By Douglas Habecker
Little Europe? That was the response of some readers
when this magazine decided to attach the new label
to a popular swathe of shops, cafes and restaurants
just off of Taichung Harbor Road.
district may bear scant resemblance to a European setting
for someone who has just arrived from the west, there is
no disputing the fact that several city blocks in the general
vicinity of Ching Cheng and Tunghsing roads have taken on
a unique ambiance that draws residents from all over the
city, not to mention the rest of the island.
A closer look even reveals that the area has several attributes
which justify the Little Europe name--like some of the city's
nicest European-style restaurants, its most European hotel,
and no small number of European-style fashion boutiques.
All this is crowned by the very popular "cafe/tea street",
Chingming 1st Street, where sidewalk cafes and quaint-looking
shops provide a distinctive European feel.
In addition to its special attractions and pleasant
atmosphere, Little Europe's convenient location just
off of the main business/hotel district on Taichung
Harbor Road has made it a popular strolling area for
residents and visitors alike. Provided one doesn't
linger too long at a cafe or shop, the entire area
can be enjoyed on foot in the course of a couple hours.
Most of this district is contained in a box bordered by
Taichung Harbor Road and Talung Street to the north and
south and by Chungming South and Tunghsing roads to the
east and west (see map). A good landmark to start at would
be the Sogo II Department Store (the smaller brown one vs.
the big white one). Head down Ching Cheng Road from Sogo
and you'll immediately see the three-floor Ad Cafe/Vogue
boutique building on the left, the first of dozens of upscale
fashion and jewelry stores scattered through the area. Just
past that is the deep blue Prince Cafe and across the street
is the Ideal Picurism Cafe (the name remains an enigma to
this writer) with NT$160 set meals and other items.
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