Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: France's Epicurean Experiment Fails

With everything else that could possibly be going on in France, the Globe delivers this on Sunday:

"Epicurean village project sliding into failure in Paris; Lead developer’s firms have fallen into bankruptcy" by Liz Alderman New York Times  June 13, 2015

PARIS — It was supposed to become the hot new destination in Paris: an epicurean village in one of the city’s trendiest districts, run by a team of international designers and chefs offering upscale, ethical cuisine in an ultrachic setting.

But more than a year after it was announced, the ambitious concept, called “La Jeune Rue,” or Young Street, appears to be foundering amid backbiting and accusations of mismanagement among its main partners.

Along three quiet streets in the north of the Marais district, a dozen storefronts that were designated to become artisanal cheese shops, organic bakeries, and stylized restaurants are empty. Bankruptcy proceedings have been started for the project’s management companies. Suppliers say they have not been paid.

The cloud over the plan — what amounted to a bold effort to gentrify an entire neighborhood in one throw — has now added to the intrigue surrounding its founder, Cédric Naudon, a self-described magnate with a taste for luxury.

I'm not intrigued; however, were I member of the elite of Bo$ton for whom this paper is of and for this would make for very interesting reading.

Largely unknown on the Paris scene before announcing his vision last year, Naudon used his bohemian-chic image and a magnetic personality to persuade the cream of Parisian society — an array of chefs, architects, and designers, as well as politicians and bankers — to back his ambitions.

Makes me want to nauset.

The Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, visited the area with fanfare last year, embracing La Jeune Rue as an innovation in urban development and touting the creation of up to 200 jobs.

While any big project can run into hurdles, a number of former employees are now asking whether Naudon has been peddling a dream that was too good to be true.

What, everything not awesome?

“Everyone was so proud of the project,” said Michel Duval, who said he had quit his longtime job at Publicis, a large French public relations company, to join what had seemed like a dream team as La Jeune Rue’s purchasing manager. He represented a group of former employees who said they had not received salaries since last autumn and is helping others within the Jeune Rue group who also have not been paid.

Hey, it will give you more time to serve your awesome community!

Naudon did not respond to repeated requests for an interview. But early last month, after a journalist approached him on the Rue du Vertbois, an artery of the project, he denied allegations of mismanagement and claims that employees and suppliers had gone unpaid. La Jeune Rue “was not moving as fast as we thought it would,” he said, but was “still continuing.”

“I have new investors already,” he said, declining to provide details.

Naudon has taken pains to cultivate an air of wealth, appearing in a chauffeured black Maserati and habitually wearing a flowing scarf and a Rolex. French newspapers have pondered who he is and how he made his fortune. Yet he has declined to say much about his finances or background.


In an interview with The New York Times last year, he demurred when asked to clarify conflicting accounts about his education. He declined to answer questions about financial matters.

I wish I gave a phoque.

With others, he was more loquacious. Pierre Aidenbaum, mayor of the Third Arrondissement, where La Jeune Rue was located, described Naudon as a “beau parleur,” the French equivalent of a smooth talker.

Naudon had earlier invested in Le Sergent Recruteur, a restaurant that was awarded a Michelin star. On the strength of that asset, several French banks agreed to provide funding to complement Naudon’s investment, which he would not disclose. France’s state-backed public investment bank also pledged partial support.

Naudon refurbished one high-end restaurant on La Jeune Rue and opened two others. But as construction of the other boutiques got underway last spring, things apparently began to veer off course.

In interviews, chefs, architects, and other former employees who had helped oversee La Jeune Rue said they believed that Naudon’s ambitions overstretched his financing.

By the autumn, these people said, the project was stumbling: None of the new boutiques had opened. Many of the more than 130 employees engaged to run La Jeune Rue reported delays in receiving their paychecks. In October, the French state investment bank announced that it was pulling its support. The commercial banks also declined to provide further financing.

Twelve of Naudon’s companies have now filed for bankruptcy, and all 12 are in liquidation, the judicial source said.


Looks like you might have to stay at the Inn tonight.

