Marcel & Georges: Mathias’s new place for you to eat and chill out // Marcel & Georges: o novo lugar de Mathias para comer e relaxar

We met Mathias for the very first time in his favorite bar in Porto, Embaixada do Porto, drinking wine and dancing on some old rock and blues songs. With his overalls, his beret, and a big smile he told us that he was about to open a new restaurant in Porto, without any kind of expe14910526_336808806681534_9129267406757440075_nrience in this field. In the meantime, we met his best friend here, Samuel, who created the association Critical Concrete, and were invited to the restaurant’s inauguration party 2 weeks ago. We liked the place, and went back this week to eat and talk a bit more with Mathias. Thus, this article does not only aims at presenting you a new and nice restaurant in Porto, Marcel & Georges,  but also to introduce you to its French and original creatorimg_7329.

Conhecemos o Mathias, bebendo vinho e dançando, no seu bar preferido: a Embaixada do Porto. Com o seu fato-macaco, a sua boina e o seu grande sorriso, ele disse-nos que estava a preparar a abertura do seu novo restaurante no Porto, sem nenhuma experiencia nessa área. Entretanto, encontrámos aqui o seu melhor amigo – o Samuel, da associação Critical Concrete, e fomos convidadas para a festa de inauguração do restaurante que decorreu há duas semanas. Gostámos do lugar e voltámos esta semana para comer e conversar um pouco mais com o Mathias. Então, escrevemos este novo artigo que não fala apenas do restaurante (Marcel & Georges), mas também sobre o francês Mathias – o seu criador original.

Marcel & Georges: a fresh, relax and stylish atmosphere

Marcel & Georges: um ambiente fresco, relaxado e elegante

Let’s first start with the practical details: you will find Marcel & Georges in the 74 rua do Dr Barbosa de Castro, right between Torre dos Clérigos and the Jardim das Virtudes, a pretty central and good location.

Comecemos com os detalhes práticos: Marcel & Georges fica situado na Rua Dr. Barbosa de Castro, Nº 74 (entre a Torre dos Clérigos e o Jardim das Virtudes).

15178991_348006178895130_8967452908171837263_n

As for the food, the concept is to cook and serve fresh and local products. Consequently, only 2 to 3 meals are proposed every day, and what’s really cool is that you can choose to mix the different meals and try a bit of everything, perfect for those who don’t want to make a choice. The prices are very reasonable: we paid 10 euros each for a soup + a big plate + a desert + a glass of wine.

No que concerne à comida, o conceito de cozinha do restaurante é servir produtos frescos e locais. Chega a servir 2 a 3 pratos por dia. Um detalhe muito importante é que os clientes podem misturar no prato um pouco de tudo, o que permite experimentar toda a gama de alimentos disponíveis. Os preços são bastante razoáveis: pagámos 10 euros por 1 sopa + 1 prato + 1 sobremesa + 1 copo de vinho.

img_7316

It is the Portuguese cook that Mathias recruited who is in charge of everything concerning the food:  finding the producers, preparing the menus etc. We were a bit surprised when he told us that he did not really taste her meals before the opening:

É a cozinheira portuguesa de serviço que trata de todos os procedimentos relativamente à comida: é ela que encontra os produtores, que prepara os menus, etc. Ficámos um pouco surpreendidas quando ele nos disse para não provarmos os pratos dela antes da abertura:

I like to give my confidence to people, I’m a bit naïve. The more you give, the more you receive I think, and until now I haven’t been disappointed. We just have to make some small adjustments, like for instance, Portuguese food is too greasy in my opinion, but it’s getting better now.

Gosto de dar a minha confiança aos outros, sou um pouco ingénuo. Acho que quando tu mais dás, também mais recebes e, até agora, não estou desiludido. Só fizemos alguns ajustamentos. Por exemplo, na minha opinião, a comida portuguesa é demasiado gorda.

This relaxed and confident attitude explains how he could decide to open a restaurant, without having worked in any before:

Esta atitude confidente e relaxada é indicadora que ele pode vir a decidir abrir um restaurante num outro país, sem nenhuma experiência:

We forgot many things in the beginning, like for instance the napkins, or the fact that we can’t find organic cream here. But we learn and it’s fine.”

No início, esquecemo-nos de muitas coisas, por exemplo das toalhas. Mas aprendemos, e ficou tudo bem.”

Marcel & Georges is, to some extent, also a bar: if you go there only to have a drink, it can be nice to settle on the couch in the middle of the room, next to the vinyl’s collection. Music is indeed another important part of the place, as his owner  “can’t live without listening to some music”.  Funk, jazz, old-school hip-hop, that’s the kind of things you will listen to if you decide to pass by.

