The D&O Diary is on assignment this week in Europe, with the first stop in the French capital city of Paris. I have been to Paris many times before, and in all kinds of weather. I have been in Paris in the snow, in the rain, and in the sunshine. However, I have never seen Paris as we experienced it over the past few days. We enjoyed a string of sunny, warm, clear, pleasant, summery days — the best word I can think of to describe the weather we enjoyed in Paris is “magical.”
The primary purpose of my Paris visit was to participate as a speaker at the Liberty Mutual’s Financial Lines Excellence (FLEX) Institute, held in the company’s offices just off of the Champs-Élysées. The attendees at the event were Liberty Mutual underwriters from the company’s offices around the world — Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia, as well as the U.S., Bermuda, and Canada. I enjoyed the opportunity to speak to the audience, to answer their many questions, and to discuss the D&O insurance market conditions around the world. It was also a pleasure for me to meet so many enthusiastic readers of The D&O Diary. I would like to thank James Areago, Michael Berardino, Sam Adamson and their colleagues for inviting me to be a part of this event.
My wife and I arrived in Paris a few days in advance of the conference, so we had a good opportunity to enjoy being in the city — and to enjoy the beautiful weather. We have seen many of the city’s most famous attractions on prior visits, so we tried to spend our time exploring new places. Just the same, there are certain Parisian places which, though familiar, we had to visit again, if only just to check in.
The first place we had to visit upon our arrival was Notre-Dame (pictured above), which is still recovering from the April 2019 fire. The church structure is surrounded by an impressive array of scaffolding and construction equipment. The workers appear to have made a great deal of progress; unfortunately, it also appears that the restoration will not be completed, as had been hoped, for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
We also had to visit one of our favorite places in Paris, the Jardin du Luxembourg (pictured above). Our hotel was just steps away from the entrance to the gardens, and we wound up spending quite a bit of time in the gardens during our Paris visit. We even picnicked in the gardens, as reflected in the pictures below.
Another familiar place we visited is the hilltop neighborhood of Montmartre, north of the central city. In the beautifully clear conditions that prevailed while we were in Paris, the views from the steps of the Sacré-Cœur basilica, located at the top of the Butte- Montmartre, were spectacular (as reflected in the first picture, below). The crowds of tourists right around the church were pretty daunting; but further away from the church steps, we were able to see some of the neighborhood’s more interesting sights.
On Sunday, we ranged a little further abroad; we visited the historically working-class neighborhood of Belleville, an area that has become increasingly trendy. Our main objective there was to see some of the famous street art in the area, and also to see the famous view of Paris from the Parc de Belleville.
After making it to the top of the hill in the Parc de Belleville, we walked down the hill’s far-side to the east, to look for a place to have lunch. We chanced to find a very pleasant restaurant call Le Vieux Belleville, which serves tasty food and has outdoor seating. Unknown to us, the place also features live traditional French bistro music, including audience sing-alongs and even dancing. The musicians, the happy singing people, and the dancers were all clearly locals who had chosen to spend their sunny Sunday afternoon singing along with friends. It was great fun.
After our lunch in Belleville, we went a short distance to visit Paris’s famous Cimetière du Père-Lachaise (Père Lachaise Cemetery). Visiting a cemetery may seem like a strange thing to do, but this cemetery is both quite pleasant and quite interesting. We had the opportunity to visit the gravesites of many of the famous people buried there.
More Pictures of Paris