FRANCE: Dictator by Demand

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The bone-wet chill of winter lifted, and pale sunlight laid shadows of the leafless chestnut trees in fine tracery on the cobbles alongside the Champs Elysees. The swank Ritz cocktail lounge and the grave Plaza Atheéneée bar were shrill with the sound of American females emitting the ritual cries of greeting as they hailed each other from divan to divan. In the lush Victorian plush of Maxim's, stumpy men from Manhattan's Seventh Avenue sat heavily, resting weary feet. Fashion reporters, department-store buyers and manufacturers, they were gathered for the annual...

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