Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.




The Art Nouveau façade of the Gresham Palace in Budapest

The Art Nouveau façade of the Gresham Palace in Budapest

By André Gayot


Mais oui! Even a hardcore Parisian would admit it. Beautiful grand boulevards, large avenues, handsome mansions, green parks, impressive landmarks, museums, opera house, lively streets and art life, all of these match the French model to recreate another Paris on the Danube closer to the original one than the Las Vegas cardboard elliptic version.


What about food, then? I am not so sure about eats, for I am not a big fan of goulash. You know that robust stew of beef, onions and potatoes more fit to sustain one’s efforts fighting the rigors of winter than the appetite of a modern city dandy. But, there are quite a few places that offer a more elaborate food with or without Paprika, the Hungarian national spice.


Among the city’s monument highlights, on the right bank of the Danube called Pest, facing the Castle on the other bank called Buda, sits the Gresham Palace for the enjoyment of Art Nouveau lovers and also for the well-heeled tourists. The splendid structure is now a Four Seasons hotel and indeed, one of the most impressive. Built in the era of Art Nouveau in 1906 by a British financial mogul who then owned part of the London stock exchange as a seat for his insurance company, it has resisted the destruction of two wars and the dreary days of communism that transformed it into an apartment building. It’s not so astonishing that capitalism prevailed to return the Gresham to its past grandeur. After all, it was Sir Thomas Gresham, a pillar of capitalism in 1558, that formulated the principle that “bad money drives out good” that was later dubbed the Gresham law.


I anticipate that our great financiers and the Federal Reserve have this principle in mind as they concoct the fabrication of more money to stimulate the current weakened economy.



  You can click on each photo to enlarge.


You can click on each photo to enlarge.

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