Also seeFire destroys roof of basilica in western France

Speaking of hot fires in France:

"Former IMF chief acquitted in France in sex case" by Aurelien Breeden New York Times   June 13, 2015

PARIS — Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was acquitted Friday of aggravated pimping charges, concluding a case that made the private lives of public figures fair game for the French news media, even if the French themselves still seemed inclined to overlook dalliances by their political leaders.

The lurid details of the case, which included accounts of exclusive sex parties, nevertheless captivated France and shined an uncomfortable light on the sexual escapades of certain circles of a rich and powerful elite.

That's because Strauss-Kahn was shining an uncomfortable light on Wall Street shenanigans and the missing gold being held by the Fed. That's the only reasons scandal comes out in the propaganda pre$$.

The ruling was widely expected. But after a four-year legal battle that paraded Strauss-Kahn’s libertinage, the judgment offered perhaps less a vindication for a man once considered a presidential contender than a sense of relief for a nation mostly exhausted by the subject.

The perverted predations of the ruling class with exhaust you.

It helped public patience little that Strauss-Kahn’s case overlapped with a months-long saga of President François Hollande’s affair with a woman who was not his live-in partner.

In 2011, Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York and accused of assaulting a housekeeper at a hotel in New York. The charges were dropped, but in the aftermath allegations of past sexual misconduct including sexual harassment and attempted rape surfaced. 

Looks like he was set-up in New York.

The case concluded Friday against Strauss-Kahn, 66, centered on accusations that he used a network of friends and subordinates to organize lavish sex parties with prostitutes. 

Maybe there is nothing wrong with it, as some argue; however, it also exposes the layer of scum at the top of "civilization."

At the trial, Judge Bernard Lemaire said the court was not an arbiter of public morality and that it was adjudicating only whether laws had been broken. But for many in France, where privacy, even for public figures, is often considered sacrosanct, the case crossed a threshold, as Strauss-Kahn’s self-described “rough” sexuality was dissected in court.

Christian Delporte, a history professor at the University of Versailles who specializes in politics, said Strauss-Kahn’s arrest in New York had started a debate on whether the private life of French politicians had for too long been swept under the rug. But he said the case, full of lurid details, tested the limits of these new parameters.

Pollsters who have looked at French attitudes toward the private lives of public figures say that in general voters are not swayed by private sexual activities. Although there was interest in knowing about Strauss-Kahn’s private life, it did not translate into condemnation of his abilities to work in the public sphere, even though many felt he had crossed a line.

In the Strauss-Kahn decision, judges in the northern French city of Lille condemned efforts to bring the case to trial, noting the facts did not support the allegations of pimping. Strauss-Kahn’s “sexual practices” did not imply that he knew the women involved were prostitutes, the judges said.

During the February trial, Strauss-Kahn admitted he was present at sex parties in Lille, Paris, and Washington, according to prosecutors. But he denied he had organized them or knew that some of the women present were prostitutes.

Were any underage?


Related: Strauss-Kahn Likes to Be Spanked 

Someone else deserves a spanking:

"Paris airport detains 6-year-old girl for 3 days" Associated Press  June 13, 2015

PARIS — Police at a Paris airport held a 6-year-old French girl for three days on suspicion she had a fake passport — until a judge ordered her released into her mother’s arms, a lawyer said Friday.

I think you guys are taking the ISIS fraud a bit too far.

Authorities insist that police were just doing their jobs to protect children from trafficking, but the case has caused indignation in France amid sensitive debate over police treatment of waves of undocumented migrants coming to Europe in recent months.

Yes, nothing much regarding the French wars in my paper.

The girl was detained last Saturday at Charles de Gaulle airport after arriving from Cameroon, said lawyer Sidonie Leoue. She was traveling as an unaccompanied minor carrying all necessary documents, and her mother was waiting there to greet her, Leoue said.

She waited three days.

Police thought the girl’s passport photo didn’t resemble her, and suspected a fake, according to the lawyer and the French Interior Ministry.

The Paris-born girl was held in a special day care for three days before she appeared before a judge. After the girl identified her mother, seated in the courtroom, and photos of classmates at her school in France, Leoue said, ‘‘The judge said it was all a mistake,’’ and ordered her release.

Yup! Tyrannical and out-of-control government based on lies and deceit, just a mistake! 


She wasn't wearing a burqa, was she?