40 Weekend Breaks from Shanghai

Gilles Rouverand’s work brought him to Shanghai three years ago, but he recently quit his job to follow his passion: travelling. He loves discovering new places and people, so it made sense for the Parisian to create his own guidebook. 40 Weekend Breaks from Shanghai took him only five months to write, but his three years spending weekend jaunts around the country gave him enough fodder for the book.

How did you come up with the idea for 40 Weekend Breaks?

After travelling around Shanghai and in China for a few years, I progressively discovered some really great scenic spots. They were more or less known, but all were easily accessible thanks to China’s great transportation system. On the other side, many people I met in Shanghai seemed to be searching for some great places to escape the city and relax… the typical “there is nothing to do around Shanghai”. I thought it would be worth gathering the best places into one single book. I wanted to give all the practical stuff such as transportation, maps and hotel information, but also provide some precise sightseeing recommendations and nice pictures, so everybody can easily choose their weekend destination and really enjoy it.

In this book I only recommend places I have personally travelled to. This travelling and fact checking part is for me one of the most important. It is the only way to provide quality and up-to-date information to readers.

How many weekends are you actually in Shanghai?

I used to travel out of Shanghai every other weekend. I think this is a good balance. One weekend I take my backpack and explore the Shanghai surroundings over a couple days. The other weekend I stay downtown with friends and enjoy the city bars and nightlife. These are the two sides I really like about Shanghai: the bustling atmosphere in both business and daily life, but also the possibility to escape pretty easily.

What is your favourite memory from compiling the book?

My favourite place close to Shanghai is the Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) in winter. With some snow blanketing the peaks and pine trees, there was absolutely nobody around – just the sound of the wind and the clouds dancing between the peaks. It looked like heaven, an unforgettable memory!

Is there anywhere in China you’ve yet to explore?

Definitely… the next big step is to take my bicycle and ride from Shanghai to China’s western border in Xinjiang.

You mention that the guide is carbon neutral. How do you achieve this?

We offset all carbon emissions generated for the creation of the guide: the necessary travels, the printing process and computer work. For this purpose we have been working with Climate Care, a company developing emission reduction projects.

You donate RMB 10 to the charity A Pleines Mains. What made you choose this charity?

A Pleines Mains actively helps orphans and handicapped people in China. They have been doing a remarkable job in Shanghai and throughout China for the past 12 years. I chose this charity for the quality of their projects and because I am sure every RMB they receive will be used efficiently. The entire staff is made up of volunteers, which means the money received goes directly to charity projects.

Price: RMB 150. To get your own copy of 40 Weekend Breaks, send an email to [email protected] or visit their website for more details: www.sh-connections.com. They deliver in downtown Shanghai for RMB 15, or you can pick up the guide at the A Pleines Mains office.

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