Cremerie de Paris a long history .... Internet cafe Era
Soraya Esfandiari Bakthiari was Iranian through her father
and German through her mother.
1932: June 22, Soraya was born in Isfahan, Iran.
Her childhoon was between Isfahan and Berlin.
1947 Soraya was later sent to a Swiss boarding school in Montreux.
Soraya, the Queen of Iran
During the 1950s and the 1960s Soraya was on all the magazine covers
Her legendary beauty had conquered Mohamed Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran.
The Shad had discoverd her on a snapshot photo
and felt in love instantly.
She was only 18 years old studying English in London.
Shortly later they met and he gave her a legendary 22,37 carat engagement ring
... 1952: February 12, Soraya became the Queen of Iran.
Their marriage took place at the Marble Palace in Tehran
over 3.000 people were invited,
among them Aga Khan III, his beautiful wife Begum Om Haibeh / Yvonne Labrousse
and the legandary Brazilian Aimée de Heeren.
State visit of Queen Soraya at Buckingham Palace.
The picture taken 1955, February 19 also shows the young Queen Elizabeth
and her young children Prince Charles and princess Anne.
The Video is about a March 1955 state visit to Germany
showing Soray in the at the time "provisional capital" Bonn and also in Hamburg.
Queen Soraya had know all the world leaders of the 1950s
and they must have been impressed by her sensational beauty.
Concerning Queen Elisabeth, Soraya later described her
during her internet lessons as very friendly but like having an invisible wall around her.
Soraya and the Shah were a very happy couple.
It was Love from the very first moment.
They had everything they wanted, exept ...
Soraya could not give birth to children
and the Shah needed an heir to transmit his throne.
Maybe today medicine might have been able to help, but not at that time.
The Shah tired all kind of solutions.
Persuading the Iranian council of wise men to accept one of his half brothers
as an heir to the throne.
He also proposed to take a second wife,
but Soraya could not accept this idea, incompatible with her European education.
1958: February 13, Soraya saw Iran for the last time.
For "state reasons" she discreately left the country taking a plane to Zurich
from where she went on to St Moritz.
The Shah called every day trying to convince her to return ... but without success.
The divorce became official 1958 March 14.
Soraya was only 26 years old.
Turning the page was difficult ...
The composer Françoise Mallet Joris
wrote a song "Je veux pleurer comme Soraya"
to describe the sadness of the Princess.
Soraya tried to find a new sens to her life by trying to become an actress.
From now on she lives between Cologne, Munich, Marbella and Rome.
1976: Soraya moves to Paris where she lives at the Hotel Plaza Athenée.
A little later the Shah buys her a flat on 46 avenue Montaigne, near the Plaza.
The Plaza barman Luigi Colombetti still has a lot of souvenirs.
Unfortunately he just retired ...
(Mr Colombetti please contact us we already left a message
at the bar of the Plaza
but we do not know if you got it)
1991: Soraya published her mémoires "Le Palais des Solitudes".
In the book she describes her solitude and her sadness.
Internet lessons at the Cremerie de Paris (ex Cybercafe de Paris)
1960s Princess Soraya lived in Munich for a while
in a small villa Opitzstrasse 6,
off Pienzenaustrasse in the district of Bogenhausen.
At night she used to walk her dog.
Sometimes she run into Maria von Boch - Brügmann (1899-1980)
a much older Lady of extreme beauty and elegance
that also had dogs an lived nearby on Pienzenauerstrasse 88.
The Ladies used to chat about their dogs and sometimes they were
also running into each other in the Lobby of Munich's Grand Hotel,
the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten.
1970s The other Lady with the dogs
was a cousin of the great grandparents of the editor of this article.
His sister and himsef were sometimes invited to the lobby
of the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten
to have an ice cream with their wonderful great aunt.
Maria loved children and she enjoyed to tell them all kind of amazing stories,
some were about a fairy tale Princess,
that had once been the Queen of Iran
and that had been to the same Hotel Lobby
sitting there all alone.
1986 The editor of this article mets Princess Soraya
for the first time at a party in Bavaria. But he did not realise
that it was Soraya, there were just too many people at the party.
1992 The editor of this article mets Princess Soraya
for the second time. It was probably at the end of the month of Mai
at a cocktail party given in Paris, avenue Monceau by André Dunstetter
a hi profile French business consutant.
It was his house warming party, there were socialites
but also a lot of young people, students, fashion models, actors.
Some people had come from Los Angeles,
Ken Campbell and Trip Wilmot were already talking about
something completely unknown in Paris, Internet.
There she was, the legendary Princess Soraya.
She was sitting in a corner looking at him with were beautiful eyes.
Unfortunately the editor was just to shy to talk to her
... even though most of the times she was alone.
It's a pain when you are a little shy ...
2000 October the editor of this artice was invited
to another reception in Paris
a birthday given by Jeanne Marie de la Rochefoucault.
For a moment the editor was standing next to Soraya.
Again he was a little shy but this time he had to talk to her.
Someway a conversation started.
At the time he was running the Cybercafe de Paris
the first internet cafe in Paris located from 1995 to 2005
in the historic Cremerie de Paris N°1.
It was the birthtime of the Internet.
Soraya had heared about it in the media
but she did not really know what Internet was.
Also she felt too old for learning how to use a computer.
