus journeys, even lunches on the go are delicious: shawarmas, falafel or manakish, street food in Dubai can be better than a sumptuous lunch at a gourmet restaurant. And if you really want to get away from it all, head to the Global Village. It is a kind of big attraction made of small kiosks, stalls, souks and other amusements.
Back to basics and jump to the past
And this may be less known, but the city is full of cultural sites. The municipality has set itself the goal of better promoting Dubai’s cultural heritage. Protected by Fort Al Fahidi, in the Old Quarter, the Dubai Museum allows you to discover the history of the Emirate before the oil era, with nods to the famous pearl fishermen and the Bedouins of the desert. Drawing from the wellsprings of local culture, the Deira district immerses you in the smart scents of spices in the souks and offers stalls selling traditional clothing and decorative items. At the end of the day you can reach Bur Dubai on one of the abras (local boats) for only 1 AED (30 euro cents)…
When art is modern and contemporary
Dubai is also an important center for modern and contemporary art. Every March, Art Dubai brings together 90 galleries from around the world. And year-round, Alserkal Avenue, better known as the “gallery district”, is located in the Al Quoz neighborhood. On more than 46,400 m², more than twenty art galleries contain several works by street artists, but also by local designers. In addition, there are more than 70 creative concepts. In a trendy atmosphere reminiscent of the hipster concept of Shoreditch in London, we were able to admire works by Mary Ellen Carroll and participate in a creative workshop at Jam Par. For 45 AED per hour (15 euros) we could thus practice using ourselves so that the watercolor gives an expression of form. It is also possible to indulge in artisanal perfumery at Oo La Lab. To end the day on a high note, we shared a few drinks with Kave’s designers at Nightjar and its avant-garde decor.
Beach, relaxation and idleness!
Between a day at the beach (with perfect temperatures eight months of the year) and a visit to the famous Jumeirah Mosque, the choice is difficult. And the best compromise is to do… both! On the program: sunbathing on Jumeirah Beach, idleness and swimming in transparent water. It is ideal to end the stay on a calm note. Then head to the Jumeirah Mosque, which is definitely one of the biggest in the city. With its double minaret and majestic dome, it is a must. If you can, remember to visit it at dusk when the facades are lit up, it is simply magnificent, especially when you go further at sunset in a small restaurant located near the beach, which offers Turkish and Lebanese specialties…
3 good addresses for a successful stay in Dubai:
Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant (Al Fahidi Historical District Building 54 & 55) to sample local delicacies.
Indigo Dubai Downtown hotel (Marasi Drive Al Abraj Street) for quality nights and a stunning view of the creek.
The souks in Deira (Al Ras metro), especially the Gold souk and Souk Naïf for an idea of shopping different from the Dubai Mall.
visual (c) DR