It’s been a while since I have been to Paris. After just under 3 hours from Aix-en-Provence on the TGV, I arrived in the city center of Paris and hopped on the metro. As I sat, recognizing the familiar smell I knew well in the past, I played my old favorite metro game of trying to spot the difference between the Parisians and the tourists. The most obvious clue? The people who are smiling are the tourists heading out to explore this fabulous city with all of its offerings: history, culture, architecture, gastronomy and its present presence.
Paris also connects me with my past. I had many occasions to do this in the few days I spent in the capital. I met friends who I have not seen for 10, 15 or more years. It made me realize that the years pass but that the human connection remains unchanged and always present, with perhaps a few more wrinkles.
I returned to the place where I met my wife, worked and lived some very exceptional professional and personal experiences 17 years ago. I felt very nostalgic as I passed through the magnificent ‘Verrière’ on my way to meet with the General Manager of the Grand Hotel InterContinental Paris to present Big Waves. This hotel remains exceptionally elegant, along with its ‘younger brother’ Le Café de la Paix.
Paris is booming. Hotels are running full occupancy, although you mostly read in the paper or hear in the news that there is an economic crisis in the country. I believe we should also highlight the positive aspects of the present in order to encourage our society and country to move forward and build for the future.
The highlight of my time in Paris was dinner with the extremely talented 3* chef Christain Lesquer of the famous restaurant Ledoyen, Paris. It is always an enriching and stimulating time spent in his company. He shared with me his new restaurant and bistro concept etc. located on rue de la Pérouse, metro stop Kleber. Christian has gracefully combined past and present in a harmony of tradition and modern touches. The objective is simple: to offer a simple and delicious experience in a relaxed and simple environment. Objective met. The menu is enticingly clear and appetizing, the service efficient and friendly, wines are enjoyable and affordable. Did I mention that etc. also has Michelin 1* at more than reasonable prices? Bravo Christian and his team!
I couldn’t go to Paris without stopping in to La Terrace at the Westin Paris (previously the InterContinental Paris). This is a magical, hidden beauty in the heart of Paris. I love its peacefulness and very Parisian elegance.
Paris – I love to come back here to the energy, the beauty, the past and the present. This city has so much to offer and together we shall aim to give it an interesting and positive future.