The world of Ariane de Senneville
Even if her name doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve probably already been to one of the establishments that she runs in duet with her husband Thierry Bourdoncle for a drink or for dinner. The restaurants La Palette, Le Charlot, Le Hibou, Le Scossa, Le Saint-Régis, l’Etienne Marcel, Le Sénéquier in Saint-Tropez, or the latest one, le Durand Dupont in Neuilly sur Seine, are theirs! At 41 years old, mother of two children, the discreet Ariane de Senneville skillfully juggles a reconstructed family and an intense professional life. In duet and in love with her husband, she explores Paris and the world. On the occasion of the recent opening of the Durand Dupont, the emblematic brasserie in Neuilly sur Seine, taken over and embellished by the couple, meets this headstrong woman who loves motion and intensity and embodies beautiful values of achievement.
Are you happy?
I always say that it took me a long time to be so, but today I am. I am now in my forties, even if I still have the blues sometimes, but I am rationalizing them. When we met with my husband Thierry Bourdoncle, we were like two crushed dogs. Together we rebuilt ourselves, together we built. It is of a rare elegance. My greatest value is him, at his side I can do anything.
If you had to introduce yourself quickly, what would you say about yourself?
I am 41 years old, I am a stepfamily mother, I am life-loving, my life is in constant motion and I love it.
How are your days organized?
They are all very different. But to put it simply, there are weeks with the children and weeks without them (I am in alternate custody). The week I am in Paris with my two children, I get up at 7am to take them to school. Then I go home, get ready and start my activities: I manage all the communication of the group, which has over 1000 employees. Then I always have lunch in one of our restaurants. In the afternoon I have appointments at headquarters to manage new suppliers, speakers, trade shows… I then pick up my children from school. I can still have one or two more appointments but I make sure I’m at home at 7:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday and I don’t accept dinner outside on those days, unless it’s mandatory. Starting on Friday, the race resumes, we leave with our family either in our house in Saint-Tropez or in Geneva. And during childless weeks, I spend my life in airports! South of France, Megève and Las Vegas where I try to go every 5 to 6 weeks.
How many facilities do you and your husband manage?
About twenty. Most of them are in Paris. We also have three establishments in the provinces (Le Sénéquier in Saint-Tropez, California in Cannes, White Owl in Megève) and two in Las Vegas.
And more than 1000 employees!
Yes, the human dimension is very important in our business. My husband and I are pretty paternalistic, too. We know the names and first names of each of our employees, we are close to them. Thierry has a great availability for the teams, he can be reached at any time of the day or night.
How do you travel: large luggage or carry-on suitcase?
Most of the time without luggage or with just a cabin suitcase. We have 6 houses all located in the cities where we have our business except for one.
A house in Indonesia, which is my happy home, my cocoon, my refuge. I go there twice a year, it’s a ritual: in July with the children and in January for a romantic getaway with Thierry. This house is my reward. When I’m in Indonesia, I drop everything.
Any fitness secrets?
More like happiness secrets. This summer I met a yoga/pilates teacher who changed my life! And I take the time to take care of myself. I wash my hair every day, blow dry, dress elegantly, always have my nails done. I start my days by joking, it’s my way of facing the world and it’s also a courtesy for my teams and people in general. And I also have to admit, melatonin helps!
What values do you progress with?
High standards, effort and gratitude, that’s how I was raised. I appreciate everything I have, I take care of everything I have, I only buy things that I wear. I am not at all into over-consumption but I know how to please myself.
You are in a world of men, what does that mean?
I am always judged, I always have to be very careful about my attitude. I always have to be cheerful and friendly in front of my teams even if the night was bad, even if I am tired. And sometimes with the jet lag, it’s not easy.
Votre destination préférée ?
Sans hésitation Saint-Tropez hors saison. C’est une région magnifique et tellement différente de ce qui est vendu en juillet et en août. J’aimerais d’ailleurs être enterrée là-bas, face à la mer.
An ideal dinner?
Thierry, some champagne and a cigarette.
Your favorite destination?
Without hesitation Saint-Tropez out of season. It is a beautiful region and so different from what it appears to be in July and August. I would like to be buried there, facing the sea.
Always look up and move forward.
Pictures of the restaurants:
Durand Dupond :
The latest one. It is our “Sleeping Beauty”, a Neuilly Institution that was asleep and has only just ben awoken, but is now well awake. Chic without being pretentious or ostentatious. The terrace is simply pure pleasure, lively and very sunny and for those who prefer a more intimate atmosphere, the library and the interior patio are perfect. This is my country house a stone’s throw from Porte Maillot.
This is the Tropezian institution, the pulse of the village. For me it is a reassuring, friendly and timeless place.
Le Hibou Blanc :
This is my favorite one, I think. Because we created it from scratch. And we didn’t expect it to be such a success. It is a real living place, from morning until late at night. All ages meet here. Clémence and Clément Goutal were able to create different atmospheres. It is my ideal family chalet in this beautiful village of Megève.
Le Charlot :
This is one of the places where I have the most fun. You have to see what a fashion week at Le Charlot is! Houssen’s cuisine is delicious. And the customers do the rest.
Le Saint Régis :
This is my jewel on the Ile Saint Louis. I can damn myself for it’s French toast on Sundays, it’s just that my weighing scales won’t allow it. Brunch is crazy. In short, my Madeleine de Proust.
Le Café de Paris St Germain :
Still on rue de Buci! This is where I have my lunches. Elegant little café and its charming terrace. Eduardo, our chef is an artist. Every morning, when I receive his daily special, it makes me hungry.