Le French flair
In typical French fashion, bubbly, pomp and ceremony were overflowing for more than 460 guests at the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry's annual gala dinner, themed Off Beat, at the Grand Hyatt.
Moet was the tipple, and plenty was splashed out for guests, who included Stanley Ho Hung-sun, Michelle and Didier Li, Mary and James Tien Pei-chun, and Mignonne Cheng, deputy chief executive of BNP Paribas.
After an ample amount had been sipped, guests were ushered into the grand ballroom for a dinner of French gourmet delicacies, such as gelee de pot au feu and filets de pigeons, specially prepared by three-star chef Laurent Pourcel from Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier.
Guest of honour John Tsang Chun-wah, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, said: 'I'd like to congratulate the French chamber for providing an excellent occasion for cultural exchange on top of the enjoyment of culinary delights.'
Between courses, Hong Kong high-fliers such as Andrew Yuen and wife Yvette, Ming Ho, Harry Hiranand and Ronald Kwok were treated to a performance by two Australian acrobats entwined on long pieces of fabric suspended from the ceiling.
The women's acrobatics won plenty of applause - as did Cartier's jewellery show and French hip-hop troupe Kafig.
Although guests had paid between $25,000 and $55,000 for each of the 30-odd tables for 12, people bought handfuls of the lucky draw flowers.
Nine winners were invited on-stage to pluck a red apple from among the white ones on a three-tiered apple cake. The nine prizes included a gourmet experience in France, a tropical rest in Bali, a discover weekend in Hong Kong and Macau, with a helicopter trip, and a monogrammed multi-colour speedy-white handbag by Louis Vuitton. All proceeds went to the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children.
Other guests included: Michael Lee Tze-hau of Hysan Development; Diane and Bertrand Michaud, president of the French chamber and managing director of Hermes Asia-Pacific; Jean Seabrook, fundraising committee chairwoman of the children's protection society; Nigel Luk, managing director of Cartier Greater China; Francis Gouten, regional chief executive of Richemont Asia-Pacific, Tung Chee-chen and wife Harriet Tung; Johnny Cheng; Thomas Lau Luen-hung and Linda Lau; Paul Clerc-Renaud, managing director of Fargo Group; and Serge Mostura, French consul-general.