Globetrotting design consultant Filipa De Abreu on the road that led her to Lisbon

Globetrotting design consultant Filipa De Abreu on the road that led her to Lisbon

"Your magic lies in being discreet."

By Neville Bhandara  April 25th, 2019

“I first came to Lisbon in the late ’90s as a young adult, straight out of university, and I instantly fell in love with it. I was mesmerised by its architectural beauty and its proximity to water. There was a decadent feel about it that made it seem as though it had stopped in time. But my time here was short lived, and I left with a heavy heart. Many years later, I was living in Paris, a married mother of two. My husband, who much like me has always lived a nomadic existence, felt it was time to move. We decided to spend a weekend in Lisbon to think about where we could settle next, but lo and behold—Lisbon became the choice to start our new lives. I still don’t know what made me want to come back over and over. I have lived all over the world; in London, Los Angeles, Paris, Athens and other cities… all fast paced and action-filled, with not a moment to be wasted or unaccounted for. Lisbon is the opposite of all that. My husband and I wanted a new start, a fresh outlook and a place to raise our children (I was pregnant with our third). We thought it would be a haven, a nest that would provide security, family stability, and a healthier way of living.”

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FILIPA DE ABREU: Design Consultant; Event Stylist & Brand Ambassador, Tory Burch

It’s been 11 years since we made that shift. Every year I would say, “Okay, it’s been great but it’s time to move again”. But somehow, the courage to leave is always overwhelmed by the sadness of walking away from Lisbon’s cobbled streets, the seven hills, the Tagus River that thinks itself the sea, the roar of the Atlantic Ocean, the kindness of my local shopkeeper, and the breath-taking light that suffuses everything. Lisbon, you are beautiful. I’m still amazed by your beauty, your ethereal glow and the love that you so generously bestow upon us. Every stone in your sidewalks, every tile in your buildings, every wooden tram that climbs your hills and every baroque church altar is testament to the fact that God broke the mould when he made you. And while you may lack the grandeur of Paris or Florence and the magnetism of New York or London, you nail it with your humility and simple elegance. You are a daily source of inspiration. No wonder you are on the radar of every globetrotter—everyone seems to want to live here, visit here, invest here—but I selfishly hope they don’t all discover you, because your magic lies in being discreet.”

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Lisbon