The half a dozen trips to Paris that Stephen Hartigan, managing director of Groupama, has to make every year are having their effect.

At the Biba conference dinner in March, Neil Thornton, a director of Yorkshire broker Smart & Cook, casually said he and his intended would be honeymooning in the “city of romance” during the first two weeks of July.

Hartigan was delighted with his choice and told Thornton to give him a call if there was anything he needed while there.

Much to his surprise, two days before his wedding day, Thornton received a visit at the office from a Groupama salesman, ladled with French francs.

Hartigan had not only made reservations for two at the world famous Jules Verne restaurant on the Eiffel Tower, but had also sent an underling to the Smart and Cook offices with the money to pay for it.

The reason? Without a Groupama body there, he could not book the table under the company account.

Backchat is wondering whether Hartigan is suffering from a case of French romanticism or Gallic cunning?