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How the French Embassy Gets Ready For a Party

The mansion annually hosts "Vanity Fair's" soiree after the White House Correspondents Dinner.
How the French Embassy Gets Ready For a Party
Photograph by Dan Chung.

The French ambassador’s residence on Kalorama Road is the more intimate of our oldest ally’s DC venues—most public events happen at Maison Française on Reservoir Road—but the reopening of the home in February after a two-year renovation was a welcome restorative for all of Washington.

A key stop on the social circuit since the Kennedy era, the Tudor-style mansion—which includes an apartment for Ambassador Gérard Araud—annually hosts Vanity Fair’s soiree after the White House Correspondents’ Dinner as well as July’s Bastille Day bash. The first order of business after the residence’s facelift was a party to show off the brighter, fresher decor—out with dark green and rose, in with straw yellow and “Marie Antoinette” gray—plus the addition of an arresting abstract by American artist James Brown along the staircase. Here, Araud (far right) supervises last-minute steps in a familiar routine: stocking the bars and reviewing the guest list with social secretary Francesca Craig.

Photograph by Dan Chung.

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