Marcel & Georges é também um bar: se forem aí só para tomar um copo, pode ser agradável sentarem-se no sofá que fica no meio do espaço, perto da colecção de vinis. A música é algo importante para o Mathias, que “não pode viver sem ouvir musica”. Funk, jazz, hip-hop old-school são o tipo de coisas que se podem ouvir caso decidam cá passar.

img_7335

Mathias: a free electron, willing to try everything

Mathias: um eléctron livre, que quer experimentar tudo

Now that you have a broad idea of the kind of ambiance and style you can find in Marcel & Georges, let’s figure out what brought Mathias Cottreau, who had been Parisian for 35 years, to move to Porto and open a restaurant. 

Agora têm uma ideia geral do como é o ambiente do Marcel & Georges. Mas resolvemos descobrir um pouco mais sobre o Mathias Cottreau e sobre as razões que o levaram a decidir partir de Paris, depois de 35 anos, para ir abrir um restaurante no Porto.

I studied many different things, the thing is that I get bored very quickly.  I don’t want to be specialized, I want to try everything. ”.

 “Estudei muitas coisas, mas fico entediado rapidamente. Não quero ser especializado em nada, apenas quero experimentar de tudo.”

hyperactif-mathias

After machining, he studied drawing, and then joined a private school in marketing and communication, where he focused on the place of religions and beliefs in everyone’s daily choices. He got tired of being a marketing free-lancer after 6 months:

Ele começou pela mecânica, estudou um pouco o desenho, e depois entrou numa escola privada em marketing e comunicação, onde estudou particularmente o papel das religiões nas escolhas do nosso dia-a-dia. Trabalhou 6 meses como free-lancer e abandonou:

I had to do everything, it was too much. My goal in life is to not work”.

Tive de fazer de tudo, foi demais. O meu objectivo na vida é não trabalhar.”

By chance, he finally settled 8 years as a director assistant for a French TV cartoon, but, eventually, got bored again, of his job and of Paris!

Eventualmente, ele tornar-se-ia director assistente na televisão francesa durante 8 anos, mas ficaria novamente entediado e decidira deixar esse emprego, bem como a cidade de Paris!

I still love Paris but I guess I got tired of living in a big city : the subway, unknown people and stuff. Here I can come to work by foot, people are warmer and there is an energy, you can feel that the city is reborning, people are entuthiastic about new projects.”

Ainda amo Paris, mas acho que fiquei cansado pela vida na metrópole: o metro sempre cheio, as pessoas desconhecidas… Aqui, posso ir a pé para o trabalho, as pessoas são mais simpáticas e há uma energia particular. Acho que a cidade está a renascer, e toda a gente tem novos projectos.”

metro-paris

A new space, built by and for himself, but open to contributions

Um novo espaço, construído por e para si mesmo, mas aberto a contribuições

As you can guess, it was really important for Mathias to build his own space, fitting perfectly his tastes and expectations.

Para Mathias era muito importante construir o seu próprio próprio espaço, e que fosse perfeitamente adequado aos seus gostos e às suas expectativas.

I wanted to destroy everything and then rebuild by myself. I like to do things myself as much as possible. I was very lucky with the owner, he was OK with me doing whatever I wanted.”

 “Queria destruir tudo e depois reconstrui-lo por mim mesmo. Tive muita sorte com o proprietário, ele aceitou que eu fizesse o que quisesse”.

Thus, he did most of the work himself, with a big help of his friends from Critical Concrete. This taste for manual work was partly inherited from his two grand-fathers, whose names were, guess what? Marcel & Georges!

Desta forma, ele fez a maior parte das obras sozinho, por vezes com uma grande ajuda dos seus amigos da Critical Concrete. Mathias herdou este gosto pelo trabalho dos seus avos, que se chamam… Marcel e Georges!

You can also find several of his personal objects: videos games, board games, vinyl’s, and the seat of his father’s race car, which looks like a baby seat, but is not a baby seat.

Alem disso, podem ver-se no espaço vários dos seus objetos pessoais: videojogos, jogos de tabuleiro, vinis, e… o assento do carro de corrida do seu pai, que se assemelha a uma cadeira de bebé (mas que não é).”

I really wanted a space that would almost like home for me, because I knew I’d spend a lot of time here. I take naps on the couch for instance.”

 “Realmente queria um espaço que se assemelhasse à minha casa, porque sabia que iria passar aqui muito tempo. Por exemplo, faço a sesta no sofá.”

