Re-defining ‘joie de vivre’ with Quintessentially FT Weekend in the City of Light
2013 has seen an exciting new collaboration between Quintessentially, the world’s leading luxury concierge service, and Financial Times Weekend as they partner to deliver the inaugural Quintessentially FT Weekend. Offering money-can’t-buy experiences around the globe these weekends focus around the arts and culture, sporting tournaments, musical performances, world-class cuisine and opening the most exclusive of doors.
The first of these weekends sees guests travel to Paris from 10th-12th May 2013, with double Michelin starred chef Raymond Blanc OBE as their guest host. Insider spoke exclusively to Blanc to find out a little more of what he has planned for his “new friends” (http://www.quintessentially.com/insider/2013/23/23/raymond-blancs-paris).
Setting the tone for the unique attention to detail guests can expect, they are chauffeured to the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel where they meet their host for the weekend. After this initial champagne reception, with Blanc, guests are privately guided to their first class carriage aboard the Eurostar before checking in to the sumptuous five-star Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris based in the heart of the bustling 8th arrondissement.
Friday evening allows guests the chance to relax and unwind with a sumptuous dinner at Lapérouse hosted by Raymond Blanc before the opportunity to sample Paris’s infamous nightlife with late-night cocktails at one of the city’s fashionable bars.
Blanc is particularly looking forward to the opportunity to escort his guests through one of Paris’s finest, fresh produce markets on Saturday morning. He promises to “read something hard and beautiful that will set them up for discovering the markets.” Bringing to life his passion and exceptional understanding of the Parisian produce will surely be an eye-opening experience.
After a bespoke brunch at the exquisite L’Atelier Guy Martin Restaurant hosted by FT Weekend Associate Editor Natalie Whittle Following brunch guests can wander the chic streets of Paris, browse the shops surrounding Place Vendome or take advantage of the world renowned spa at their hotel (http://www.leroyalmonceau.com/explore-hotel/the-spa-my-blends-by-clarins/).
Saturday evening hosts a milestone for both those on the trip and Quintessentially; the inaugural Quintessentially FT Weekend Gala Dinner at the beautiful, 18th century Le Grand Véfour restaurant. Raymond Blanc has designed a 5-Michelin star menu alongside double Michelin starred chef Guy Martin which, in his own words, “will be a journey of friendship and conviviality at the highest level…it will be about gastronomy, art, culture, joie de vivre”. An exceptional highlight to the trip, the evening will also showcase a musical performance by renowned international concert Harpist Keziah Thomas and hosted by FT Weekend Columnist Simon Kuper.
Following Saturday evening’s spectacle one can indulge in a slower start on Sunday; guests can visit one of the city’s exceptional museums or choose from one of the Quintessentially optional experiences. Guests then meet at the hotel to be escorted to their private Yacht charter on the Seine. This is the final gastronomic experience of the trip with Blanc, whilst the boat cruises down the Seine past the city’s most beautiful sites. This is a suitably memorable end to an outstandingly luxurious weekend.