INTERVIEW - Béatrice de Plinval
What does the Place Vendôme represent for you?
This square is a gift given by Louis XIV to Paris. Since the 17th century, its majestic architecture has gathered and fed all the forceful symbols of his reign: power with the chancellery, money with the financial institutions, arts and crafts with jewellers and goldsmiths and later, fashion houses. It incarnates power. In the 19th century, Napoleon, who made the fortune of Marie-Etienne Nitot, Chaumet’s founder, gave the Vendôme column to the squre, the emblematic monument of the great victory at the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1989, César Ritz created the first great luxury hotel in the townhouse in which Marie-Etienne Nitot had lived…. Everything is connected, interleaved: people, architecture. Destinies meet and are created at the place Vendôme. It impossible to be insensitive to the power that emanates from it. I have crossed it every day for 43 years and each time I arrive, I am immersed in this beauty which is unique to the world. I never tire of it. This square, from everything it comprises, is the international emblem of our professions of quality and excellence.
When was the Comité Vendôme created?
The Comité Vendôme has existed since 1936. A very unusual fact for our professions, the institutions joined together to face the crisis. We are artisans of luxury. We defend our profession before being competitors. We are very close. The very unique architecture of the square counts a lot for this. The place has gathered us together and protected us since the 17th century. It is the guardian of our skills. If Parisian jewellery has been imitated throughout the world for the quality of its creations, it is also thanks to the place Vendôme.
What are the Comité Vendôme’s Activities ?
The essential role of the Comité Vendôme is to allow all our institutions to communicate with each other, to inform and enrich each other mutually in order to better spread outside. We have several committees: the safety committee which works closely with the Police; the artistic committee which is involved in all the cultural sites (organization of exhibitions, commemorations, preservation of our heritage, street lighting in the area,…); the press/communications committee which contributes its expertise to the communications strategy and our association’s image. Each of them must preserve the unique character of the Vendôme area while allowing it to move with the times. A difficult exercise which requires subtlety. For example, the Christmas decorations are especially difficult to create. Nothing can be added to the square. There is no question of putting up Christmas trees. We have chosen artistic lighting in the shape of trees on the corners of streets and on the facades of boutiques. They contribute an extraordinary poetical dimension to this universe of stone during the day. “The Enchanted Forest” with its luminous trunks and its sparkling branches at night is quite simply magical.
For you, who is the contemporary personality who is the most representative of the spirit of the Place Vendôme?
My admiration for Karl Lagerfeld is unlimited. He is in love with the Place Vendôme, the Chanel label flows through his veins. I dedicate the square to him. But I don’t want to create any jealousy. The Place Vendôme has so many lovers: powerful and wealth lovers because they come to settle in the Place Vendôme, such as Édouard Carmignac, a great financier, Lorenz Bäumer who is a major creator and Philippe Journo from the Compagnie de Phalsbourg… And then there are the regulars, the people who work here: the janitors, night watchmen and even postmen. They would all have so much to tell… they are the soul of the Place Vendôme.
Which are your favourite addresses?
In the domain of gastronomy and taste, I appreciate the Ritz, the Meurice, the Mandarin Oriental, the Park Hyatt and the restaurant Le Castiglione, whose owner is a charming man. I like the Westin for the beauty of its internal courtyard. The staff is considerate. But you know we are spoiled. In the Vendôme area, we have all the Michelin starred chefs of the luxury hotels. By an association of ideas, continuing our gourmet path, there is also the Galignani bookshop of which I am especially fond. An extraordinary place. Stendhal spent his life there…. for perfume: Guerlain of course. For the address: mine. I love my tiny office in this magnificent townhouse. The view over the square is unforgettable.
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Friday 22th November
For Christmas, the Place Vendôme unveals its sparkling christmas trees
BOUTIQUE Place Vendôme | Place Vendôme
Friday 01st March
Vendôme Luxury presentation
Tuesday 26th February
Paris Ready-to-Wear Fashion Week
Thursday 13th December
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