First let me thank you for all the messages that you sent over the phone, by email and post, mentioning Tuesday morning as being very special in your lives. This is the 6 th anniversary of Parisdiary which started on January 20, 2015! YOU make me happy when you read it and I feel that I have fulfilled my desire to share with all of you my love of Paris. This New Year, is marked by one particularly sad news, that of Brexit being final. But it will not affect in any way our friendships with the Brits and I hope that even though Erasmus, the common European student program will not involve Britain any more, the young will keep befriending each other over the borders. Ironically, English remains the official language used in Europe and while Michel Barnier, nicknamed “the most dangerous man in Europe” by the Daily Telegraph in 2010, spoke of a loose-loose deal (perdant-perdant), we are all relieved that some sort of agreement was signed.
Scotland might start a secession war, British fishermen feel betrayed, French wine and champagne sellers will loose sales and real estate in London is going to suffer from the departure of many financiers. But the United Kingdom will remain “unique” and this is what we enjoy about it. Times might resume like in the 1960’s, when we smuggled shetland and cashmere sweaters, tea and chocolate mints, across the border, and what fun it was! But I have been invited to a wedding in Dorset in July and to play the very exclusive golf course of Portrush in Northern Ireland, in May, so I don’t care…
Michel Barnier, who led the team of negotiators for the European community, started his career as an MP of Savoie, in 1978. At 27, he was elected the youngest député in France, he was also one of the most attractive boys of my generation and married the prettiest girl, Isabelle Altmayer. He is well known for having organized the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, with Jean Claude Killy. His impeccable tie and handsome looks have certainly helped ease the negotiations. His victorious attitude on French television when he announced the signature of the deal on Christmas Eve, seemed to prepare him for future high responsibilities. He could certainly be made “Man of the Year” for having kept his calm and sanity since June 23, 2016. I remember well hearing the traumatic news of the British vote, on Lake Iseo when I woke up from having toured Christo’s project the previous evening. And you probably remember that moment too.
We will miss Pierre Cardin, the giant of fashion who conquered the world and always went his own way against the establishment. I used to see him often get in and out of his very old green jaguar in front of his office of avenue de Marigny. On the same day, December 29, the jazzman Claude Bolling also left us. Two very extraordinary men.
And another sad news is the closing down of restaurant Laurent, which used to belong to Jimmy Goldsmith on the Champs Elysées. But its former chef, Alain Pégouret, now runs the restaurant “Le Sergent recruteur ” on île Saint Louis. And at the moment he cooks superb take out meals.
A good news was just announced that Julian Assange will not be extradited to the US. Well done Edward Fitzgerald!
Happy New Year to everyone and as one of my American friends used to tell me “The sun always shines after a storm”.
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