Standing under the portrait of an 18th-century French aristocrat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with the man rumored to be her replacement next year: Senator John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat.
The champagne reception at the Tudor-style home of French Ambassador Francois Delattre last night honored “Paris: A Love Story,” a memoir by journalist Kati Marton, widow of U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke.
It took a few moments for Clinton to remember her first trip to Paris. “I think it was 1973,” she said, drumming her fingers against her cheek.
She sported her much-criticized blond ponytail, while her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, wore long strands of pearls and an Hermes handbag.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan needed some help from his wife, NBC news anchor Andrea Mitchell, to recall their last trip to Paris. They took in the French Open many years ago, but said another visit is overdue.
Other guests included Samantha Power, special assistant to President Barack Obama for multilateral affairs and human rights. She spoke with Hubert Vedrine, one of French President Francois Hollande’s right-hand men.
Francophone Kerry joked that he and Delattre had better speak in English, because “we’d both get into trouble” otherwise.
Memoir in hand, Hungarian Ambassador Gyorgy Szapary said he enjoyed speaking Hungarian with Marton, who is Hungarian-American.
A teary Marton thanked everyone for coming, especially Clinton, who offered warm words of congratulations and support for her old friend.
“It’s not chick lit, it’s human lit,” Marton said about her book, which charts the beginning and the end of her relationships in Paris. First with her former husband, the late ABC news anchor Peter Jennings, with whom she had children, and later with Holbrooke.
It was “not an easy book to write, and not an easy book to read,” she said.
(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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