“Attire is casual chic” said the invitation for dinner in Paris’ trés, trés private club – Le Cercle de l’Union Interalliée.
It’s one of the City of Light’s most private social and dining establishments that sends shivers up my spine, considering its location that’s right in between the French Presidential Palace and the stately British Embassy in ritzy Faubourg St. Honoré.
The first time I entered its Art Nouveau doors was when Manila top interior decorator Jonathan Matti celebrated his birthday with guests jetting in from the four corners of the world.
I do believe Jonathan set a trend in Imperial Manille’s society to splurge a fortune and a half in Paris’ most exclusive and historical venues to mark a special event.
Yes, he introduced Crazy Rich Asians to Parisian High Life! Bravo for us because it has become almost traditional to go and celebrate in the world’s most beautiful city life’s most memorable moments.
I just attended Jonathan’s latest Cercle de l’Union Interallié réception together with the Philippine Embassy’s 75th celebration of French Philippine diplomatic relationship honoring Elmer Borlongan’s Paris art exhibit.
Hardly a week later, I get an invitation for dinner with Philippine Knit Queen Lulu Tan Gan at the club’s private dining room! So, dressed up in our chic casuals, Pål Larsen and I got a taxi for our grand entrance in the Cercle’s imposing courtyard. I saw the reception desk’s puzzled look when I grandly announced that we were to eat in the dining room.
“We’ll gladly lend you coats and ties for your dinner, sir!” I could feel my face turn beet red as we were led to the reception area where the toilets were located. I could smell that acid acrylic fabric as I put on the coat while adjusting the borrowed tie. My brow was melting fast as we were led to Lulu’s table.
But the grandeur of the dining room with its fringed heavy brocade curtains and the terribly classic menu set my mouth watering made the evening beautifully Parisian again!
Plus the charming company of His Excellency Indian Ambassador Ramesh Mulyé and typically blonde French spouse Flo, delightful Pauline Lepoutre and our hostess Lulu with her chic signature neck scarf erased the social travail of nearly refused entrance to one of Paris’ revered private social club!
There was almost a cathedral ambience as the waiters silently went about their business sliding our dishes from left to right, full of gustatory classics. Watching the classy members being led to their appointed tables amidst giant gilded urns of white gladioli transported me to another era.
Well, if you’re a member of the Manila Polo Club, you can ask them to book you for this memorable experience!
I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep. When the hired man, who is not a shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees a wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away; so the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. John 10:11–12, TEV*