Gala De Versailles Series Stuns Texans With Opulence
By Lance Avery Morgan Photography courtesy of American Friends Of Versailles
THE SCENE: Benefitting the restoration projects of the Château de Versailles, the American Friends of Versailles, the brainchild of Chicago resident Catharine Cline Hamilton who is originally from Amarillo, hosted extraordinary events benefiting the restoration of The Queen’s Guard Room at the exquisite French landmark. The Société des Amis de Versailles committed in 2017 to join efforts alongside the American Friends to complete the financing of the restoration of its marbled walls and wood floor
THE VIBE: Hundreds of guests, many of whom were Texans, arrived at the palace after attending myriad exclusive events, luncheons and cocktails throughout the week of festivities at the fabulous residences of many honorable chairmen and committee members, culminating in a special reception in the Palace of Versailles itself. Part of the festivities included Catharine Cline Hamilton receiving the Arts & Letters Commandeur award.
The week’s festivities began with a welcome reception by Catherine Pégard, president of the Palace of Versailles, in La Galerie des Cotelle in the Grand Trianon to view the exhibition dedicated to the famed artist Jean Cotelle the Younger.
Lunch followed at the recently renovated French contemporary restaurant in the Pavillon Dufour, in Chef Alain Ducasse’s Ore–Ducasse au château de Versailles. Pilar and Juan Pablo Molyneux, Vice Presidents of the American Friends of Versailles Board of Directors, hosted a cocktail dînatoire in their exquisite Parisian residence in the Marais.
Other highlights of the event week included a Champagne reception and amazing private tour of the Elysée Palace with Madame Emmanuel Macron, wife of the President of the French Republic; cocktails with Ambassador Jamie McCourt celebrating international volunteerism at another worldrenowned, grand Hôtel Particulier on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré; a festive dinner dance cruise on the Seine; a luncheon hosted by the Prince and Princess of Bourbon-Two Sicilies in their sumptuous private residence overlooking the Seine; and other illuminating events surrounding the high black-tie gala at Versailles.
The guests at the gala were enveloped by sounds coming from the royal chapel organ, a truly majestic, exceptional experience since Mozart played for King Louis XV on the same instrument. The grand dinner was served in the Salon d’Hercule, one of the grandest rooms in the Château, where guests dined on cuisine created by Le Notre with wines generously provided by the Académie du Vin de Bordeaux. Following the sumptuous dinner full of the international Jet Set, the sky was illuminated by a spectacular, grand display of feux d’artifice in the manner of the 18th century to baroque music with fountains flowing.
THE CAUSE: Benefitting the American Friends of Versailles, the honorable chairmen and many more board members helped make this year’s events a success. It was inspiring for guests to see all of the intense dedication in bringing this mission to life.