The Society of Friends of Versailles works to restore the French place to its grandeur ... Going to market with Brad and Angelina ... Jude stays home.

Does Catharine Hamilton, the noted Chicago philanthropist, love France as much as de Gaulle did? Maybe that's going a bit too far. But certainly, she loves Versailles with the same fervor the hulking general did. You could say she's in love with the place, the most magnificent place in the world.

For years Catharine has been working nuit et jour to keep this famous vision of beauty beautiful, her goal being to restore some of the palace's treasures that had fallen into rack and ruin, primarily "Les Bosquet des Trois Fontaines," the once-exquisite tiered fountain so beloved by Louis XIV, a crumbled and weed-choked wreck until Catharine began her crusade.

Obviously, you can't do something like this all alone. That's what friends are for. So Catharine set about enlisting her rich and caring pals, Francophiles one and all, into Le Societé des Amis de Versailles (The Society of Friends of Versailles), which is just what it sounds like. She appealed to their sense of history and beauty and lured them by arranging all sorts of hot meals and entertainment at the most exalted venues and private houses in Paris, where normally one could hardly get one's foot in the door, and by hosting great dazzling balls at Versailles itself, all guild and grandeur and generous donors.

So now the American Friends are planning a series of meetings in New York this week, all very chic and stunning, to discuss plans for their next restoration at the palace. Today the Hon. and Mrs. Felix Rohatyn (you do recall the Hon. Felix is our former ambassador to France) are giving a noon reception — champagne will be served, naturellement — at their fine Fifth Avenue residence, to be followed by a luncheon at the splendid French Consulate, where French Consul General François Delattre will receive and where there will be a lecture by the noted scholar Christian Duvernois on the Petit Trianon, which is not to be missed, vous savez.

Later tonight, Dr. and Mrs. Henry Kissinger will graciously host still another reception at their residence on East 52nd Street and guests will dine at Le Perigord, where "a delectable feast" is promised and where the Comtesse de Mortemart and the Vicomte de Rohan will celebrate their birthdays. May I remind you that Mortemart and Rohan are fine old French names and that the vicomte is president of the societé.
Page:  Next »
load comments


Sign in using your Facebook or Twitter account, or simply type your comment below as a guest by entering your email and name. Your email address will not be shared. Please note that WWD reserves the right to remove profane, distasteful or otherwise inappropriate language.
News from WWD

Sign upSign up for WWD and FN newsletters to receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts and weekly industry wrap-ups.

getIsArchiveOnly= hasAccess=false hasArchiveAccess=false