NEW YORK POST:
In May 1961, an elderly woman in Paris heard a knock at the door of her six-story walk-up apartment. It was only the most powerful man in the world.
The president of the United States was going door-to-door hoping to find the call girl he had discreetly arranged to meet.
John F. Kennedy, it turned out, used a fake excuse about a doctor’s visit to attend a long-arranged dalliance while in Paris for a crucial summit, only to wind up in the wrong building, knocking on the doors of random Parisians who were left with the surprise of their lives.
The tale of this ill-advised but ultimately, er, successful liaison is recounted in “Madame Claude: Her Secret World of Pleasure, Privilege, & Power,” by William Stadiem (St. Martin’s Press).
Madame Claude, born Fernande Grudet on July 6, 1923, in Angers, France, was one of the world’s most successful madams.
Starting in 1957, she ran an exclusive, high-class prostitution ring that offered a very specific type of woman — tall, supermodel-gorgeous, classy and upscale (or at least trained to appear so) — to the world’s richest and most powerful men.
The young women who worked for her were known as Claude girls, which became a well-known and powerful brand. She scouted them carefully, paid for plastic surgery if needed, and ultimately hoped to marry them off to aristocracy.
“A date with a ‘Claude girl’ was one of those pinnacle Paris experiences,” writes Stadiem, “like staying at the Ritz or dinner at Maxim’s or wearing a Lanvin suit . . . an apotheosis of luxury that the French do better than any other nationality.”