Declared a national historic building in 2003, Hotel Le Negresco is also the last remaining privately-owned luxury palace hotel in France and has reigned over Nice’s Bay of Angels through two world wars and 16 French presidents. Millionaires, movie stars, politicos and royals have checked in to caress a piece of the myth, while decades of fashions and fads have turned though the revolving doors. Beginning January 2013, Le Negresco begins a year long celebration of its 100th year on the fabled French Riviera. As a lover of all things French, I was honored (and yes, awed) to be invited to attend the Pre celebration held at the hotel this summer. And what a thrill to meet the hotel's 89-year-old matriarch, Madame Jeanne Augier (called Madame by all).
She lives on the top floor of the hotel and has amassed a private art collection, displayed in the halls and common areas of the hotel, that rivals any museum. It's hard not be be moved when gazing at a 1701 portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud of Louis XIV, the only other two of which are found in the Louvre and the Palace of Versaille. And how could I not be wonderstruck when standing beneath a galaxy of 16,000 Baccarat crystals dangling from a chandelier commissioned by Csar Nicolas II?
Vive Le Negresco!
And Happy Birthday! Here's to another 100 grand and glorious years!!