When one thinks of France, its food, its culture, and its historic cities and landmarks immediately come to mind. No wonder, then, it is the world’s most popular tourist destination, and Malaysia certainly has its fair share of Francophiles.
The end of 2017 saw a gala dinner for VIPs held at Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara. Organised by tourism agency Atout France and the French Embassy in Malaysia, it was a relaxed affair that celebrated a successful year for tourism in France.
Frederic Laplanche, Ambassador of France to Malaysia, noted that 2017 had shown a marked increase in tourists from Malaysia. He also reaffirmed the commitment to do even better in the future, and highlighted the array of upcoming events for France that includes the 2018 Ryder Cup and 2024 Olympics.
Gijs van Popta, regional general manager for Air France KLM, was also in attendance, and organised a raffle that would send its lucky winner on a trip to France. A pair of can-can dancers from The Lido, the celebrated cabaret show, had also come all the way from the Champs-Elysees to dazzle guests with their iconic costumes and chat French lifestyle and culture.
The night’s cuisine consisted of a rustic, Marseille-inspired menu that featured a bouillabaisse as the centrepiece. Consisting of three types of fish, it was a dish designed by French-trained Ippei Uemura, and hence bore a touch of Japanese flair. It might be odd to see a Japanese name behind such classic French fare, but it only highlights the worldwide appeal of French cuisine.
Before the guests began tucking in, however, Laplanche had this to say: “Mes amis, merci et bon appetit." Not everyone in the room may have been fluent in French, but the message was clear and well-received.