Last month marked both the end of a dynamic year — expanding our international client base, launching both my blog and image enhancement teleseminar courses, maintaining a heightened role in community service —and a new beginning for Corporate Class. In early December, just before the holiday frenzy began in earnest, we moved our offices to 60 Bloor Street West, Suite 1100.
With all this activity, I welcomed the idea of an interlude before embarking on my 2010 journey. What could be more perfect than Christmas in Paris?
Although I’d been to Paris before, this was my first Christmas celebration in the magical City of Lights and I can truly say everything sparkled —from the shimmering streetlights to the magnificent chandeliers illuminating the city’s finest dining rooms. And what better time to visit this world capital of gastronomy!
On Christmas Eve, we attended Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral and then went to dinner at the Hotel de Crillon’s historic restaurant, overlooking Place de la Concorde. A talented pianist played throughout the evening and despite the romantic setting and glamorous atmosphere, I was disappointed by the absence of Christmas music. When we made our request, the pianist explained that he rarely played this genre but would do his best and he did in fact oblige us with a beautiful rendition of White Christmas. But — I’m still puzzled by his limited repertoire for a Christmas Eve performance. Maybe everyone’s had enough by the time December 24 arrives and perhaps I’m alone when it comes to hearing Christmas music, especially on Christmas Eve?
As an inveterate shopper, I headed out on December 26 expecting to find the famous Paris sales or “soldes” I’d encountered at summer’s end on previous visits. Not so. Strict government regulations dictate when merchandise can go on sale in France and as luck would have it, January 6 was the scheduled start day for this season.
Information about the Paris timetable for sales
Happily, I didn’t leave Paris empty-handed. While we were exploring Montmartre, I discovered an absolute gem — a fabulous fabric shop — PARIS TISSUS, 15 Rue de Steinkerque, 75018 Paris, France. (Tel: 01 42 54 33 51. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) I met the owner, Rolland Brami and was thrilled to find an unusual cashmere and mink fabric with a subtle sheen, thanks to the mink, and a silk print by designer Robert Cavalli.
Rolland chatted with us about his business; he’s also a fabric designer of considerable renown. His red Chantilly lace and matching silk satin, with crystal beading, were selected by Dallas clothing designer Michael Faircloth for Laura Bush’s 2001 Inaugural gown. Rolland said that although he was truly proud of his accomplishment, he didn’t feel it was the best choice of colour for Mrs. Bush. I agreed!
Every day began with freshly squeezed orange juice and warm croissants. Lunch destinations varied from bistros and brasseries to the sumptuous assortment of delicacies at Bon Marché Épicerie. Very loosely translated, this is the delicatessen counter at the Bon Marché department store but in reality it’s a gourmet’s paradise. At every restaurant meal, a cheese course with numerous selections preceded dessert, often a deliciously rich pastry. Dinner was frequently fish — always eaten with the special fish fork and knife, long out of favour with North Americans, that the French reserve for fish. The other side of the coin, however, is that France dispensed with bread and butter plates years ago — even in the finest restaurants. And speaking of fine restaurants, here’s a look at Hotel De Crillon’s New Year’s Eve menu. Regrets I can’t comment — we’d left for home.
Alors, following a wonderful week, I’m happy to be back and have already embraced 2010. I have my business plan in hand and my goals are well laid out — I’m excited about the New Year.
And I hope you are, too. I invite you to share with us how we can serve you through our blog and newsletters.
Happy New Year!
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