International lunch at the Quai d’Orsay

90 years and the blossoms of friendship

The large dining room at the Quai d’Orsay resembled a huge bouquet of flowers. The petals were the 150 guests, all wearing floral dresses which was the theme of this exceptional meal. Foreigners and French hosts came together for this traditional celebration, and this year it was particularly moving. Marie-Thérèse François-Poncet, our founding president, celebrated her 90th birthday. The Deputy General Secretary,
Caroline Ferrari, summed up in a few words her exceptional career for an exceptional association: "It is founded on the word friendship. Our President has shown great foresight. Bienvenue is also the result of love between Jean François-Poncet, the minister over 45 years ago, and his wife." How do you explain Bienvenue’s longevity, we asked its founder, "- "When you create something in a political context, you know
that one day you will have to leave. Political power is fleeting. You have to therefore create resilient structures."

This has been the case. Véronique Debieuvre, our current president, presented an "association that is pursuing its mission to be even more innovative and more open to our society. We are working on the notions of parity, diversity and ecology". A visit to Sarcelles in the company of the Prefect is planned for the autumn.

On the ecological front, the hostesses were proud to display the stunning recyclable crockery that adorned the tables, instead of the usual Sèvres plates. The 15-metre-long buffet was international, with 90 nationalities represented. From one continent to another, there were Hungarian cheese snails, Canadian salmon confit with maple syrup, Guatemalan stuffed corn leaves, Sudanese taamiya, Japanese ganmodoki and, of course, topped with the Union Jack, Charles III’s royal quiche.

By Francine Boidevaix - Editorial Committee

©Bienvenue en France