7 questions to… Paul Bensabat, Chairman and CEO of BEST OF FRANCE
Today we meet with Paul Bensabat, Chairman and CEO of the non-profit BEST OF FRANCE. Twenty five hundred people human chain on Omaha Beach to say that The French Will Never Forget, Organization in Paris of the largest commemoration in the world (outside New York) of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with the construction of the twin towers replicas , 70th anniversary of D-Day with one million red rose petals dropped on the Statue of Liberty, Taste of France with 100 000 people in Bryant Park and now BEST OF FRANCE: for years Paul has been the champion of Franco-American friendship. Discussing with him is the opportunity to learn more about the deep connection between France and the US and what to expect from the 3rd edition of BEST OF FRANCE.
BEST OF FRANCE is a non for profit community initiative whose objective is to help Americans experience France in many ways while being still in the US, and to reinforce the very long standing Franco-American friendship. Discovering facets of France not necessarily that well-known, and encouraging Americans to visit the many treasures France has to offer, are some of the exciting dreams BEST OF FRANCE makes possible with this event, which is the largest in the world dedicated exclusively to France.
Hi Paul, if you should describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
Passionate and devoted to the Franco-American friendship.
What is special about the relationship between the United States and France?
It is one of the oldest and strongest relationships among developed countries. One which is founded on the same values of freedom and democracy; one which has survived the passage of time and one which has helped America get its independence and France to regain its freedom.
What makes France so unique in the eyes of the World?
France has many assets and many facets, from its rich history to its famous art de vivre and savoir-faire, its amazing culture and love for art, all the way to its magnificent countryside, artisans, fashion, beauty, gastronomy and its amazing technologies.
Why did you change the name from Taste of France to BEST OF FRANCE?
Because BEST OF FRANCE is about ALL of France, not just its gastronomy. Many people were construing the word TASTE to its culinary meaning. By renaming it BEST OF FRANCE, there is no confusion anymore that the event is about the Best France has to offer, not only from a gastronomical standpoint, but also from a Fashion, Beauty, Technology, Art, Culture, French Tech, Savoir-faire etc…
What are the biggest challenges in putting up an event of this scale?
There are a lot of them, from being able to mobilize all the energies of the community to create a well-balanced event with activities for every taste, to making sure that everyone is satisfied (consumers, exhibitors, sponsors), to insuring that people can have a great time in a safe environment….the list is long…
Nevertheless, with the unprecedented level of engagement around the event including France’s representatives in New York and in the US, French officials including Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development and Axelle Lemaire, Secretary of state in charge of the Digital economy, most prominent French institutions in the US, the French community, and the city of New York, I am confident we will meet all these challenges.
What will be the highlights of the 3rd edition of BEST OF FRANCE?
In addition to the spectacular Tourism section presented by Atout France highlighting France’s stunning regions, cities and talents, there will be many: A great stage on Times Square with wonderful performances of very diverse artists (including a Moulin Rouge dancers performance), a giant runway with glamourous fashion shows (with also several kids fashion shows), a display of French technology with some models of the Ariane Space rockets, a French Tech Village with startups having great innovations, two amazing Grand Wine tastings featuring over 100 artisanal premium chateaux, a kid’s area with many fun activities for them, delicious gourmet tastings prepared by the Maitres Cuisiniers de France (master chefs), cooking demos and so much more…
Japan, China, Brazil… Where will you be bringing future editions of BEST OF FRANCE?
We have had several requests to duplicate BEST OF FRANCE in foreign countries but it is a very complex undertaking and at this stage, our goal is to make sure first that the New York show keeps being a huge success. Then we will look at other US cities before even considering anything else abroad if we ever do.