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Simone Bistrot and Art is serving up its last meals.
Simone Bistrot and Art is serving up its last meals. Eli Meixler

Boeung Kak mission comes to end

Simone Bistrot and Art – set up two years ago ostensibly in a bid to reinvigorate the former backpacker haven at Boeung Kak lake and turn it into an “art village” – is closing – much to some in the area’s relief.

Since opening, the two French women behind the venture, Marj Arnaud and Ludi Labille, have organised a series of clean-up days, music and art parties, graffiti activities and residence programs, all in order to beautify and activate the neighbourhood.

In a statement, co-founder Labille said Simone was set up to increase interest in Boeung Kak through art and revitalise the local economy.

“After two years of intensive work on these goals, we can conclude a positive balance,” she said. “Several activities have been created (or are in the process of being created).

“We reached our two goals! So now, we need to stand back, take a break, find a new manager for Simone and develop new ideas.”

However, not everyone has been appreciative of Labille and Arnaud’s efforts.

Boueng Kak Village Six deputy chief Touch Houng said the bistrot stayed open as late as 2am playing loud music without permission and she was glad the venue was closing.

“We allowed the owner to open until 11pm at the latest, but they open it until late night without respecting the neighbours,” Houng said.

“I also live near that place and I often heard loud music, and people drank there.”

“Since this bistrot is here, I don’t like it at all because the loud music and talking is annoying. I can say it doesn’t happen every day, but when it did, it was so noisy. That shop doesn’t help or relate to our community at all.

“I will be happy when this bistrot has moved out of this place because people around that place are not happy with it as well,” she said.

To mark the end of an era, Simone is hosting a party from 7pm on April 1 featuring the Cambodian Disco Club, DJ Sequence, Gorimma and others.

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