Letter from Paris: April 17, 2024 News Digest

Letter from Paris: April 17, 2024 News Digest

Have you heard that the Michelin Guide is branching out into hotels? That’s right — the little red book is now ranking the best hotels in France. The inaugural selection of the “Keys” comprises one-, two-, and three-key distinctions. To quote Michelin: “Way back in the 1920s, the MICHELIN Guide made its first hotel recommendations — and hotels have been included in guides in Europe and Asia ever since. But just four years ago, we began a comprehensive refresh of our hotel selection, with a mission to provide a complete travel experience to anyone who uses our Guide.” The hotel selections are distinct from the restaurants, so a hotel classified with a “key” doesn’t necessarily have a Michelin-starred restaurant onsite.

In total, there are 24 three-key hotels, 38 two key hotels, and 127 one-key hotels in France. (Other international destinations will follow this year.) Here’s a glimpse at the top honors in the Paris region: Saint James Paris, Maison Villeroy, Airelles Château de Versailles – Le Grand Contrôle, Cheval Blanc Paris, La Réserve Paris, Four Seasons George V, Ritz Paris, Le Bristol Paris, Le Meurice, and Plaza Athénée. For more information, check out the official page here.

Photo credit © Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Facebook

On Tuesday, the Olympic Flame lighting ceremony took place in the sanctuary of Olympia in Greece. Marking the start of the Olympic Torch Relay, it took place with 100 days to go until the Paris Summer Olympics. Laure Manaudou, the three-time Olympic medalist in swimming and Captain of the Olympic Torch Relay, received the lit Paris 2024 Olympic Torch from Stefanos Douskos, an Olympic rowing champion who won gold for Greece at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Olympic Flame lighting ceremony. French champion Laure Manadou received the flame from Greek Olympic champion Stefanos Douskos. Photo credit: Paris 2024 / Photographe / SIPA PRESS

Move over, crookie. There’s a new hybrid pastry riffing on the croissant. The crownie — like its name implies — is a brownie-stuffed croissant. Yet this enticing creation wasn’t born in Paris. It’s the brainchild of a French cheffe who used to work at La Tour d’Argent, and is now the head baker at Maison Benoit in the Bay Area (California). As reported by SF Gate, “Lucile Espeillac, who developed the pastry, said it is a ‘pain tout chocolat,’ or all-chocolate bread, meaning that the chocolate-flavored croissant dough is mixed with cocoa powder, stuffed with Valrhona chocolate and wrapped around a parbaked walnut-studded brownie bite.” Where in the world will the next hybrid croissant pop up?

Crownie from Maison Benoit’s Instagram

In case you missed it, the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon 2024 took place on April 7 and it was a thrill to behold. Ethiopia triumphed twice as Mulugeta Uma won the race in 2h05’33 (personal best) — ahead of the Kenyans Titus Kipruto (2h05’48’’) and Elisha Rotich (2h06’54’’) — and Mestawut Fikir (2h20’45”) won the women’s race in her very first marathon. She beat the Ethiopian Enat Tirusew (2h20’48”) and the Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot (2h21’46”). Check out the photos of the winners below.

France is now fining patients who fail to show up at doctors’ appointments. The penalty is €5. As reported by Le Monde, “Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced the measure in response to the main doctors’ union’s claim that 27 million appointments are wasted annually due to patient no-shows.” There’s a shortage of doctors, yet the health system faces more demands from an aging population. Other measures include boosting the number of students completing medical training. “[Attal] said the number of students entering the second year of medical degrees would rise from 10,000 a year in 2023 to 12,000 in 2025 and 16,000 in 2027. Medicine is considered one of the toughest university degrees in France with up to a third of students dropping out at the end of the first year.”

We’ve previously reported on how the organizers of the Paris Olympics have prioritized sustainability, aiming to cut the carbon footprint in half. A big focus has been on the use of existing venues instead of building new ones just for the event. In the Olympic Village, athletes’ apartments will be converted into homes in a low-carbon neighborhood after the Games. A fascinating recent article in The Guardian underlines the stakes and challenges in attempting to set “a precedent for cleaner global sporting events.” And the inherent contradictions: “Environmental analysts warn that the very act of holding a planetary sporting event like the Olympics has to be completely reconsidered if the world is to reach net zero targets in 2050. In future, the sporting events could be spread over various locations instead of the current model of millions of spectators flying to one city, they suggest.”

Lead photo credit : The facade of the Saint James Paris, a chateau-hotel in Paris. © Sarah Fauvel

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