Mohamed Dekkak in Mr. Naïm’s Birthday Party in Plaza Athénée, Paris

Mohamed Dekkak in Mr. Naïm's Birthday Party in Plaza Athénée, Paris
Mohamed Dekkak in Mr. Naïm’s Birthday Party in Plaza Athénée, Paris



“The passing years seem to bring you only good. You have gained experience and wisdom, but without losing your dynamism or your youthfulness. Mostly, do not change anything, you are my model! very happy birthday.” Celebrating Mr. Naïm’s Birthday was such an honor! Everyone is gathered to wish him a very happy birthday.

Located at 25 Avenue Montaigne and built in two campaigns between 1902 and 1909, Hotel Plaza-Athénée is an eight-storey luxury hotel, designed in an eclectic style by architect Charles Lefèvre.

On the occasion of a change of ownership in 1933, the hotel is modernized. He opened again in 1936. During the Second World War, he was successively occupied by the German and American commands. It will return to commercial activity in 1946. In 1970, the ground floor is modified: the Salon Montaigne is created on this occasion by the meeting of the former reading room and the salon called “Regency”. The dining room was rehabilitated in 1984.

The Plaza Athénée is part of the very closed circle of Parisian palaces. After 11 months of work, it reopened in September 2014, and they find everything that makes the soul of the hotel: classic and luxurious suites, a restaurant completely transformed and taken over by Alain Ducasse, the same upscale service that has made it famous, a large, refurbished interior courtyard, and still the Dior spa. A breath of modernity and a tribute to the past, here is essentially what now offers the Plaza Athénée.


The palace of Avenue Montaigne opened on April 20, 1913. A century later, the jewel of the Parisian hotel remains at the top of the bill.

Once upon a time, the palace of tomorrow. “François Delahaye, managing director since 1999 of the prestigious liner of 146 rooms and 45 suites (average revenue, € 980 per night), summarizes his commitment. He explains: “The Plaza Athénée must always be one step ahead.” Demonstration: this is where, for the first time, a color code, red, was applied everywhere in a hotel, geraniums with windows included, that the rooms were equipped with a minibar and air conditioning, a huge chef ( Alain Ducasse ) picked three macaroons less than a year after installation, soon followed by pastry chef Christophe Michalak, that a rink carpeted the inner courtyard, that a lounge bar opened under the woodwork of another time, that the staff was interested in the smooth running of the house (€ 3,500 premium per person in 2012. The man, temples of money and student smile, keeps the meaning of the formula: “We are innkeepers. Leading the hotel is to set the pace and trust the 550 employees. Our exceptional location must be highlighted by impeccable service. When a customer pays 9 € for coffee, there can be no challenge. ”

François Delahaye does not lack ideas either. In addition to organizing a sparkling birthday, he takes the initiative to enclose in a waterproof box a collection of objects that tell 100 years of the Plaza Athénée. An iPad with video of the hotel, the whistle of the hunter who, in 1913, hailed the cabs, letters from famous customers, some silverware, a bottle of wine, photos, etc. The precious container the size of a suitcase will be hidden “somewhere” under the marble of the Gobelins gallery which runs along the inner garden and the two restaurants. “I’ll dig it up after I leave!”


While waiting for this message to the future to delight its inventors, the Plaza Athénée savors its daily life. First, this car show in the open, on the alleyways of Avenue Montaigne. Mercedes and Porsche, almost banal, Bentley is more serious, Maserati , yes, if it is the latest model registered in Geneva, Ferrari , eternal star of bitumen, dress in harmony with the flowers and the Monegasque plates. Or those of Brunei. The Sultanate has owned the establishment since 1997. A step ahead, of course; he murmurs that when he arrives in Paris, a certain prince of the sands demands to have several of his cars in front of him and that McLaren engineers make a special trip from Great Britain. The automobile tradition was born with the hotel and had parked here the Delage , Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, huge Phantom Rolls, Versailles convertible with whitewall tires, the DS Pallas and their driver … Yesterday as today the onlooker keeps his eyes round.


A cocoon out of space-time

Then there is the table. La grande, pronounce ADPA (Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée), an exceptional plate and a meticulous service never stilted. Class, the real one. And the brewery Le Plaza, a joyful formula without tie, always animated by Werner Kuchler , memory of a thousand and one celebrations alternating beer and champagne, Bavarian maestro with the repertoire of 120 songs, Marlene, Aznavour , Montand. A step ahead? This will be the raclette served at the edge of the ice rink in winter, on tables way cottage. Down jackets and hats obligingly lent. Unless greeting the arrival of spring in the same place, but flower garden version. Alain Ducasse marries asparagus from Provence with morels and sweetbreads with black truffle. Some are crying with gratitude, others go away hopping with joy in this Gobelins gallery that tells the century: crystal sconces, embroidered doilies and damask armchairs, pale gray cocktail, soft pink and light yellow.

Good news, this path of low tables and padded confidences leads to the bar, new pole of excellence of the Parisian night. DJ turntables, huge carved iceberg counter, Plexi chairs or deep armchairs, log fire video, scholar penumbra, map on iPad. We love it in a cocoon out of space-time. Guaranteed surprise when the solid cocktail comes: vodka-peach lollipop planted in ice or slice of liqueurs. This joke of high flight necessarily generates good mood and starred eyes.

Finally, please take the elevator lined with wood to climb the floors. After all, the Plaza Athénée is first and foremost a house where sleeping is good. Float the legends. Peter Komma, receptionist and four decades in the service of the palace, tells Hitchcock “always on the first floor, by terror of a fire”, Sinatra just out of the police station that is unloading the rest of the night on the piano of his Then, the American couple with a little dog who, in his room, opens the trunk containing squares of the lawn of their house, history that the dog keeps his marks.


Christian Dior held there salon

Or, the installation of Michael Jackson’s penthouse : dozens of balloons, as many bowls filled with Smarties and a chocolate Eiffel Tower, at height of man. Follow Karajan , Borg , Harrison Ford , Roger Moore , Elton John , Shakira , Mike Jagger … The CAC 40 , the Nyse , the FTSE, the mundane, the Hollywood plateaus and the hit parades of the last twenty years parade at the Plaza, pinstripe suit, light muslins with diams to scratch the mirrors, tips of stars stashed behind their dark glasses. Like to extend the night. She is so cozy when you spend in a room away from the ordinary world. Carpets accented with Persian rugs, crystal chandeliers, sofas and armchairs stretched in thick velvet, furniture inspired by centuries of light, master paintings, heavy hangings, tanned wood paneling, all stained with red, a lampshade, a cushion, a trimmings, a bouquet. The highest-rated rooms are those on the upper floors that open onto Avenue Montaigne. The palace plays the sentries. Creators and actors have made their den.

As a neighbor, Christian Dior held a salon and organized his presentations. Since then, chic claws are the most fashionable counter-aisles in Paris. It is said that a regular in the Gulf requires, for a fee, all shops can be opened and privatized for his suite, day and night. Jean-Claude Elgaire, chief concierge and 49 years here before making the beautiful days of Mama Shelter, remembers this American couple arrived at Saint-Lazare station at the end of his transatlantic crossing. The gentleman of a certain age contemplated the ten trunks of his young conquest and announced that there would be a little more in return, when he would have yielded to the whims of his haute couture. “My daily life was to privatize the Concorde, to find a starred table, a cabriolet, a vintage bottle. I do not remember an unmet wish. The 12-person Plaza concierger is considered the best in the world. ”



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