Monday, August 18, 2008

Hôtel de Crillon

Hôtel de Crillon, the 5 star hotel in the Place de la Concorde, has a long illustrious history with its beginnings as far back as 1758.  Part of two identical stone buildings built under commission by Louis XV, it was originally meant to house government offices along with its twin to the east.  It instead was turned into a luxury hotel that Marie Antoinette frequented, while its twin remained a government building and to this day houses the offices of the French Navy.  

As with so many buildings in Paris, ownership has changed hands numerous times over the years and is currently run by the Tattinger family (the champagne Tattingers) who continue to provide guests with a level of exclusivity that is evident the minute you are greeted at the door.
And when you are greeted five feet inside the lobby, and five feet after that and so on and so on.....Over-the-top care is what takes place here.

I was fortunate enough to take a floral design class that was held in a tiny, yet elegant banquet room--that isn't even the right term as it was so beautiful--which looked out on a hidden courtyard.  For whatever reason I was the only attendee, so really had a private class with a lovely young floral designer.  At break time, a wonderful tea cart was brought in with artfully decorated pastries, paper thin porcelain tea cups and an entire silver service all for me.  Can you say heaven?  

Such luxury does not come cheap.  Friends of  mine are heading to Paris this week with their two sons and booked a night at Hotel de Crillon before heading to Brittany.  They were a bit taken aback at how much this one night was going to cost them but decided you only live once and they needed to go for it.  I hope their crazy, wonderful, hockey playing teenage boys know how lucky they are!!

I bring Hôtel de Crillon to your attention as I found a website that is offering a brand new cookbook that will be available in September which might be of interest to those of you who love to play in your kitchen and can't get to Paris.

Crillon At Home features recipes from the hotel's famous Les Ambassadeurs restaurant that is one of the best in the city.  Chef Jean-François Piège takes the reader behind the scenes into the Crillon's kitchen and then invites us into his own home to share informal recipes that he creates for family and friends.  According to the press release, both amateurs and seasoned chefs stand to benefit from Chef Piège's how-tos.  If you are cut from the cloth that can master them, they should be pretty delicious!

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