Rendez-Vous with Yasmin and Kumar this month takes viewers on a historical journey back to the 19th century, to the days of the second French Empire of Napoleon the 111, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Joining Yasmin and Kumar at the Empress Suite of the Galle Face Hotel is the Ambassador for France in Sri Lanka HE Eric Lavertu who speaks about this era in French history.
“The Second Empire was a period of great development, followed by the industrialisation of France. It was a period of massive change and modernisation”, he says.
Senior architect Ranjith Alahakoon then joins the show and talks about the re-building of Paris during this period, explaining the move from ‘squares’ in the city to the Hausmann-ian avenues that Paris is now famed for.
The show then moves to 1908 when Her Imperial Highness Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon 111 journeyed across the oceans to Ceylon. Eugenie, ‘Empress of the French’ as she was known’ was a woman of power and independence of the 19th century.
Empress Eugenie arrived in Colombo in January 1908, on the P&O liner Mooltan from Marseille in France, as a guest of Sir Thomas Lipton. She was more than eighty years of age at that time
The Royal party was accommodated in special apartments at the Galle Face Hotel where the Empress and her party occupied eleven rooms on the first floor while her servants occupied four more rooms.
The Empress had the principal room above the entrance porch and over the verandah, in front of which an awning had been put.
And in her own words it happened to be “One of the most delightful holidays” that she had ever spent.
Rendez-Vous with Yasmin and Kumar comes to you on Monday 28th February at 19h (Sri Lanka time) on the YouTube channel of the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.