But having a strong personality does not mean being egocentric and the idea of Marcel et Georges is also to be open to contributions and proposals of others.

Contudo, ter uma personalidade forte não significa ser egocêntrico, e a ideia do Marcel & Georges é ser aberto às contribuições e propostas de outras pessoas.

When there is something I don’t know how to do, I prefer to ask a friend that somebody I don’t know. For instance, it’s a friend of mine who did the couverture of the race car and I will probably call my friends who do illustration to decorate the place.”

With one of the waitresses we have the project to create a branch of Dr Sketchy, the principle is to organize some drawing sessions with models in costume. And I’m open to other proposals too, the space will surely evolve.”

 “Quando há uma coisa que eu não saiba fazer, gosto de pedir ajuda aos meus amigos. Por exemplo, uma amiga minha fez a cobertura do assento do carro de corrida. Também irei, provavelmente, pedir a outros amigos que façam a ilustração para a decorar.”

 “Com uma das empregadas de mesa, temos o projeto de abrir uma filial portuguesa de Dr Sketchy. A ideia é organizar sessões de desenho com modelos vestidos. Estou também aberto a outras propostas que o espaço irá certamente acolher.”

 

We like to conclude our posts with music, enjoy a bit of old-school French rap with IAM’s hit “Je danse le Mia”, which is on Marcel & Georges’s playlist: 

Contact: 

Rua do Dr Barbosa De Castro, 74, Porto

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Marcel.e.Georges/

marcel.et.georges@gmail.com

 

Advertisements

Discovering alternative Porto /A descobra do Porto alternativo

img_6235NB: Há uma versão curta em português no fim do artigo

We met Patricia last week for a project about enhancing intercultural tolerance among children, in which FAJDP is collaborating. As she was leaving, she mentioned that her association, ContraBando, was organizing an alternative tour of Porto for its first anniversary on Sunday. I thought it would be a perfect occasion to improve my Portuguese, to discover unknown places in Porto and to meet interesting people. It turned out that the guide, Gui, speaks French and English perfectly and (fortunately in retrospect) translated everything. But I did get to meet a group of far-left activists who taught me a lot about the protests and movements that happened during the past few years in Porto and in Portugal, as well as I discovered unexpected and beautiful places, out of the famous city center.

ContraBando: a group of activists aiming at boosting Porto’s cultural and political alternative movements

The association ContraBando was born in July 2015, funded by activists with different interests: access to housing, feminism, LGBT rights, climate change, wanting to “create new forms of activism, create bridges among experiences, re-invent organization patterns of the city to fight austerity”. 

The creation of ContraBando, which is a collective of people but also a concrete space, was both the result of:

The several activits that I met during the tour, whether they belong to Contrabando or not, regret the fact that inhabitants of Porto are not more involved in the political debate. They see Contrabando as a way to raise awareness and interest for the questions they ask, the issues they point out and the solutions they propose. Thus, they organize numerous events: conferences, movies, debates, demonstrations etc. One of their most significant and publicized action was the organization of the Festival Feminista do Porto last october, which should be repeated next year.


Here is a list of associations that are close to ContreBando’s views, given by Patricia. Even if you don’t share all their ideas, these spaces seem to all have an original and identity and to organize interesting events, it could be worth to go  and have a look :

Espaço Compasso (workshops, cultural and artistic events), Rés-da-Rua (collective diners,  workshops, concerts), Gato Vadio (book store, debates, movies), Casa da Horta (vegan food, concerts), Confederação (theatre, cinema)


The Worst Tours: architects of Porto with alternative analysis, stances and proposals

The Worst Tours is an association of 3 architects of Porto, Gui, Pedro and Isabel, organizing alternative tours of their city. They started these tours in an informal way in the end of 2012, as a response to the “economic destruction” of the city

“Kids of the recession present: the f*ck-it-all concept. Portugal, 2014. Austerity Killed the economy. The movie was bad and the sequels are even worse …  Fancy a walk?”

Their initiative was successful and quite publicized, alternative websites but also touristic sites and famous Anglo-Saxon newspapers made an article about it. A few months ago, they decided to take a step forward: they turned into an association and settled down their activity in a “kiosque”, rented from the City Hall, near the Jardim San Lazaro, which allows them to adress directly people in the street.

The tour lasted 4 hours, and Gui talks really fast because she has a lot to say, so I will no sum up everything here (which, besides, wouldn’t be a very good incentive for you to go and see for yourself !). I will only sum up the main ideas that she developed a during this tour, always illustrating and reinforcing them with drawings, maps, articles, and elements of urban economy and sociology.

