A birthday could not have been better & I cannot thank Jackie at the Four Seasons George V & Louise at Plaza Athenee enough. A '7 teddy day' before I move to the Caribbean.
Eurostar Business Premier
The only other time I have travelled on Eurostar was just after it first launched in 1994. It has not improved. A cramped Business Premier lounge at Paddington; too much walking to the train carriage and a table too small for the Raymond Blanc food served. However, arriving at Paris Gare du Nord in two hours & 15 minutes, & the Channel Tunnel, are impressive.
A Four Seasons George V Welcome to Paris
Finding a birthday cake, with candle, & Veuve Clicquot in the Mercedes taking me to the Four Seasons George V reconfirmed I was heading the 'Best Hotel in the World'.
At the George V Jackie was waiting for me in the lobby and we ended up hugging. We have been friends sine I first stayed at the George V in 2007. We all agreed Brexit made it a sad day for Europe.
I started by enjoying some water before lunch, while looking out at La Galerie.
Lunch in Le Cinq
I was not aware you needed to wear a jacket at lunchtime but one was found for me to borrow in seconds.
Thanks to Jackie, I started lunch in Le Cinq with vintage champagne wondering what my gift from the hotel was.
Amuse Bouche from Another World
Lunch began with amuse bouche from another world. A silver 'bubble' containing campari & orange, a raspberry bauble with a liquid centre and a part hollowed-out radish with salted butter & little crisps. I was mesmerised by cooking at this exalted level.
There was a further amuse bouche of fresh peas on a lemon foam. I have never tasted peas this good.
My truffled green asparagus with a Chateau Chalon mousseline came with my first asparagus ice cream. The contrast of temperatures and the rich tastes blew my mind.
Next it was French onion soup as reimagined by Christian Le Squer. 'Bubbles' contained the French onion soup & burst in your mouth with a riot of delicious sweet flavour.
Then I finally opened my birthday gift from the hotel. Eric Beaumard's wine book was such a thoughtful birthday gift picked by Jackie. Eric was the member of Four Seasons staff who introduced me to Edouard De Nazelle at Veuve Clicquot, which led to me becoming an 'ambassador' for that champagne brand and a great friend of Edouard's.
The Best Main Course I Have Even Eaten
My main course was spaghetti timbale with morels, ham hock & black truffles, which is a signature dish. I loved the gold leaf and was amazed to find vertical pasta strands form a casing holding the creamy sauce, the morels & the ham hock. It all worked perfectly together and the truffles added a luxurious scent. One of the best dishes I have ever eaten.
Champagne Based Palate Cleanser
I was told my champagne based palate cleanser, with wild strawberries, had been specially created for me for my birthday.
Desserts & Birthday 'Cake'
With my dessert of crunchy coffee mouse, blackberries cooked in their juice & whisky infused caramel came a birthday ice cream 'cake'. The dessert was sublime but I had eaten too much by now.
Birthday Message from the President of Four Seasons
Over lunch I replied to birthday messages from around the world, including one from the President of Four Seasons.
Chef Christian Le Squer
At the end of the meal Chef Christian Le Squer came to speak to me via a member of staff translating. I told him it was one of the best meals of my life & he was clearly thrilled to hear this. Then Jackie came to see me again & I felt I must hug her for a second time that day. Just like the late Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, I do not like hugs & so this shows what an incredible day I was having.
After lunch I went to Le Bar for a perfect very dry Grey Goose martini. I talked to a charming young America couple there and had an interesting discussion with the bar staff about vermouth in martinis & Four Seasons New York.
Jeff Leatham's Flowers
As I was leaving the hotel I admired Jeff Leatham's flowers again. That guy is a floral genius.
Suites at the Plaza Athenee
Next it was the Plaza Athenee, one of the Dorchester Collection's hotels in Paris. Louise was waiting for me in the lobby. She said the Sex & the City suite was occupied again. However, she showed me a beautiful suite with stunning view of the Eiffel Tower and we had a useful chat about the Sultan of Brunei. Louise exemplifies the best of Dorchester Collection staff.
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee
Louise then showed me their Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee restaurant, which takes your breath away. Louise was also impressed by Issy's new London outfit from Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square.
Louise then left me in La Galerie where a stunning new red teddy bear had been left for me and a book by Alain Ducasse, I felt like hugging Louise too. I was brought another birthday cake with candle and was running out of things to wish for!!!
Pool at Ritz, Paris in their Chanel Spa
I ended my day in Paris swimming in the Ritz, Paris pool. It is a beautiful pool but it was just a shame all the beds around it were covered in used towels.
Eurostar Back to London
The Business Premier Lounge in Paris is much better and I relaxed with a final glass of champagne.
On the train a passenger spotted my teddy bears and asked if I was Si Frew of www.sifrew.com. Fame at last!!!
Back at my Barbican place I opened my gifts and was thrilled. I am so lucky to have such incredible family & friends.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 (7 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - definitely a '7 teddy' birthday in Paris. A birthday cake in the limo, a sublime lunch, Jackie & Louise and a message from the President of Four Seasons. My tips:- do not bother to pay for Business Premier on Eurostar & take a jacket.