The D&O Diary was on assignment in London last week for meetings, a conference, and a reception. The itinerary allowed for some time abroad in the city, and included a weekend stopover in Paris. The main event for the London visit was the annual C5 D&O Liability conference, in which I participated as a panelist. In the picture below, I am standing with my good friends and fellow panelists, Nilam Sharma, of Nilam Sharma Limited; Stephen Reilly of Beale & Company; and Chris Warrior of Hiscox.
My London meetings also included an evening reception, co-sponsored with Beazley and the Meyer Brown law firm, and held at the Mayer Brown law firm’s London offices. Prior to the reception, I participated in a short panel discussion with David Chadwick of the Mayer Brown law firm; Tracy Holm of Beazley; and Adrian Jenner of Beazley. The picture of the panel below was taken at the reception.
My London visit was short but included time for stops at some of the quintessential London sights, including the Houses of Parliament (as depicted in the picture at the top of the post), as well as St. James’s Park, as depicted below.
While I was in London, I also had the chance to do something I have always wanted to do but just have never have had the chance to do, which is to go up to the top of the dome of St. Paul’s. The ascent to the top of the church included a rather demanding climb up a very narrow staircase, but the view from the top was spectacular and well worth the effort. The first picture below reflects the view to the east of the church. In the foreground, the agglomeration of taller buildings shows how the explosion of construction has changed the skyline in The City; in the background, the skyline of Canary Wharf can be seen. The second picture reflects the view looking westward from the church top, along the Thames River.
The short Paris visit included quick stops at a number of cultural sites, including the Louvre Museum. The day we visited, the museum was crowded with other visitors. The first picture below shows the grand stairwell leading up to the Winged Victory of Samothrace. The second depicts the Italian Renaissance gallery in which crowds of people throng about the Mona Lisa, while disregarding the numerous Leonardos and Raphaels in the adjacent gallery.
The clement weather that prevailed during our visit afforded optimal conditions for visiting the stained glass sanctuary of the Sainte-Chappelle, as well as to the Jardin du Luxembourg, as shown in the first and second pictures below.
I am pleased to report that we found conditions during our visit to be calm. The sense of unease that I felt in the city when I visited in November shortly after the terrorist attacks seems to have dissipated. There were still a few times when the police or military presence was in evidence, but otherwise life seems to have returned to normal.
The pleasant weather conditions persisted on the final day of our visit, which we took advantage of for an extended walking tour of the Île de la Cité and of the Île Saint-Louis. The first picture was taken from a bridge crossing the Seine, looking westward toward the eastern end of Notre-Dame. The second shows the flowers blooming in the sunshine in the square Jean XXIII at the rear of the Cathedral.
As always when I visit Paris, I was very sorry to leave.
I would like to thank C5 for once again inviting me to participate in their annual conference, and I would also like to thank Beazley and Mayer Brown for co-sponsoring the evening reception. The reception has become something of an annual event; I think it gets better every year, and I know that I enjoy it more every year.