Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Welcome to the Queen's Table

2013 is an important year for heritage in France. 100 years of the 1913 "Monuments" law and the 30th edition of the Heritage days. Created in France 30 years ago, with an endorsement from the Council of Europe and the EU, they are now a tradition all around our continent. A weekend when monuments and sites are open to the public for free and when many places you can't normally visit open their doors. The exact weekend may differ from one country to the other, but always is a weekend in September. 

The British Ambassador kindly opened his Residence to the public for a day. Nice of him. He was even there in person to welcome the visitors. Very nice of him. He had set the big dining room table for 60 people. There was a short video showing the meticulous procedure of assembling and setting the table (two layers of one-piece tablecloths being ironed directly on the 26 pieces table, then the central pieces, the silverware, the cutlery, the bouquets, the name tags, the chandeliers...). The menu and name tags dated back to 1972, to a dinner hosted by the Queen herself. Among the invited - Mr and Mrs President George's Pompidou, Mr and Mrs Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Mr and Mrs Edouard Balladur, a few other ministers, counts and earls... The Embassy's butler was there in person to answer all our weird questions about protocol, food, plates and flowers. Thank you for making us feel welcome in your home, Your Excellency!

My favourite parts - the conservatory, the bouquets, the dining room, the garden and the chandeliers. 

It was a very British visit, we queued in heavy rainfall to get in then we all got bags for our soaked umbrellas upon the arrival and walked out through the garden in heavy rainfall again.

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