Explore Paris with François Delahaye
As general manager for Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris, there’s little this Frenchman doesn’t know about what to see and do in the world-famous City of Light.
What’s your favourite Parisian landmark?
Without a doubt it has to be the Eiffel Tower. It’s not only the symbol of Paris but of France as a whole. I love its history, what it represents, and the fact that nobody wanted it built at the time but now it’s a true icon. I never grow tired of the way it sparkles at night. When I’m working late I love to watch from the hotel how it dazzles the city.
What do you recommend for first-time visitors to Paris?
To plan a second visit, there’s so much to see! I always suggest taking a boat trip along the Seine on one of the famous Bateaux Mouches, it’s the perfect way to discover Paris with ease. From the river you get to see: the Eiffel Tower, Pont Alexandre III, Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre and our dear Notre-Dame cathedral. I also suggest taking time to discover real French cuisine. For the ultimate experience of both fine dining and sightseeing, try the Ducasse sur Seine boat trip.
What do you love most about Hôtel Plaza Athénée?
I adore its legendary history and elegant interiors, but for me it’s the people who really bring it to life. Our incredible team and all our guests make the hotel an inspiring place to be. From who you meet when you arrive, to our helpful concierge and friendly restaurant staff, they’re all dedicated to making your stay a memorable one.
What’s your ideal day off?
I enjoy starting the day with an energising run through the scenic Bois de Boulogne with my son. When it comes to lunchtime, it’s all about spending family time together and enjoying delicious food, especially on Sundays. After a leisurely lunch, I like to take my daughter shopping along avenue Montaigne as it’s the best place in Paris for fashion.
What’s your favourite area of the city?
I adore Montmartre. When I go there it feels like I’ve stepped back in time. It gives me a sense of the ‘real Paris’ with all its little restaurants, artists and it even has vineyards. For me, Montmartre is the Paris of Edith Piaf, Picasso, Modigliani and the wonderful movie Amélie.
What’s your favourite dish?
If I have to pick just one thing it would be the refreshed Brittany langoustines with golden caviar served at our Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée restaurant. It’s a delightful dish created by chef Romain Meder, representing French cuisine at its finest.
How do you like to relax?
I love listening to music. A favourite track of mine that I never grow tired of listening to is Charles Aznavour singing, ‘A Ma Fille’. Books are another great passion of mine and I particularly enjoy reading about Napoleon. I’m also a huge James Bond fan.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The thought of returning to work. I really appreciate working in such an exceptionally beautiful place and every day at the hotel is a new adventure for me.
What’s your top travel tip?
I like to look smart, even when I’m travelling, so I always wear a jacket. I think it’s important as a Frenchman to represent the art of French elegance.
François Delahaye General Manager Hôtel Plaza Athénée and Chief Operating Officer - Dorchester Collection
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