Place Vendome was being shut down this afternoon in advance of the first state visit to Paris by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is accompanied by former Russian president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
And while the Russian economy might be a bit wobbly, the two leaders aren't scrimping when it comes to their lodgings. Medvedev is said to have booked 50 rooms at the Ritz, while Putin has taken a similar number at the even more expensive Bristol to set up a 21st century version of a Russian court. The two men are accompanied by numerous hangers-on, who are expected to be wheeling and dealing during the visit.
Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will on Tuesday open a major exhibit of Russian art at the Louvre. And the luxury jewelry and designer shops around the Place Vendome certainly are hoping the group will find time to get in a little shopping before they depart Wednesday - just in time for the fashion pack to arrive for the Paris shows.