It's holiday time. With the 14 July Bastille Day holiday behind us and most of the Parisians gone away from 15 July to 15 August, Paris is really at its most quiet.
Mind you, things change. We still hope to achieve 90% occupancy this month and 80% in August. It feels so much more tranquil, though, as there is nothing happening in banqueting, all the regulars of the restaurant and bar have gone away, and the guests are here on vacation rather than business.
During this lull, we are taking the opportunity to restore the Salon Napol‚on, our most beautiful ballroom. Seventeen painters, all specialists in old-style painting, frescos, gilding, etc, have invaded the room and will stay until 24 August.
The Salon Imp‚rial is getting a clean-up of a smaller scale, as the wear and tear of a busy year was rather obvious. We are also finalising the quotations for the restaurant and are planning to carry out the work in the autumn.
I think I told you a while ago about our Parisian revenue department, that we created early last year. We are proud to say that Klaus Kohlmayr has since moved on and is now revenue manager for Inter-Continental Hotels Europe.
Hartmut Fink is his successor and his first task was to integrate the reservations department of the Grand hotel with ours. This had to be done rather fast, since the Grand is closing in December for a major renovation. We renovated and enlarged the present office and are now just waiting for the switchboard to be upgraded before combining both in August.
That brings me to June, which was absolutely the best month this hotel has ever seen. The air show at Le Bourget was a great success - also for France in general - and all of Paris was feeling it. There was a helicopter and a fighter plane on the Place de la Concorde, a mock-up of the new Airbus on Trocadéro, and everybody knew what was going on.
There is also a sculpture exhibition at the Place Vend"me this summer. Less favourable, however, is the new mayor's decision to close the road by the Seine to traffic, to make way for walkers, rollerbladers, etc.
Last night it was most impressive to see three policemen arriving on rollerblades, wearing baseball caps et al, on the scene of a small crime. I tell you, even the traditionalist French are becoming très cool!
DAGMARWOODWARD is general manager of the Hotel Inter-Continental Paris Next diary from Dagmar Woodward: 6 September