The city of Beirut has long been a favorite for international travelers looking for a diverse city break. Set on the Mediterranean Sea and a short drive away from breathtaking mountains, caves and natural beauty, it’s no wonder Lebanon continues to impress. In 2016 Beirut was ranked first place by Travel & Leisure as the “Best International Cities for Food” and is often listed in the top ten cities in the world to visit! Did you know Beirut had so much to offer? For those of you who’ve been lucky enough to visit this vibrant city, you’ll understand why! But for the rest of you, you’re in for a real treat, and a rather tasty AND elegant one at that! Verdun in particular is an impressive district where you’ll find loads of shopping, entertainment and of course infamous Lebanese cuisine. Read on to learn what you can expect to find on your visit to Verdun.
Verdun, a touch of class
Beirut, like many cities, is made up of different districts. Here, though, each one is distinctive and offers its own interpretation of the city. From commercial hubs to nightlife and entertainment sectors, banking to residential areas, not to mention historical sites that nod to an Ottoman past…the list is endless. If anything is certain, a touch of French acts as a thread that often runs through them all, binding them together.
If it’s sheer elegance that you’re after, then one particular district stands out: a sweeping boulevard lined with upscale offerings, not to mention, that classy French touch. The aptly named Rue Verdun, or Verdun Street, is an upscale commercial and residential area close to the city’s Downtown district. This wide thoroughfare is simply a joy to walk along, as it rises from Verdun’s Concorde area before gently falling away to the deluxe district of Ramlet El Baidar down by the coast where the clear blue waters gently lap the golden sands.
A bit of history on Verdun, Beirut
Before we tell you what you can find on the fabulous Rue Verdun, let’s have a history lesson, shall we? The street, which is a major shopping hub and tourist attraction, was named in honor of the Battle of Verdun in France during World War I. And Rue Verdun is not actually its official name. Verdun is actually the name of the district while the boulevard’s official name is Rachid Karami Street, after Lebanon's late Prime Minister who was assassinated during the Lebanese Civil War. Well, that’s enough of the history lesson. Now, let’s get back to the glamour…that’s what we’re here for, right?
Café society at its best
A walk down this spacious boulevard will reveal so many coffee shops and eateries – some branded, others independent – that you’ll be spoilt for choice. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, because each one is busy with Beirut’s glitterati. Join them and watch as people walk down what some people say is Beirut’s Fifth Avenue. And they’re not far wrong. Fancy something to eat? There are plenty of dining options from high class restaurants to branded quick-service eateries, and everything in-between. Treat your taste buds to a modern, international experience at the Cook House Restaurant overlooking the vibrant Verdun Street.
Shop till you drop
Verdun is great for shopping. But be warned, you’ll need to have your credit card handy. The Rue is home to some of the most important fashion boutiques and retail chains, luxury shopping outlets and high-end shopping centers, housing some of the world's most prestigious designer brands. More recently, the state-of-the-art ABC Verdun opened its doors, putting Verdun firmly on the map as the capital’s place to be seen, shop and dine.
Where to stay in Beirut
You’re in luck. Right in the middle of Verdun, towering above the spectacular Dunes Center, is the Radisson Blu Hotel, Beirut-Verdun, which opened its doors in December 2017. You'll have to hurry if you want to be one of the firsts to experience it!