But there was something that simplified the contact,
both Princess Soraya and the editor of this article spoke German.
The editor spontaneously proposed to Soraya
an internet lesson at the cybercafe ...
Soraya looked at him
as he was inviting her to a "walk on the moon" ....
But Massimo Gargia, a friend of her who wasn't familiar with internet either
thought that such a lesson was a good idea:
"You should go there Soraya, this will be fun and it will change your ideas".
3 weeks later a secretary calls the Cybercafe
to find out if the Princess could still come for a lesson
... the next day,
a red Rollce Royce arrives at 15 rue des Halles
(the car was not really matching the environment of the cafe. -:)
The first lesson took place.
Soraya was not really talented for using a computer
but she was very charming.
Not only charming, very funny as well
with a great spirit and a lot of irony.
The Cremerie de Paris (Sorayas old internetcafe) has become an Expo Center and Pop Up Store location ...
And when leaving Soraya asked
"Can I come back another time ?".
... we agreed on the next thursday afternoon
but with the Rolls Royce parked a little further down the street.
At the Cybercafe (Cremerie de Paris)
Soraya was always sitting at the same spot
next to the window with a view into the magnificant courtyard
of our Hotel de Villeroy,
a spot Louis XIV already knew when he was still a child,
350 years earlier.
playing there in 1646 with his young friend Francois de Villeroy,
son of the owner of the house, Nicolas V de Villeroy.
Coco Chanel had also been there 80 and again 40 years
before the the times of the internet lessons
in the 1920s and 1960s.
... but at the time the editor did not realise much
about all the historic things that have happend around the Cremerie.
Well he hardly realised that Princess Soraya was just another one
happening right on the spot.
Walking through recent history with a witness
In what concerned the progress of the Internet lessons
Soraya was a bit of a "hopeless" case
... impossible to get her use her new hotmail
The lessons turned more into connecting to google
either the editor of this article
or Soraya herself were typing on the computer keybord
searching for people
or placed she had known in the past.
The conversations around the Google researches
were absolutely fascinating,
unbeleivable stories of meeting inacessible people
the editor only knew from history books.
One could feel that she was still in love with the Shah.
Mohamed Reza Pahlevi who had already died 20 years
earlier in 1980,
abandonned by all those
that had done everything they could to connect with him
as long as he was still in power over Iran and the world's major oil fileds.
It was touching to see how he was still there in every lesson
regardless the divorce and the Iranian revolution.
Unfortunately when going to "Google Image Search"
one could not find many pictures
neither about herself, nor about the Shah.
Soraya, during the 1950s and the 1960s
the world's most photographed woman
was disappointed to realize that internet had forgotten about her
in an always changing world.
But the editor of the article tried to explain her:
"You know Internet is very new,
it is just coming alive
all you find there are very recent events
Google will take some time,
but soon you will find out more about the past".
If you search for "Princess Soraya Esfandiari" today
Google will present you lots of information
both with "websearch" and with "image search".
Soraya was wearing a big diamond ring,
At the end of one of her last lessons
2001: October 11, Soraya died much too early.
She was only 69 years old.
Remembering Princess Soraya
Cremerie de Paris really regrets her ...
Soraya had such a very crazy ad funny caracter,
so amusing and so increadibly charming
If she would still be alive,
the moment this article is written she would be 81 years old,
we would have tried to share with her
some of the "joy of life"
the former Internet Cafe is surrounded by today.
Today the former Cybercafe was transformed
into a Pop Up Store and film location.
At the time we did not realise all the history that had happened on the spot,
well Princess Soraya was one of them.
All this history attracts fascinating AD Agencies that come from all around the world
to set up pop up expos for washing powder, dating websites, motorcycles,
sports clothing, haute couture or designer fashion
... even cheese products.
It changes all the time, one expo followed by the next one.
Her former internet teacher has the chance to work
with some very amusing people
that have in common with Soraya
their originality and their sense of humor.
"Oh how very much I regret I could never meet this wonderfull Princess
yes Soraya would be so much fun,
we would sing Guten Morgen Sonnenschein
(right now Mathilde's favorite kitch song by Nana Mouskouri)
and we would laugh all the time ....
No Soraya would have no more time to feel lonely
you would have to ask her
to come as much as she possibly could
who else could tell us
all these spectecular stories
and forgotten secrets of the
Grand Hotels of the World ???"
You would have asked her to write little short stories
about her visits to all the Grand Hotels she has known ...
above Hotels that came up in the conversations around Sorayas internet lessons ...
What remains from the Princess
are her generous 500 French Francs notes,
in the meantime
converted into iconic hotel culture domain names,
unforgettable, wonderful souvenirs
and her incountable fairy tale legends
that need to be reconstructed,
one by one,
so that they are in some way
documented in the
Grand Hotels of the World.com
This was one of her recommandations:
"whenever I go to a restaurant
I always give a generous tip the moment I arrive,
I want to be sure the waiter knows I will honor him
and I am sure he will take good care of me,
never when I leave
then it is too late".
The editor of this aticle has learned from her:
"whenever YOU meet someone much older
don't be too shy,
just talk to him
because sometimes older people have fascinating stories to tell
... much more than what you even imagine.
And if you don't,
one day it's too late"
(c) Copyright VB.com