Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cannes, Chopard, and Cartier

In January 2011, I was in Paris courtesy of ACIS, without the kiddies, and I found myself wandering around Place Vendôme.  This is high dollar jewelry store territory.  Looking back at my photos, I actually found pictures that were not of food or the Eiffel Tower.  As you can see, the sky was a beautiful blue and I found the Christmas decorations very interesting.

For those of you who remember Princess Diana, here's the Ritz where she ate her last meal before heading into that fatal tunnel.  (Kids know who she is again due to the handsome son and beautiful daughter-in-law.)

I thought of these photos because yesterday I saw a CNN headline about the recent jewel heist in Cannes during the film festival.  I lived in Cannes in 1978-79.  Well, I actually lived in Le Cannet, but I went to an international school in Cannes and the dad of the family I lived with worked at the Hôtel Martinez on the Croisette.  You will just have to believe me on this one.  That was in the pre-digital dark days of life and I have a box of photos somewhere, but I have no idea where.  I wasn't there during the annual May film festival and since my departure they've built a new Palais de Congrès where they hold the red carpet event.  My best friend and I had some adventures.  She dated a guy who worked for Cartier in Cannes.  And I tagged along.  
But I digress.  I do not long for fancy jewelry.  I don't spend much time looking in the windows of jewelry stores either. (Although should I ever come into money- didn't win last night's 600 million Powerball or even a share of it-- the Cartier trinity ring is on my list.  So okay, I have given it a little bit of thought...)
Anyway, back to my story.  I was intrigued by the fact that a whole safe of Chopard jewels was stolen from a hotel in Cannes.  And not just the jewels, the whole safe.  Contents worth 1 million euros (1.4 million dollars).  Chopard furnishes the trophy, the Palme d'Or, for the festival's winner.  The trophy wasn't taken.  Well, count me relieved.  Coincidentally, the history of the trophy goes back to 1955 and Alfred Hitchcock's famous movie To Catch A Thief, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

(photo from

I did snap a photo of Chopard in Paris in 2011.  No jewels in the window, just a lovely pink sac à main  et lunettes de soleil.

The point of my story is that I am actually relieved to find some old-fashioned crime in the news for once.  I don't watch the news very often because of the murder and mayhem that reporters thrive on.  Shoving a microphone into the face of a mama who has just lost her baby is cruel, in my humble opinion.  And this jewel heist has all the right drama.  Security guard (American female employee) goes out to get some dinner and returns to discover that the safe she is supposed to be guarding has been ripped from the wall.  (No room service at the Novotel?  Vraiment?)  The Chopard shop is across the street from the Palais and even has its own red carpet.  Nice touch, n'est-ce pas?  Wouldn't want anyone to muss up their espadrilles when heading in to pick out baubles, would we?

No one was hurt.  Sounds suspicious though, doesn't it?  Ready for another coincidence, readers?  The theft occurred soon after the film festival premiere of an American movie about a group of teenage jewels thieves in Hollywood, The Bling Ring directed by Sofia Coppola.  A little movie hype?  You be the judge.

And my real-life jewel theft story?  Back to 1979 in Le Cannet.  The couple I lived with were on vacation in the Camargue (the first I'd ever heard of this place that I now love) and I was in charge of keeping the apartment safe.  A thief had visited the year before when they were on vacation.  College BFF was spending the night with me and away from boyfriend-son of the apartment owners.  Middle of the night pounding on the door.  Owner of the Cartier jewelry shop barges in and searches the apartment.  She has already been to boyfriend's apartment.  Turns out the champagne we had been sipping was financed by a Middle Eastern man who had paid a deposit for a Cartier watch.  Boyfriend had been "borrowing" the money.  Boyfriend's parents were brought back from the Camargue.  Two American girls found themselves packing up, sitting on the curb, waiting for a taxi and moving into a little hotel not located on the Croisette amidst the family scandal.  The jewelry store owner wasn't looking to press charges or for the story to make the headlines if the francs (pre-euro days, dark ages, remember) were returned.  Wealthy granddad was being called in to help clean up the mess, I recall.  College BFF returned the lovely little sapphire Cartier ring that boyfriend had given her.  (I still think that I would've kept it... he swears he paid for that with his own money.  I prefer to remember him as a thief but not a liar...)  Turns out he had an Austrian fiancée that we didn't know about.  (Okay, so maybe he was a liar.)

For scenes of Cannes and the Cartier shop on the Croisette, watch Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline, and Jean Reno in French Kiss, one of my favorite movies. 

How I wish College BFF was still around.  She died in the early '90's.  I still miss her.  We would have had a great laugh over the jewel heist and would've retold the story of our great adventure back in the day.

As maid of honor at my wedding in 1982, Spruce Pine, North Carolina... a picture of a picture.

Bon appétit, lovers of adventure and movies.
Info gleaned from The Bangkok Post.

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