April 22, 2015

An memorable housewarming party

This was a party that was not going to happen without me! Three years of noise, dirt and ugly scaffolding that glared at us every morning at breakfast. When we first moved into our flat we actually tried to negotiate the price given the works going on in full swing across the road. Dahhh, really? Welcome to Paris folks: take it or leave it!

Well, this hotel formerly known as the Hotel Majestic, opened in 1908, converted to government offices in 1936, served as the headquarters of the German military high command in France during the Nazi occupation of Paris, and reopened as a hotel in 2014 following four years of restoration, has found its old glamour with a modern twist thanks to the Qatari group whom invested in The Peninsula to open this splendid five star hotel in Paris.

We first noticed the three huge trucks pulling up one morning at the entrance. Was it to be the filming of a movie? The first night went by without any action. Then the silver rugbyball-shaped statue went up on the roof terrace. Maybe a concert? But the night passed and all remained quiet. By the third day I could not stand it any longer, I marched across the road and inquired to what was going on. 

A perplexed looking staff member answered: "Madame, et ess ze opening night of The Peninsula."

Well, this party was not going down sans MOI! Who would dare to be so rude as to throw a housewarming party without inviting their neighbours? I was either getting myself an invitation OR gate-crashing the party.

My hubby realised the graveness of the situation and miraculously had us put onto the guest list pronto.

First we watched the VIP arriving from our kitchen window, not that we recognized anyone but the cars were a treat to look at. I changed into my fuchsia cocktail dress and hand in hand with my hubby slid out of our front door and had to keep myself from skipping across the road. I thought of all the VIPs and tried as gracefully as possible to arrive at The Peninsula entrance where a charming lady checked the guest list for our name ... and ... sure enough, we were on it! Yessss. Yessss. Yesssssssssssss!

We walked the red carpet, admiring the acrobats hanging from floating balloons at the entrance. Walking passed a Rolls Royce old-timer, we entered the lobby and were welcomed by a classical orchestra. We hardly got through the revolving door when a bellboy all dressed in white with his little bonnet greeted us while a waiter next to him served us a glass of champagne from a silver platter. I felt like I had entered a palace and was about to meet the queen!

We ventured across the huge lobby full of people but none were wearing bright colours. It was a curious mix of guests. Hong Kong Chinese linked to the Peninsula group, Middle Eastern people tied to the Qatari investors and of course the locals, les français.

We reached the terrace from where we waved to Expat girl looking out of our kitchen window. How cool is that?

The sounds of Mexican Mariachis echoed throughout the terrace. Moving on swiftly into the Asian restaurant we came across a female Chinese DJ featuring her talents. The Gallery area showcased Josephine Baker style singers. We enjoyed a spectacular evening of caviar and fois gras accompanied by champagne served by graceful garçons throughout the hotel. The smiling waiters - constantly ready to top your glass or fill your plate - made me feel like a princess.

We never made it to the top terrace given that the queue for the elevator was 2 hours long but then again, it didn't matter.... I can now say that I've had my share, I have explored the grounds of this utterly luxurious hotel situated in front of our lovely Haussmanian flat... and should we be posted somewhere else tomorrow I can say with satisfaction that I am happy to move on.

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