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Photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand is auctioning his friends for the planet

Loic Venance, AFP | French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand takes photos with his mobile phone as he arrives on May 22, 2017 for the screening of the film 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' at the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes.

Time with luminaries is the newest commodity for sale at French auctions. Instead of Old Master paintings and Ming Dynasty porcelain, you can bid for private moments with world-famous footballers, chefs and violinists.

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The catalogue for the special auction on Sunday October 14 features many familiar faces. Although you cannot buy French actor Clovis Cornillac, acclaimed architect Renzo Piano or footballer Blaise Matuidi, you could bid for lunch with one of them – or all three.

French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand is auctioning off rare private audiences with some of his famous friends to raise funds and awareness for his GoodPlanet foundation. Based at the Domaine de Longchamp, the foundation is “the first place dedicated to the ecology and solidarity”.

Money raised will also contribute to maintaining free public access to the Domaine de Longchamp, where the auction will be take place, with more than 40 ‘moments’ to bid for: a private concert in your own home with internationally renowned violinist Zhang Zhang, an hour of tennis in Roland Garros with Paul Henri-Mathieu, or the very special opportunity to have lunch with Franco-Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado and his wife and curator Lelia Wanick.

New phenomenon in France

You can also bid for a day on the set of Dany Boon’s new film, or a dinner in Alain Ducasse's private dining room in the kitchens of Plaza Athénée, or a weekend at Beauval Zoo with private access to the pandas’ quarters.

You can choose between having your portrait taken by distinguished German photographer Peter Lindbergh or by Arthus-Bertrand himself, who is also offering to take you on a boat journey across the Seine with himself as captain.

Auctions of celebrities’ time in aid of charity is a reasonably common phenomenon in America, but a relatively new one in France. This auction will be transmitted live by the respected French auction house, Drouot. A Drouot representative said that this type of auction was most unusual for them to be involved with.

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