Gentrification and the industry of tourism

The process of gentrification is just getting started in Porto, way after most of the big european cities. The renewal and renovation of the city center is correlated with the tremendous growth of tourism that Porto has been undergoing. In 3 or 4 years the prices of the housing market raised significantly, even if they remain low compared to european standards. It is interesting to note that the ilhas, a type of urbanization developed for the workers in the 19th, could be an obstacle to the gentrification process by allowing people with low income to remain in the city center, since they remain cheap due to their specificities (see above).


Ilhas in Porto
“An ilha is a type of collective housing typical of Porto. It is a private space composed by many tiny houses located inside the neighbourhoods quarters, in the backyards of the bourgeois houses of the 19th century.
The ilhas have commonly 10-12 houses in each side of a narrow (1,20m) and long corridor that leads to the street. The ilhas emerged as an immediate response to the lack of housing for accommodating the large numbers of rural population arriving to Porto in the mid 19th century, to work in the new factories of the recent industrialization.”

ilha-schema


 

Austerity, impoverishment and shrinking shops

She also underlines that shops keep closing at an alarming pace in Porto, and blames the austerity policies, encouraged by the EU, for having considerably reduced the standards of living, the purchasing power of its inhabitants, consequently reducing considerably the local market.

Abandoned spaces, property rights and taxes

There are a lot of abandoned spaces and buildings in Porto, we went through several of them during the tour. Gui and her colleagues advocate raising taxes on owners of these unused spaces in order to create an incentive for them to sell them so that they can benefit the population, according to its needs and ideas.

img_6210
Uma ilha
img_6191
One store to sell
photo-tag
Street art in an abandoned place
photo-friche
Former industrial site

As Gui explained, the ” a bit unrealistic but let’s try way anyway” goal of the Worst Tours  is to make people from different cities, including Porto, meet and talk about urban and socio-economic processes happening where they live, of interesting solutions that have been implemented etc. This sharing of experiences should be a way to avoid making the same mistakes that have been done in other cities. But Gui admits that for now they haven’t managed to attract many inhabitants of Porto in their tours. Having a website almost completely in English, as well as their name may have been an obstacle to reach more locals. This is one of the reasons that led them to rent a kiosque and be present in the street, offering maps and a space of discussion to people.

Getting to know wild, green and unknown Porto

As promised we did discover unsuspected places in Porto. One of our first stops was at Quinta Musas da Fontinha. It is an association, near Faria Guimarães metro station, which has been opening for a few years its large backyard to local associations willing to grow products there, in a sustainable way of course ! It is also a very surprising, wild and a bit crazy place to see. The ruins that you see on these pictures are what’s left of an ilha.

During the last part of the tour we walked to the east of Porto, along the river. I had never been there and, as a matter of a fact, there is not much reason to, except to discover a beautiful abandoned green area along the old railways, with great views. Gui underlined the fact that these spaces are likely to go through great transformations in the next decade, if the movement of gentrification and rehabilitation of the city center keeps going.

img_6221img_6228img_6238img_6234

 

To conclude, this tour allowed me to understand the tremendous impact that the economic crisis and the austerity measures had had on Porto but also on the alternative movements of the city. Since 2014, the protest movements have considerably decreased in Porto and the austerity measures have been slightly softened. Nevertheless going on this tour made me see that Porto is still facing important issues, as well as that these alternative movements are trying to overcome the challenge of reaching a wider audience and recreating a popular dynamic around their fights.

Also, as a “Portuense” told me on the tour :

” They are so many secrets, unexpected spaces like that in Porto, this city is way more beautiful than you first think it is.” (NB: I already thought it was really beautiful)


Em Português

No domingo passado, eu participei num « Worst tour » do Porto. Este tour foi organizado para o primeiro aniversário da associação ContraBando, que “é um espaço aberto à comunidade, de gente inconformada que vê na cultura uma forma de encontro, auto-organização, ativismo e participação.”

O que é a ContraBando ?

ContraBando nasceu em 2015, da reunião de vários associações e coletivos de ativistas de esquerda. Este coletivo organiza, no seu espaço, muitos eventos para desenvolver a implicação política dos Portuenses: debates, conferências, filmes, etc. A principal ação que eles organizaram até agora foi o Festival Feminista do Porto, em outubro passado, que conseguiu mobilizar um publico bastante  numeroso. Ele deveria repetir-se brevemente.

O que são os “worst tours” ?

