Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player


Mon Ange Gardien (A Deauville)

Monday, 19 January 2009

I love hotels, and it’s no accident that I’ve chosen a life which involves a lot of them. I’m such a sucker for room service and a miniature shrink-wrapped soap, it was always going to be poker or prostitution for me. (For anyone who’s just hit on this site by accident: I play poker).

But there’s no denying, the one I’ve just checked into in Deauville is quite a peculiar example of the genre. Here is the conversation I had with the nice bellman who showed me up to the room - I’ll try to translate it into stilted English, to convey how I must have sounded in French.

VC: This is a lovely room.

BM: Yes.

VC: It is like an old fashioned English house, with the armchairs and the flowery carpet and the fabric wallpaper.

BM: It is pretty, isn’t it?

VC: But it’s quite strange…

BM: What is strange?

VC: That there should be a large framed photograph of John Travolta on the wall.

BM: A great actor.

VC: That’s true. But you wouldn’t expect to see his beaming face pinned to a floral fabric wall in an old-fashioned art deco hotel.

BM: I have never found it strange.

VC: And it’s especially strange now, of course, because his son just died.

BM: Last week.

VC: It makes me sad to see him smiling at me like that.

BM: It is nice that he is smiling.

VC: I’m not sure. If people did not already think it was odd to have John Travolta smiling at them when they went to bed, maybe they will find it so now.

BM: Why?

VC: Because it is not a very smily time for John Travolta.

BM: They will think of his movies.

VC: Yes, or they will think of him desperately trying to resuscitate his epileptic son on the bathroom floor.

BM: But he has stayed here.

VC: That is a very good reason for the picture. Thank you for your help with the luggage.

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Victoria Coren at 10:34 pm on January 19th, 2009

PS. for anyone who’s wondering, the really tricky sentence would be “Oui, ou ils penseront à lui essayant désespérément de ressusciter son fils épileptique sur le plancher de la salle de bains.”


joeking at 11:37 pm on January 19th, 2009

Victoria, why do you seem to be looking off camera on the initial site pic portrait? It’s like you are being pensive and looking off into the distance. A slight similarity to the angles in the Mona Lisa.


R at 11:37 pm on January 19th, 2009

Mince alors!

Assez impressionantes, vos connaissances de la langue de l’amour, ma chère mademoiselle!

Savourez votre séjour .... et bonne chance aux tables !

Rrrr…rrrr..rrrrrar

À propos, connaissez-vous déjà ce bon mot ?

Le monde parfait ?

Les cuisiniers sont français, les policiers anglais, les ingénieurs allemands, les amants italiens ...
le tout géré par les Suisses.

L’enfer ?

Les cuisiniers sont anglais, les policiers allemands, les ingénieurs italiens, les amants suisses ...
le tout géré par les Français.

Alors ... espérons le meilleur :-)


LC at 1:53 am on January 20th, 2009

How odd, even if Travolta having stayed does give a reason for the picture being there. As innocent as it is, I can’t imagine many people being completely comfortable with the “staring eyes ‘o’ Travolta.” You’d think they’d stick it in the lobby or something.

God only knows the number of awkward encounters it’s provoked over the years:
“Sorry, wait a minute. Stop… I can’t. With that. Can I move it? On the floor? I’ll just pop it in the en-suite or something. I’ll hang it back up in the morning, I will. Just cannot concentrate…!”


Ian at 12:57 pm on January 20th, 2009

Actually, since staying in that hotel it’s been the other way for me and I now cannot perform without a large photo of John Travolta on the wall.

Obviously for the house this doesn’t raise that much of an issue, however, carrying a large portrait around with you on a night out can be a little embarassing.

(Please note the above may not be true - it’s a small portrait that gets carried around).


Lc at 12:22 am on January 21st, 2009

But of course, Ian…


John at 8:07 am on January 21st, 2009

Perhaps a picture of amiable Joe Pesci on the bedroom wall might be a better way of prompting the weary traveller to take breakfast and vacate.  I’ve heard he’s a funny guy.


Dass at 3:34 pm on January 21st, 2009

............................... or Anthony Perkins perhaps?!!


Sam at 4:56 pm on January 21st, 2009

I see that you busted out before the money, oh well, can’t run good all the time.  What was the standard like?  I’ve heard that some tournaments in France are ludicrously soft (Partouche, for example), but this being an EPT that’ll probably not be the case I suppose.


Victoria Coren at 5:15 pm on January 21st, 2009

Well, naturally I wouldn’t want to denigrate in any way the skills of French players, and in all seriousness there are some great French players, but I have always thought that Deauville is the best value EPT going. You’re far more likely to have a ‘soft’ table here than in any other major tournament on the circuit. I can’t deny, there were some players on my starting table that I would love to see start playing regularly in the cash games at the Vic…

  But of course having said that, yup, I’m out, couldn’t even make day 2 lol.


the chimney sweep at 6:15 pm on January 21st, 2009

perhaps this hotel is the secret french hq for scientology? did you take a peek into any other rooms and see what other famous people’s photos were up on the walls?

maybe a picture of Mimi Rogers in one of the single rooms? or how about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in the honeymoon suite? perhaps a signed photo of Kirstie Alley in the kitchen?


charlie at 2:31 pm on January 22nd, 2009

TRAVOLTA! ...BAH ...THATS NOTHIN…i’ve got the horrible sight of HORNY DWARF VERN giving SWAMP MONSTER TINA one from behind glaring down on me. But worse, much worse, the bedside reading material is the Tom Cruise guide to scientology!


Marco at 11:16 pm on January 28th, 2009

“(For anyone who’s just hit on this site by accident: I play poker).”

Lol, this cracks me up, Vicky! By the way, I think one can tell it by the logo on the curvy part of your shirt… ;-)

Oh and while I’m at it: if we ever get to play a poker hand together, just look at me with one of the super-cute, adorable faces you have when you’re thinking about a pot and you’ll have my money right away. ;-)


Mike at 9:03 pm on December 14th, 2009

How odd, even if Travolta having stayed does give a reason for the picture being there. As innocent as it is, I can’t imagine many people being completely comfortable with the “staring eyes ‘o’ Travolta.” You’d think they’d stick it in the lobby or something.


Victoria Coren

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