April 24, 2013

Only the French shine at "savoir-faire"

It seems to be my week of luxury hotels. Visiting the hotel Crillon last week before it closed its doors left me with a bitter-sweet aftertaste. This was to be remedied by celebrating the Hotel Plaza Athenée's 100th year birthday.

In the luxury business, the French have a talent to present their savoir-faire skills in a way that only they manage to such perfection. Their know-how to drape clients in veils of luxury and present their product in a most delicate and precious light, in the most graceful elegance and tempting situtation is unbeatable.

The Italians have the gifts of charm and design but the French have the savoir-faire.

All this sprang to my mind when we were invited to follow the red carpet and uncover the hotels' different metiers (trades) and savoir-faire (know-how).

We watched a hard-working carpenter varnish a wooden board, a maid display the eight different pillows you could choose from during your stay, a shoe-shiner smoothly polish gentlemens' shoes, a babysitter show off the hotels' children's accessories, three flower arrangers present colourful bouquets perfectly in harmony with their surroundings, patissier chefs that presented their skills in flambeing crepes suzettes before our eyes, and a sommelier capturing a magical champagne moment for the guest.

In English all of the above would be simply called: staff! Not so in one of the most sophisticated hotels of Paris on Avenue Montaigne. It is all about savoir-faire. After all, Paris is the capital of luxury.


  1. That champagne fountain is incredible! How do they dismantle it, I wonder.

  2. Apparently Moet & Chandon hires two persons for this kind of PR gig. They set it up one by one and take it down one by one. They use three Magnum bottles of champagne to fill all the glasses. ;)


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