Os “worst tours” são um grupo de 3 arquitetos do Porto, que começaram a fazer “tours” alternativos na cidade no fim de 2012. O objetivo deles é mostrar a todos: turistas, Portuenses, Portugueses, os resultados da crise e das medidas da austeridade, impostos pela União Europeia. Além disso, os “worst tours” falam sobre o processo recente de gentrificação, em relação com a subida do turismo. Mas os tours são também sobre “tascas e associações e hortas e centros comunitários e escolas e bairros e ruas e tascas e miradouros e praias e cafés e  concertos e praças para conhecer.”

Há alguns meses, eles decidiram tornar-se uma associação e arrendar um quiosque, no Jardim S. Lázaro, para ficar na rua e dirigir-se aos Portuenses diretamente.

Durante o “worst tour”, eu descobri vários lugares lindos, inesperados, um pouco escondidos e um pouco loucos : um jardim espontâneo partilhado pela associação Quinta Musas da Fontinha perto de Faria Guimarães, as margens verdes do Douro a leste da Ponte D. Luís, algumas ilhas na rua de S. Victor…

Por tudo isso, acho que participar num “worst tour” pode ser muito interessante para todos, mesmo que vocês não partilhem de todas as ideias deles.


Practical details: 

All tours starts in the square of Marques.

You shall one tour from their website, in which 4 types are proposed: ilhas, trades, sites that have been occupied, romantic period / public participation housing projects. Nevertheless, Pedro and Gui are flexible and adapt to the interests of the people.

There is no fixed price, which means that you can give whatever you feel like to.

Contacts:

http://theworsttours.weebly.com/

Find them in their yellow and arty Kiosque in Jardim San Lazoro

contra.obando.porto@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/ContraBANDOPorto/?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/hortaquintamusasdafontinha/

Casa da Horta – a local association open to the world

IMG_5997.JPGWe first heard about Casa da Horta by Jagoda, a European Volunteer from Poland, that we met during our EVS training week in Braga.

When she explained to us that she was volunteering in a horizontally managed associative vegan restaurant, which is also an open space for artistic and cultural expressions, as well as for collective thinking about our ways of living and consuming, we thought we should go and check it out in Porto.
That’s how we ended up last Tuesday, in the terrace of Casa da Horta, eating for the first time or our lives, a piece of seitan, a typical vegan food made of wheat protein. It turned to be actually very good and tasty, and the bread stuffed with olives that is served with the soup is also itself a good reason to come here. 

Promoting alternative ways of living through local action

To understand better what is Casa da Horta about, we asked a few questions to Jadoga and one of her colleagues, Nicola, an Italian European Volunteer. Listen to them talking about Casa da Horta’s activities (vegan restaurant, shop, events, exchange languages sessions etc) and their very interesting initiative to create a “do-it yourself Zine” aiming at developing more collaborations between environmental associations of Porto and its surroundings. The first publication will be about the environmental impacts of the tremendous growth of tourism in Porto, and we will sure talk more about it as the project will move forward.


What is a Zine? – A zine is a non-commercial, non-professional publication. The main difference between a magazine and a zine is that zines are not out there to make a profit but, rather, to add other, often unheard voices into the mix.“
https://artmatters.ca/wp/2008/08/what-is-a-zine/


 

… willing to be open to others’ inspiration and ideas

Casa da Horta’s philosophy is to be open ideas and initiatives of anyone sharing its values and objectives. Thus they organize every week an open meeting where everyone can come and propose activities. They also can open their kitchen to you on Saturdays (Jantar Especial), the idea being that you will cook with them whatever you would like (but preferably not a big piece of steak). 

They also seek stimulation and inspiration by people from all over the world and this is why they have been welcoming European Volunteers for a few years now. Jagoda and Nicola told us about what drove them there:

To conclude this first post, here is a beautiful and very nostalgic song, written by Chico Buarque (Brazil) and sung by Carminho, a famous fado Portuguese singer. We discovered it thanks to yesterday’s “Falamos portugues” session in Casa da Horta, organized every Thursday at 7:30 pm! 

Aprendendo uma outra lingua por artes e jogos é muito bom !
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mlLWBsWJ2k

 

Contact: 

Casa da Horta, Associação Cultural
Rua de São Francisco, 12A
4050-548 Porto, Portugal

Email: casadahorta@pegada.net
Tel: 22 2024123 / 93 3831020 / 93 8433724

Website: http://casadahorta.pegada.net/

Upcoming events: https://www.facebook.com/casadahorta.associacaocultural/events?ref=page_internal

Merve & Anouck