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Black Tie International:
The American Friends of Versaille

Princess Kristina Kovolenko, Cassandra Longoria and Ricardo Longoria

Princess Kristina Kovolenko, Cassandra Longoria and
Ricardo Longoria



The American Friends of Versailles gathered cultural-minded philanthropists, art lovers and patrons from France and the United States recently in the late fall in New York City for a whirlwind of fabulous benefit events surrounding their annual board of directors meeting.

The luminous array of 'fêtes' included a wonderful champagne reception at the gorgeous and elegant home of legendary financial genius, Julian Robertson, founder of the Tiger Fund. The guests reveled in his warm hospitality and viewed Mr. Robertson’s extraordinary art collection and breathtaking view of Central Park.  The guest of honor were AFV’s distinguished  French Board of Directors: Baron Roland de l’Espée, Le Vicomte de Rohan, Madame Anne-Marie de Ganay, Comtesse Serge de La Bédoyère, Monsieur et Madame Jérôme Fouan, Comte Charles-Louis de Mortemart, Madame Caroline Sarkozy (sister to the French President Sarkozy), Madame Nicole Salinger, and Monsieur and Madame Didier Wirth

Other benefit visits included a charming luncheon at the historical landmark and illustrious     21 Club, founded in 1929,  along with a sublime cocktail 'dinatoire' at the exquisite and dazzling home of the world renowned interior designers, Juan Pablo and Pilar Molyneux, both AFV board members (a seven story townhouse with a rooftop swimming pool).  The guests of honor were Mr. Julian Robertson, Mr. and Mrs. Steven Rockefeller and Madame Caroline Sarkozy.  Also included was a lunch at Cafe Boulud owned by the ultimate chef Daniel Boulud, and a farewell reception dinner at the enchanting and ultimately charming home of AFV’s International Council members, Margaret and Gregory Hedberg (extraordinary fine art aficionado)- the Hedbergs have assembled a fantastic, eclectic and phenomenal art collection.

The goals of the American Friends of Versailles are to heighten the awareness of Versailles within the United States and worldwide (an international UNESCO declared world treasure), to enhance the important French /American Friendship, and to support the restoration and preservation of Versailles for future generations.  AFV’s goals have been realized in the restoration and recreation of the Trois Fontaines Bosquet and the Pavillon Frais - two magnificent and historical gardens, which will be enjoyed by millions of visitors for years to come.

In the difficult and challenging texture of our time, the American Friends of Versailles seeks not only to preserve Versailles, by supporting projects that would not be accomplished without private funding, but seriously to promote the French American Friendship, as well as International Friendship.  We come together in the civic and cultural arenas exchanging a myriad of ideas and ideals.  Versailles is steeped in history and has extraordinary roots in the United States. In addition to its restoration projects, the American Friends of Versailles has donated to research projects and computer systems, restoration of the trees at Versailles, photo exhibitions in the USA and international cultural seminars. 

The American Friends of Versailles believes beauty feeds the soul and inspires all people.  Versailles has more visitors every year than almost any other museum in the world, 1.5 million Americans visit annually.  By supporting Versailles, AFV has chosen to maintain a history of civilized cultures who believe that beauty, artistry and friendship have an absolute value and place in the world.  Versailles is truly an opus, a masterpiece, and its gardens are unparalleled.

Other distinguished New York hosts, who have generously received The American Friends of Versailles, in the past include:  the Forbes Family, Anne Bass,  Ambassador and Mrs. Felix Rohatyns, the Henry Kissingers, Susan and John Gutfreund, Kathy and Bill Rayner, Catharine and David Hamilton, Kimberly and Steven Rockefeller, Mrs. Samuel Lefrak, Francine Lefrak, and Rick Friedberg, Betsy and Larry Blau, Elizabeth and Henry Segerstrom, Liz Fondaras, the Guest Family, Mrs. Duane Hampton, Margaret and Gregory Hedberg, the French Embassy, the French Consulate, the Metropolitan Museum courtesy of Jane Wrightsman, the Frick Museum courtesy of Mrs. Henry C. Frick, II (Pemmy), Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Gerschel, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Gruss, Mr. and Mrs. George McFadden, the Phipps Family,  Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Ross, Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Zilkha, the Central Park Conservancy, the New York Botanical Gardens.

Please mark your calendars: AFV will host ‘Voyage Spectaculaire’ a one-of-a-kind, benefit trip to the French Riviera, filled with rare privileges, from September 20 – 27, 2012! 
and stellar ‘Le Grand Bal de Versailles’ will be at the Palace on Saturday, June 15, 2013!


Joyce Brooks

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