From Paris to Positano: ‘My Favorite Cities’, by Globe-Trotting DJ Alex Merrell

 

Fashion fave DJ Alex Merrell has been behind the decks for a dazzling list of clientele over the past decade, including Vogue, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Thompson Hotels and the Toronto International Film Festival. She’s also shared a stage with the likes of Cee Lo, Robin Thicke and Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro.

Naturally, said calling has taken her from Brazil to Hong Kong to Morocco to Switzerland and back again – making her quite the accomplished traveler.

 

 

Somehow BlackBook managed to sit her down long enough to enlighten us on her fave cities around the globe; and we were particularly impressed that she shared our undying romance with the City of Light.

“When I started DJing a decade ago,” she explains, “the goal was just to get enough work to cover rent in LA, and that took time. I didn’t imagine I’d get to see so much of the world – thirty countries and counting – in the process. But that, in addition to the wonderful, inspiring people I’ve met and the massive privilege of making a living working in music, have made the past ten years truly incredible.”

 

DJ Alex Merrell’s Favorite Cities

 

Paris

My first ever memory is of walking through glass doors with my mom and seeing a big carousel in Paris when I was two years old. Perhaps in part because of this, the city has always held a special place in my heart. The perfect trip to the City of Light is an even balance of taking in culture – this fall it was the 1932 show at the Musée Picasso and The Rolling Stones’ last stop on their European tour – and doing absolutely nothing with good company…and a great steak. I have a theory that if I make a point of going to Paris every year, I’ll remain forever a romantic; and so far, so good.
You Simply Must: Le Bar at L’Hotel  is lovely for a discreet martini away from the crowds; and the hotel’s history (it’s where Oscar Wilde lived out his last days) only adds to its air of romance and mystery.

 

 

Vancouver

My hometown has endeared itself to me more and more each year since I left over a decade ago. The first breath of air stepping out of the airport is a big, fresh reminder of the natural beauty that is so special and specific to this region. I’m as happy in the winters skiing (badly) in Whistler or spending Christmas on our ranch, as in the summers, riding bikes around Stanley Park and laughing until the wee hours on patios with my best friends, and with a pile of oyster shells on the table. We’ve been known to pull off a midnight skinny dip in the middle of the city, a terrible tradition I hope we carry into our sixties.
You Simply Must: I dream about the aburi oshi sushi at Minami. Go for lunch and get the chef’s premium special for a sampling of all their best fish.

 

Positano

Last summer I ended up in Positano for work and was quickly charmed by its seaside beauty. I returned this year with a crew of friends and rented a beautiful house for my thirtieth birthday. Despite the flood of orange umbrella imagery on your Instagram, this beautiful town still seems relatively authentic, repelling over-tourism with its ubiquitous stairs and lack of franchise stores. In the summers I’m the happiest when I can be in the ocean every morning; and it doesn’t hurt to end days on the beach with a bowl of spaghetti alle vognole and a Negroni.
You Simply Must : Take the boat with a red fish on the mast to Da Adolfo, a lovely little beach club known for its pitchers of white wine with peaches and mozzarella grilled on lemon leaves.

 

New York

I’ve been in NYC for the past five years and every time I return home and see the skyline my heart gets fluttery. The city feels like the highest concentration of energy, opportunity, magic, and guts in the world. Every day I meet people who are much better than me in one way or another: more accomplished, talented, intelligent, funny, grammatically superior. (I probably used that colon incorrectly.) At any rate, I find it massively inspiring. New York is the best place to push yourself past what you believed you were capable of, which likely isn’t sustainable forever; but at this moment in my life I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
You Simply Must: I’m at my favorite neighborhood haunt Via Carota multiple times each week for their delicious, seasonal Italian fare.

 

 

Next up…

Since I was young, I’ve been motivated by wanderlust and curiosity, and would rather spend my time discovering a new culture than luxuriating in the familiar. I’m grateful to have seen over thirty countries thanks to a career that keeps me in the sky frequently. Up next? Japan is at the top of my list, along with South Africa, Portugal and Croatia.

 

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