Le Grand Introduction

Los Angeles

It’s now one week from departure. D -7 and counting!

Last weekend I emailed a short letter of introduction, discussing my upcoming trip, to a number of contacts in my address book which included friend’s, family, and colleagues. I also emailed it to the ChurchillChat group on Google, thinking that there may be a few interested parties to be found there. I don’t send many emails in an exceedingly wide distribution like this but I thought this was one occasion that demanded such an action.

The responses I have received have been quite fascinating. Until one makes an announcement such as this one doesn’t realise how wide a net it may cast…

One of the first responses was from a friend who is retired lawyer in Washington who took an interesting historical holiday recently. He is the Executive VP of a group called the Napoleonic Alliance. He wrote:

“… 50 of us made a pilgrimage to Paris on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s coronation on December 2, 2004. The concert held at La Madeleine, the classical church facing the Place de la Concord whose interior is absolutely majestic. In black-tie, we filed in to a drum roll rendered by Grenadiers de la Garde Imperiale in their tall bearskins, a salute as one of the patrons of the affair, and we were seated in a prime location. Le tout Paris was there including the descendants of the Imperial family. I was introduced to a tall dignified affable fellow who did not have a coveted ticket, and I was about to donate my own (being already in) when he smiled politely and stated he didn’t need one. He was Nicolas Davout, duc d’Auerstadt and prince d’Eckmuhl, a descendant of one of Napoleon’s most illustrious marshals. After the concert, we repaired to a late dinner at Le Grand Vefour, a restaurant in period decor preferred by Napoleon and Josephine…”

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