French Property Insider Volume XI, Issue 49 Thursday, December 19, 2013 • Paris, France
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The year is coming to a close and we are losing a good friend to the Adrian Leeds Group, but only to recuperate his value to all of us in another arena.
Hôtel de Ville in Paris - photo courtesy tripadvisor.comIn the past you may have read about the "little birdie" at City Hall who has kept us enlightened on the goings-on of the city and invited us to multitudes of special occasions at the Hôtel de Ville...especially all the visits by U.S. mayors of which I was able to attend. That "little birdie" is a young gentleman introduced to me in May of 2003 by a mutual friend, named Laurent Queige. Until now, he has been the "Directeur de Cabinet de la Délégation au Tourisme de la Ville de Paris" (Chief of Staff of the Delegation for Tourism of the City of Paris).
When we first met, we were surprised not only that we hadn't come to know each other before, but that the Office de Tourisme de Paris had not welcomed our Parler Paris and French Property Insider American communities with open arms in the way they could or should have. He set out to make it up to us and we have been colleagues and friends ever since.
Today I received a letter from Laurent stating that it "is with great emotion" that he leaves this role. For 12 years, Laurent has worked with pride to enhance the attractiveness of the first tourist destination of the world. His accomplishments include:
1. Paris Capitale de la Création, which brings together more than 20 fashion shows, design and crafts, and allows us to regain market share from competitors;
3. Creative Paris, which positions itself as the leading destination for creative tourism;
4. The creation of modern youth hostels, especially that of Pajol, almost entirely funded out of municipal funds, but also supporting the establishment of private hostels, such as St. Christopher;
5. His battle, the most difficult and also the most intense, for the vitality and dynamism of Parisian nightlife, including the extension of the Métro to 2:15 a.m. weekend nights -- an achievement for which he is very proud...that Paris nights are more beautiful than her days!
Mayor Bertrand Delanoë of Paris meets Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony WilliamsI can recall many memorable occasions for which I have Laurent to thank. Once in 2004, I was personally escorted into the Mayor's office to be one of three journalists present to witness a private meeting between Mayor Bertrand Delanoë of Paris and Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams (adrianleeds.com/archives).
I was in shock! How on earth did I merit such a privilege? After witnessing this special occasion, I immediately called Laurent to thank him. He was as surprised as I was. "You were in the Mayor's office?? I've never been in the Mayor's office," he exclaimed!
There were unofficial times, too -- like late one Sunday night watching him and mutual friends sled on freshly fallen snow down the slopes of the Parc des Buttes Chaumont on makeshift toboggans made from cardboard boxes found in the trash at Rosa Bonheur, a guinguette (bar, bistrot, lounge) in the park. They slid down on their bottoms landing not so softly in the trees at the bottom and behaving more like six year-olds than the decades of their true years. (adrianleeds.com/parler-paris/archive/)
And now by virtue of his personal ethics, as a servant of the public service, he allowed and recommended tirelessly about 1,000 entrepreneurs who asked him for help -- us being a part of that group -- and without knowing it, was laying the foundations of his own new professional future. Early this past year, Laurent invited me and others in the tourism industry to participate in a 'brainstorming session' to determine a name for his own brainchild. And so it was born: The Welcome City Lab -- the first tourist 'incubator' in the world, of which he takes leadership on January 21st.
The Welcome City Lab is a program to stimulate innovation in the realm of tourism dedicated to offering a range of services to startups and players in the tourism industry -- a place for meetings, exchanges and collaboration, an experimental platform and a monitor for the industry. See a video of Laurent's opening presentation of the Welcome City Lab to the city.
M. Laurent QueigeLaurent wrote to us to say, "During all these years, you were the 'muses' who inspired me, nurtured and encouraged my efforts, my projects, my battles. Today I would like express my gratitude and friendship for all that we have accomplished together.THANK YOU to all of you for your friendship and loyal support over the years! You are the salt of my life!" Laurent Queige
It is to Laurent Queige that I dedicate this 49th issue of French Property Insider. Congratulations and best of luck to him, who deserves all he achieves in life as one of Paris' finest citizens. We are truly blessed. Laurent, thank YOU.
P.S. Mark your calendars for January 18 at 11:30 p.m. E/P and at 2:30 a.m. E/P for House Hunters International's "La Vie En Paris, France." Abby Gordon memorized maps of Paris before ever setting foot in France. So when a job transfer to the city of her dreams came up, she took the chance... Tune in and find out what happens!
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