We’ll Always Have Paris: Willie Brown Bonds with Le Maire


By Calbuzzer Gale Kaufman

Bernard Delanoe, the elegant mayor of Paris, warmly welcomed Willie Brown and his 120-member posse to a private reception marking the Speaker’s 75th birthday on Friday at Hotel de Ville, as the City Hall is called.

The city’s first openly gay maire, Delanoe presented Willie with a beautiful pair of cuff links and told him that Paris would always welcome him. Mr. Speaker returned the favor, giving him an old book of San Francisco photos. The mayor’s formal office is a spectacular room with Baccarat crystal chandeliers that replicates the long corridor of Versailles. Needless to say, Willie looked quite at home.

We were all in formal wear and black tie for the birthday dinner that followed, at a private chateau called Pavillon de Musique de la Comtesse du Barr, which had extraordinary views of the city from almost every window.

After dinner, the servers brought out an ice sculpture of the Eiffel Tower etched with “Willie Brown 75th Brithday” with several cakes on either side of it. Amid the round of toasts, the only time Willie looked alarmed was when his older sister – “Baby Doll” – got up, but she said only nice things, to his obvious relief.

He told me afterwards that everyone should do something like this once or twice in his life – gather best friends and family together and celebrate in a spectacular fashion. Boy, does this man know how to throw a party.

Gale Kaufman is a Democratic consultant based in Sacramento.

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