Screw the Louvre…I’m Dining with Lionel Richie

After an unbelievable three-hour lunch at Le Cinq in the Four Seasons George V, Lola and I retreated to our room to freshen up. The day had escaped us and the Champs-Élysées was eagerly awaiting our credit cards.

Le Cinq_George V

Emerging from the revolving doors of the George V, the first thing I noticed was the darkness, and the second was the line of fifty or so people gathered along the sidewalk. Famous in my own mind, I off-handedly asked the doorman, “Are these people here for us?”  With the straightest of faces, he said, “Of course, madam.” A quick curtsey and a wave got the crowd’s attention, but we obviously weren’t who they were waiting for. My curiosity got the better of me, and I crossed over the invisible barrier.

“Who is everyone is waiting for?”

George V_LR

“Lionel Richie,” said a frenzied French fan.

And with that, Lola and I were off. We had a jam-packed evening planned that involved a bit of shopping and a trip to the Louvre. Open late on Friday night, this would be my last opportunity to see the world-famous museum; somehow it eluded me in the previous week. I was looking forward to fewer crowds and seeing the pyramid lit up against the nearly full-moon sky. After all, who comes to Paris and doesn’t visit the Louvre?

Champs-Élysées

One hour of shopping on the Champs-Élysées nearly drove me to sell a kidney. Lola and I unloaded our purchases in our room and headed back downstairs to Le Bar for a pre-Louvre drink. It was packed as one would expect at the best hotel in Paris on a Friday night. Armed with our iPhones, Lola and I managed to get a table. After ordering drinks, we were both engrossed with emails and social media. With our thumbs furiously firing away, we only stopped for a sip of our cocktails. Oblivious to my surroundings, I was startled when a gentleman approached the table and asked,

“May I help you with that email?”

“Excuuuse meeee?” I replied.

He repeated the question.

Le Bar_George V_2

“Suuuuure! Myyyyy thumbs could uuuuse a break.” 

I chuckled and raised the phone in his direction. Upon hearing my thick, Southern drawl, the gentleman asked where I was from.

“Texas!” I proudly proclaimed.

Le Bar_George V_1

“Of course you are.”

The stranger, who finally introduced himself as Michael from Los Angeles, continued the conversation by asking what we were doing in Paris. This, of course, turned into a litany of other questions. I’d lost count how many times I’d been asked that same thing over the last month. “Well, I won this writing competition…” Somehow the explanation never got old. In the midst of reciting my spiel, another gentleman emerged beside our table.

“Good evening and how are you ladies doing tonight?”

It was Lionel Richie. Had I not known he was in the hotel, I believe I would have been shocked. Without missing a beat, I said,

“We’re fiiiine. How are youuuuuu?”

Le Bar_George V_3

Lionel then gave me one of his signature smiles and broke into his best Tuskegee, Alabama accent. After a few minutes of casual chatting, I offered the two gentlemen a seat at the empty table next to us. That’s when I noticed we were not alone. I was so engrossed in our conversation, that I didn’t notice the three other gentlemen standing on the other side of our table. They were like a wall shielding Lionel from the onslaught of stares from the lobby. Lola and I were introduced to a famous LA photographer, a French ambassador, and a German count.

“Weeeell, y’aaaall can join us if youuuuu’d liiiike, tooooo.”

Le_Bar_George V_4

I didn’t think it was possible, but speaking Southern with Lionel Richie made my vowels even longer. He politely declined and explained that they had dinner reservations. Although without a moment of hesitation, Lionel invited Lola and me to join the “tribe” for dinner. I couldn’t believe my ears, but then again, I also wasn’t surprised. After the unbelievable month I’d had, this was simply par for the course. With about a millisecond of consideration, I locked eyes with Lola and said,

“Screw the Louvre…I’m Dining with Lionel Richie.”

You’ll have to stay tuned for part two…

Sign up to receive news and updates!

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

58 Comments
  • Lisa
    December 10, 2012

    Good choice – the Louvre isn’t going anywhere, you can visit it the next time you’re in Paris!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Right on, Lisa. I think I totally made the right call. 🙂

  • Kirsten Alana
    December 10, 2012

    Leave us hanging!!!!!! Can’t wait for part two…..

