"Meet me at the Hotel Crillon, Place de la Concorde, not inside; outside. I have a party at eight o'clock. Meet me at seven thirty." Pierre tells me over the phone.
Am I invited to the party or does he want to meet with me for 30 minutes before the party? I wonder, but don't ask. "Okay." I reply.
My phone rings again. "Bring an umbrella. It is raining outside." he says. Yes, I can see that, I don't bother to say out loud. "Okay." I reply.
Just in case I'm actually invited to the party, I put on my Dolce & Gabbanna black skirt, Belgian designer Dries Van Noten blouse and 4 inch heels. (Fashion is addicting). I head for the metro and for the first time, I actually check the seat twice before sitting down on D&G. (Fashion can be high maintenance.)
It's 7:40 and I haven't been to the Concorde plaza at night, in a while. I'm turned around and confused when I exit the metro. "Where are you? I can't find you." I say to Pierre after calling him. "Exit the metro, and when you are facing the river turn right." he replies. It's dark outside, "What river?" I can't see the river, I ask. "The River Seine." he says patiently. "Yes, Pierre, but I can't see the river. Which way is it?" I ask flustered and late. "The obelisk. Face the obelisk and turn Right." he says calmly. Ah, the obelisk is beautifully lit in the center of the Concord plaza. "Okay. I will see you soon." I tell him.
He's standing distinguishably in front of the luxury Crillion Hotel as if he owns it. Wearing a suit, crisp white (designer) shirt and tie, as usual. He smiles kindly when he recognizes me and I remember why I like being around him. As I approache his eyes start his normal scan. He approves. I can tell from his expression as he holds my waist and greets me with a kiss on each cheek. "You are lovely my dear." he says soft and kindly. "But as usual, as a woman, you are late." he smiles as he extends his elbow to escort me.
A law firm is celebrating its relocation to a building just around the corner from
the Palais de l' Elysees (The French Presidential Palace). I'm invited to the party after all.
"Ahh, Hello Florence. I remember you from last year." says Pierre's friend Paul, as we arrive. "Last year?" I smile and reply in English. "Yes. Dinner with the German Prime Minister." he reminds me. I smile at the sound of that, and remember the dinner party with Pierre last year. "Oh yes. I remember. It's nice to see you again." I say. "Pierre talks about you often." Paul tells me, but I think he's just being polite. I smile, wanting to ask in French, "Oh yeah? Like what? What does he say about me often?" Instead, just a smile is my reply.
The champagne was wonderful and the appetizers were overflowing of shrimps, foie gras, ham and cheeses inside and on top of miniature breads, caviar, salmon, along with desserts of french pastries, puddings and custards in miniature glasses, macroons, and other items I didn't recognize. I try most of the appetizers I don't recognize since the portions are small enough to brave. Everything was delicious.
The evening was magnificent and I met several interesting and extremely polite international business men and women. Although I felt I had more in common with the 2 young girls one pouring the champagne, the other checking coats, and the young man serving some appetizers, I managed to keep my conversation with them short and integrated into the 'mature' crowd.
After a long evening of great conversation, we took a taxi home, and my first Soiree in the City with Pierre this year was fantastic.