Last dinner with Aznavour: A 25-year friendship with Charles




Charles Aznavour dined at the same restaurant in Valence for 25 years. He would call at Sassoun restaurant to talk to its Armenian owner Hagop Tumanian, aka Abu Artin.

“He would take a breath and continue the way home 130 away from Valence,” he recalls.

Charles Aznavour and Hagob Tumanian were introduced to each other by French Armenian composer Georges Garvarentz, also a frequent visitor at “Sassoun.”

Speaking to Public Radio of Armenia, he said Charles was not very “picky in food.” He liked to eat tolma and matsun. Aznavour chose the restaurant as a cozy place where he could speak about Armenia, the Armenians, existing challenges, future plans and his newborn grandchild Missak.

Abu Artin last met Aznavour on September 2. “We sat down, discussed the situation in the Motherland, and then he left and never returned.”

“Charles was proud of the revolution in Armenia without a drop of blood. During the last meeting he also spoke about his son Nicholas. He was glad his son married an Armenian girl and named his first son Missak,” Hakob Tumanian said.

Although Hagob likes singing, he never dared sing in Aznavour’s presence.

Abu Artin has received a lot of gifts from the legendary singer and is planning to showcase them in an Aznavour corner at his restaurant.

“I felt safe in his presence. Unfortunately, he is gone.”

Tomorrow Artin will attend a national tribute in honor of Charles Aznavour, although he knows it’s not going to be easy.

Photos from Sassoun Restaurant’s Facebook page

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