A Walking Tour Through Taichung's Little Europe

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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.


Although this 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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