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Yes, ma’am. Check back next week where you’ll learn, as the late, great Paul Harvey said, “the rest of the story.” 😉

  • lola dimarco
    December 10, 2012

    hahahaha LOVE IT! and i was all…we have to get our coats. see?? i do have common sense people!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      This made me laugh so hard because it’s so true! All you cared about was getting our freakin’ coats! Hahahahaha…

  • The World Wanderer
    December 10, 2012

    I LOVE it!!! Great story, and who needs the Louvre when you can have Lionel! I mean, it’s not like he’ll ALWAYS be in Paris!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Yeah, I’ll take Lionel any day over the rock and canvas in the Louvre. Perhaps the Louvre WITH Lionel would be a good compromise. 😉

  • Tawny of Captain and Clark
    December 10, 2012

    NO NO NO NO NO. You did NOT dine with THE Lionel Richie. That would have been the icing on an already scrumptious cake. I want to here the rest of this story asap.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Miss Tawny, how did you miss this grand announcment? You must have still been in India. Yes, I did have dinner with Lionel, but you’ll have to wait just like everyone else.

  • Adam
    December 10, 2012

    So cool! Can’t wait to see what happened next!!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Cool doesn’t begin to describe it, Adam. You just wait! Hahaha!

  • Loz in Transit
    December 10, 2012

    I don’t want to tell you how to write your blog or nothin ;p
    … It would be funny if you ended it just like you did but instead of a ‘Part II’ you tagged it with “I wish I could let you in on what else happened that night but a lady never tells.”
    Enjoyed the cliffhanger nonetheless.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Come now, I couldn’t possibly do something like that…although it did cross my mind. The rest of the story is too good not to share.

  • Jeff @ GoTravelzing
    December 10, 2012

    Are you sure that you were not in a movie because that is what it sounds like. What a great way to end the trip.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      I tend to think that that whole month is movie material. I’m thinking Woody Allen could direct it. Yeah…it has Woody Allen written all over it.

  • Anita Mac
    December 10, 2012

    Great story…was wondering when it was going to come out!!!! What a crazy night. And, you are right…screw the Louvre…dining with Lionel Ritchie was surely way cooler!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Yep, the Louvre will always be there. I tend to think it won’t have the dynamic personality of Lionel, however. I’m surely going to leave disappointed once I finally get to visit.

  • Jeremy Branham
    December 10, 2012

    That is seriously awesome! I actually have a big 80s playlist and have lots of Lionel Richie songs on there. He’s one of my most played artists. Even as a guy, I would have been dancing on the ceiling if this happened to me. But what kind of line is “Good Evening”? Couldn’t he have just said “Hello”? He must have been stuck on you or something to wander over and want to have dinner. I can’t wait to read the second part of this as I am sure you partied all night long. If only another female would have joined you, it would have been three times a lady.

    Seriously, awesome experience. That’s a story you will remember the rest of your life.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      You’re too damn much, Jeremy. This made me laugh, especially the “three times a lady” reference. 😉

      • Jeremy Branham
        December 11, 2012

        Unfortunately for me, I used up all my Lionel Richie song references in this comment. Not sure what I am going to do for part 2.

        • Leah Travels
          December 13, 2012

          Better break out some more of Lionel’s oldies. Part two will be a doozie.

    • D.J. - The World of Deej
      December 12, 2012

      Best blog comment ever….

      • Leah Travels
        December 13, 2012

        Yeah…I just wonder how long he worked on that. Haha

  • Kieu
    December 11, 2012

    Seriously?!!! Ahh man, I knew I should have followed you girls around Europe. Lol. Screw the Louvre!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      And the stalking continues…Yes, seriously! Y’all should have stuck around a bit longer instead of ditching us in Prague. See what all you missed?

  • Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    December 11, 2012

    Umm…. wow! Can’t wait to read part 2 and find out if he got in your pants!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Kudos to you, Bethaney, for saying what everybody else is thinking. Hahaha!

  • Erin D
    December 11, 2012

    OMG! How exciting!!!!! I’d screw the Louvre too for a chance to dine with Lionel Richie! Can’t wait for part two!!!

