Richard McGinnis was born in Columbus, Ohio and raised in Chagrin Falls near Cleveland. Anxious to explore the world, he spent his third year of university on an exchange in Clermont-Ferrand and fell in love with France. After 3 years in Caracas, Venezuela to learn Spanish, and 4 years in New York to learn everything, he was transferred to his hotel company’s head office in Paris 34 years ago. Richard was quickly promoted within the Taittinger organization to Director of Sales at the Hotel de Crillon until he left to open the Paris office for Leading Hotels of the World.
Now a long-time resident of Paris and a naturalized French citizen for over 20 years, Richard has just retired from 26 years as the Director of the French office of Leading Hotels of the World. He divides his time between Paris and Roussillon-en-Provence in the Luberon.
Favorite place to visit in France, and why?
The Jardin du Palais Royal because it’s my favorite place in the world.
Favorite place to visit in America, and why?
Anywhere on Lake Michigan because it’s in my DNA and I love the communities all around it, especially on the Upper Peninsula.
What do you think the French can learn from Americans?
What do you think Americans can learn from the French?
A nation can and should provide basic human rights like health care and higher education to all, not just to some.
Favorite French film?
Le Dernier Métro
Favorite American film?
To Kill a Mockingbird
Favorite French actor or actress?
Favorite American actor or actress?
Most important French figure in history and why?
Molière: brilliant satirist and humanitarian. His work is absolutely as relevant now as it was in the 17th Century.
Most influential American figure and why?
Barack Obama: showed our nation and the world how great we can be.
What is your favorite American luxury?
Almost anything from Tiffany’s
What is your favorite French extravagance?
Dinner at the Ritz
Favorite American food?
Freshly-picked, steamed sweet corn with butter and salt and charcoal-grilled hamburgers
Favorite French food?
The quality you most admire about the French and Americans?
I hate generalizations, sorry!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My 42-year love affair
Which talent would you most like to have?
Have a voice like Sting or Chet Baker
Name three people, dead or alive, who you would most like to have dinner with?
Joni Mitchell, Michelle & Barack Obama
Relative to your field of study, what is the most important tradition to keep alive?
Grand hotel hospitality in the grand tradition — super personalized — with less technicality
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Floating in the Mediterranean Sea