The London Grill: Valentin Boulan

We challenge our contributor to reply to ten devilishly probing questions about their London and we don’t take “Sorry Gov” for an answer. Everyone sitting in the hot seat will face the same questions that range from their favourite way to spend a day out in the capital to their most hated building on London’s skyline to find out just what Londoners really think about their city. The questions might be the same but the answers vary wildly.

Valentin-Boulan[V]alentin Boulan was born in a small town of France, and moved to London at the age of 15. Valentin went on to study History at the University of Bristol before returning to London. He now works as a Digital Marketing specialist in one of the city’s most established agencies. His specialties include content marketing, search engine optimisation and social media campaigns. He also writes a personal and travel blog, A French guy in London.

What’s your secret London tip?
Just make the most of the city. London has so much to offer, whether you’re into cultural trips, partying, meeting new people, etc. So get out and enjoy it. I’m often asked by other French people about living in London. Their questions are always centred around how expensive life in London is. They barely even ask about the city itself half the time. I think most people don’t realise how much there is to do here. This can be said of many Londoners, too.

What’s your secret London place?
I once had lunch at the East India Company headquarters near Oxford Circus. I had no idea they still officially existed. That’s pretty secret, right?

What’s your biggest gripe about London?
Some people’s public transport etiquette can be very frustrating. I particularly struggle with slow walkers during rush hours. I also can’t stand people who are overly loud of buses. Other than that, renting prices are an absolute killer.

What’s your favourite building?
The Natural History Museum is absolutely stunning, both inside and outside. I’ve always liked dinosaurs too, so you can imagine my excitement the first time I stepped inside the museum as a kid.

What’s your most hated building?
As a Frenchman and bitter loser, Nelson’s column!

What’s the best view in London?
The view from the London Eye is pretty good.

What’s your personal London landmark?
The British Museum is a personal favourite. Always something new to see and learn about. In a different category, I like walking around Harrods for the sheer, outrageous excessiveness of the whole concept. The food floor is fantastic!

What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?
I assume you mean set in London? I really enjoyed the King’s Speech. Another one, perhaps lesser known is ‘From Hell’, a film about the hunt of Jack the Ripper. Gives interesting insights to everyday life in London’s East End in the late 19th century, which as a historian I find fascinating. Documentary-wise, I’m a big fan of most things the BBC produce.

What’s your favourite bar, pub or restaurant?
Tough one! I’ll have to give my local pub, The Globe in Brentford, a mention. It’s only a few minutes away from my house which is rather convenient. The staff are always really, they serve decent food and have a lovely little summer beer garden. It’s also the preferred location for Brentford FC fans, so it can get pretty lively at weekends.

How would you spend your ideal day off in London?
In an ideal world where I could fit everything into my schedule, I’d probably wake up early to visit a couple of museums. Then stop for lunch somewhere nice. I’d go on to watch a football game at the Emirates Stadium and end the day on a bar crawl. Make a night of it whilst I’m out.

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