BonjourParis France News Daily May 16-22

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BonjourParis France News Daily May 16-22
City of Paris releases architectural rendering and model for Samaritaine project BonjourParis France News DailyDali Wiederhoft PARIS, May 22—The City of Paris mayor’s office has released architectural plans and a large scale model proposed for the former Samaritaine building in Paris. Additional details are in the story below.     La Samaritaine will reopen as luxury LVMH hotel and mixed-use project in 2014 BonjourParis France News Daily Dali Wiederhoft PARIS, May 20—LVMH has announced plans to create a new Paris luxury hotel with office, apartments and retail shops on the site of former Paris department store La Samaritaine, according to Le Figaro. Property owner LVMH said the $450 million euro ($641.9 USD) project is planned as the largest privately-funded construction project ever in Paris, per Reuters. Construction starts in early 2012 and is expected to wrap in mid-2014. When complete, the 750,000-square-foot building is projected to house a large retail store with art gallery and rooftop terrace restaurant, 95 apartments, offices, a nursery and an 80-suite luxury hotel called Cheval Blanc or White Horse, in English. LVMH owner Bernard Arnault is creating a collection of high-end Cheval Blanc hotels in France, Oman, Egypt and other high-end resort destinations. The Paris hotel will be identical to palace hotel Château Cheval Blanc in ski resort Courchevel, which was opened by Arnault in 2007 as an all-suite designer hotel favored by celebrities who ski in the Mont Blanc area of France. Samaritaine is a Paris Art-Nouveau landmark that looms over the Seine at the end of Pont Neuf on some of the most valuable real estate in Paris. The building has been vacant since 2005 and is now in need of major restoration inside and out. Building owners must still gain building permits and public approval, which has been denied with past projects that included public housing and a retail store.   France poll: DSK was set up for a fall; DSK under suicide watch BonjourParis France News Daily Dali Wiederhoft PARIS, May 18—The majority of those surveyed by leading French polling agency CSA believe Dominique Strauss-Kahn was set up, according to a poll conducted on Monday and reported today by France24. Meanwhile, the NY Times reports DSK is under a suicide watch in jail and that his accuser and others were scheduled to appear before the grand jury today. Their testimony will determine if DSK will be indicted when next in court on Friday. DSK’s lawyers are proposing to a higher court that DSK be released with an electronic monitoring device. Rumors started almost immediately after word reached Europe that Strauss-Kahn (known in France by his initials DSK) had been arrested in New York on charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel chamber maid. DSK is the head of the International Monetary Fund. The survey conducted before DSK’s bail request was denied indicated that 57 percent of people interviewed thought DSK was set up and only 43 percent of survey participants thought he was not the victim of a plot and or had no opinion. On Monday Michel Wieviorka, a French sociologist and expert on France’s political left said that “everyone’s first reaction” had been one of “utter disbelief.” Members of Strauss-Kahn’s entourage of Socialist Party supporters also contributed to the conspiracy theories by describing the arrest as a plot to ensure the IMF chief would not be a viable candidate in the 2012 France presidential race. Shortly after his arrest, another woman publicly announced her intent to press charges against DSK for a 2002 assault she claims happened in 2002. DSK remains jailed in New York and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday. The IMF is reportedly looking for a replacement for DSK.   Jean-Paul Belmondo receives Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival BonjourParis France News Daily Dali Wiederhoft PARIS, May 18—Jean-Paul Belmondo was honored with a Palme d’Or award at the 64th Cannes International Film Festival in honor of his 50-year acting and directing career. The 78-year-old remains popular with French and international audiences for starring in 1960s hits such as Breathless and Is Paris Burning? about the World War II Nazi occupation of Paris. Last year Hollywood gave Belmondo an Honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievements in film shortly after his 2010 French movie, Film Socialisme, premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.  Source: EuroNews —click here for video of Belmondo and more Cannes news.   Judge denies Strauss-Kahn’s bail request, DSK remains in jail as supporters rally and a new assault charge loomsBonjourParis France News Daily Dali Wiederhoft PARIS, May 16—Today a judge in New York denied IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn bail and ordered he be held as a flight risk until his next court date scheduled for Friday, according to Le Parisien. Strauss-Kahn left the courthouse in handcuffs. Strauss-Kahn, 62-year-old head of the International Monetary Fund, was expected to soon announce his candidacy for the 2012 France presidential elections. Strauss-Kahn’s defense team offered the court $1 million in cash bail with his travel documents, but Judge Melissa Jackson refused. DSK was arrested last Saturday…
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