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      Next week, Erin! Part two is way better than part one. 🙂

  • Lyndsay/ Discount Travel Blogger
    December 11, 2012

    Haha! Isn’t the trip becomes freakin’ awesome when unexpected things like that happens?! It’s always fun, that’s no joke.

    • Leah Travels
      December 11, 2012

      My month was filled with the unexpected. It was like I was on an episode of “My Super-Sweet 16” but way better.

  • @mrsoaroundworld
    December 11, 2012

    What a fun coincidence!! Can’t wait for the rest of the story hahahah. Fab!

    PS. The Louvre will always be there waiting!

    • Leah Travels
      December 13, 2012

      Exactly…that Louvre will get visited one day. No big deal.

  • Pola (@jettingaround)
    December 12, 2012

    Hahaha, speaking southern with Lionel, love it!!! What a chance encounter, huh? Out of all people you could have met in Paris. 🙂

    (P.S. Who doesn’t visit the Louvre when in Paris? Me. It took two trips for me to go there. So no worries, you can still make it. 😉 )

    • Leah Travels
      December 13, 2012

      I didn’t even mention the filming crew that were on our block in Paris. I practically had to drag Lola out of the make-up trailer. But seriously, yes, it was a wonderful chance encounter. Often those are the most memorable.

  • D.J. - The World of Deej
    December 12, 2012

    I’ve sat with famous people at the bar, etc. (not to mention my hotel business encounters) but a full on dinner? Only to you two, and only in Paris…

    • Leah Travels
      December 13, 2012

      Just add it to the list of crazy things that happened in that 30 days. I wish I could package that magic.

  • Katie
    December 13, 2012

    Holy jingle bells this is awesome! I also missed the Louvre while in Paris, but for less exciting reasons…can’t wait to read the follow up!

    • Leah Travels
      December 13, 2012

      Haha…holy jingle bells…love that! Check back next week for the sequel. 😉

  • Fiona
    December 13, 2012

    Ha! Was wondering how this came about when I saw the photos on Facebook. Good call on dinner with Lionel – you just can’t plan for these moments. Love it!

    • Leah Travels
      December 14, 2012

      I have a few more photos to share in the next installment, but none are as exciting as the one I already put on Facebook. The story, however, is outstanding. 😉

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)
    December 13, 2012

    Very cool! Paris is the city for seeing stars – of one kind or another!

    • Leah Travels
      December 14, 2012

      Thanks, Raul. It never even crossed my mind that I’d run into someone famous, you know, other than Lola. 😉

  • Traveling Ted
    December 14, 2012

    I went to Paris and did not see the Louvre, but it was not to have dinner with Lionel Ritchie. I can’t remember why we did not go to the Louvre, which means alcohol probably played a part. Can’t wait for part II.

    • Leah Travels
      December 14, 2012

      Ted, with you alcohol always seems to be involved. I suppose that’s why we’re friends. 😉

  • Craig Zabransky
    December 15, 2012

    did you ask him how (and where) Nicole was? And if she wasn’t there, if she doesn’t go to Paris anymore because it reminds her of her ex-best friend ms Hilton? #justcurious

    stay adventurous, Craig

    • Leah Travels
      December 20, 2012

      Ok, so the Paris quip made me laugh. We did talk about his children a bit, but Nicole wasn’t one of them. You’ll just have to read part two. 🙂

  • John
    December 15, 2012

    I’m on the edge of my seat for part two!

    • Leah Travels
      December 20, 2012

      Wait no more, John, it’s up.

  • forest
    December 19, 2012

    Love it! Waiting for part 2!!

    • Leah Travels
      December 20, 2012

      It’s arrived, Forest. Check it out!

  • Lisa Harkins
    December 31, 2012

    Love the intriguing introduction to such a fascinating story. The “rest of the story” is delightful. What a magical night with a true gentleman. Write on, Leah! Your words are captivating…

    • Leah Travels
      January 3, 2013

      Oh, thank you, Lisa. It was a special night, one I won’t soon forget.

  • Ayngelina
    January 3, 2013

    Please say you got a photo!

    • Leah Travels
      January 3, 2013

      Sure did…check out part two. 😉

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers

Have the world delivered to your inbox
Well, maybe not the whole world, but some of it. Either way, subscribe to my newsletter for news from Paris and wherever else the road takes me.