Any owner of an older home can tell you that upkeep is all about patch, patch, patch, at least until the day arrives when a more extensive renovation becomes due. That due date arrived this week for the French ambassador. The embassy announced that Ambassador François Delattre and his family have moved out of the country’s official ambassadorial residence on Kalorama Road and into a temporary rental on Foxhall Road. The official residence needs a renovation, especially to the upstairs—where, going back even to the tenure of the last ambassador, Pierre Vimont, there were leaks and other signs of wear and tear.
French Embassy staff spent several months looking at potential rental properties, including in Georgetown, with requirements that included ample rooms for public entertaining and parking. The home they chose—a three-story, cream-colored brick with dark green shutters, built in 2010—is held by Djurdjura LLC, which, according to public records, belongs to Salah Brahimi. According to the records its 2013 assessment is $6,799,680. It has a total of 18 rooms, including seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms. While that may sound grand, the ambassador’s residence, in addition to being a family home, is also a hotel for visiting ministers and other French dignitaries.
When the embassy sent out an e-mail Thursday to let friends know of the change of address, there was a moment’s stir when recipients asked that most critical question: What would happen with the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner after-party that Vanity Fair and Bloomberg host at the French residence? As we reported in November, the always-celebrity-packed party is still on for April 27, at the Kalorama residence. Currently, that’s the only party the French plan to host at the old residence while it is under renovation. Now begin the aggressive lobbying campaigns, among otherwise well-behaved adults, to get on the invitation list.