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Alexandra von Canisius: My Vienna

Alexandra von Canisius is a true cosmopolitan. She worked for Dior, Cartier and Bulgari before opening her own boutique, CocoLaBelle, in Vienna. She reveals her hometown favourites

City Guide
Paulina Szmydke,

Where were you born?

Where do you live?
Downtown Vienna.

If money was no object where would you live?
Money has nothing to do with my choice. I’ve lived in London, Dubai, NY, Paris, Montreal and Toronto. I am happy where I am, until the next exciting project leads me to my next destination.

Which is your favourite street in Vienna?
I move between Graben, Kohlmarkt and Tuchlauben in the city centre.

Do you have a favourite place for breakfast?
Le Bol on Neuer Markt, a French coffee shop where I usually eat a small breakfast of pain au chocolat and café latte. They also do an amazing goat cheese salad, but that’s more for lunch. There is also Delia’s Caffè on Tuchlauben. It’s a tiny cafe, usually very packed, but I like having their yoghurt with muesli, fresh strawberries and honey, and drinking my chamomile tea. It can get a bit smoky, but it has a cool atmosphere with Fashion TV screens playing constant runway footage

Where do you go for a drink with friends?
Do & Co and Onyx Bar on Stephansplatz.

Can you recommend any Austrian dishes to try?
A Wiener schnitzel from Figlmüller is quite a treat – it’s a huge schnitzel, but paper thin, and I always order it with a green or mixed salad. A visit to Plachutta on Wollzeile is excellent for tafelspitz boiled beef. If you want a quick snack, get a Käsekrainer or Burenwurst or any other sausage at one of the numerous wurstelstands scattered all over the first district. There is a good one on the corner of Seilergasse and Graben.

Which places sum up Vienna for you?
Schönbrunn, Hofburg, Stephansdom, Lippizaner, Belvedere, Rathaus, the Parliament building.

Where do you take out-of-town friends?
If my friends are new to Vienna, we visit the classical sights such as the Schloss Schönbrunn, the Hofburg, the Sisi apartments and go around the Ring Strasse. I also take them shopping on Stephansplatz, Graben, Kohlmarkt and Mariahilferstrasse. In summer, we go to the 19th district to a Heuriger, which is an open-air restaurant in the vineyard area. The one I prefer is Welser.

Which do you think is the best museum in town?

Which is your favourite Vienna boutique?
Definitely and without a doubt CocoLaBelle on Wildpretmarkt. It’s a small gem, with a living-room type atmosphere.

What can’t you live without?
Well, other than my daughter: my mobile phones, my calendar, travelling, my hairdresser, healthy food and international fashion magazines.

Any advice for visitors?
Walk around! Vienna might be small, but even though I have lived here for a long time, I still discover lots of new shops and interesting architecture. Enjoy the surprise!

Can you recommend a good hotel?
Five-star hotels such as the Grand, the Ring, Palais Coburg and Sofitel.

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