This season, one of the key themes is about being a ‘Proper Lady’. Visions of well dress women adored with diamonds, and dripping pearls, with elegant clothes of velvet and lace, gliding effortlessly down the street. So Parisian darling! And does such a lady drink?
Why of course champagne darh-ling!
Naturally being summer, and naturally being of the female species, when one shops down the Champs-Elysee till they drop, the obvious choice is to quench your thirst and revive with a glass or two (or a bottle!) of champagne.
For most, choosing a wine can bring about the same reaction as a maxed out credit card; on a personal note, a panic-stricken and rouging face, with the sudden appearance of small beads of sweat, is the usual consequence of being handed the wine menu. Champagne, Prosecco, Asti- Are they not all the same??? Surely! They all have bubbles!
So what is the difference between Champagne and other sparkling wines?
The Champagne most of us know and love, comes soley from the Champagne region of France. Therefore, in theory of sparkling wine from this region can be called Champagne, and other sparkling wines are produced elsewhere in the world. Spain’s bubbles are called ‘Cava’, whereas Italy has ‘Prosecco’ and ‘Moscato d’Asti’ (Asti).
Are we all still listening carefully? Okay, so lets continue…
For those of us who merely pretend to live ‘la dolca viva’, why not splash out and treat oneself to a glass of bubbles or an equivalent cocktail. A recent revamp of Champagne Bars, have transformed the image from out-of-hours city banker haunt to the new ‘must be seen at’ bar.
Paris being the capital of Fashion, glamour and all things chic, it unsurprisingly offers numerous water-holes for the champagne and cocktail drinker. Amongst some the best known and most fabulous are:
1. The Curio Parlor. Found at 16 rue des Bernardins, 75005, the Curio Parlor, not only offers any drink you may dream for, it is also contains things dreams are made of, decorated in plush leather booths and mood lighting, with the occasional stuffed animal peaking out from behind a bottle- Is that the whiskey doing that to me, or are those animals really there? It also draws in the crowds with it’s famed title of serving the 138° proof Bitter Truth, which is aged for 24 years, and being the only Nikka bar outside Japan.
2. For those who feel like flashing the cash, Flute l’Etoile (75017), is where to go. It boats not only a menu of some 23 different champagnes but also a designer décor, comprising of wooden panelling, blue walls and luxurious red velvet. Reining Paris as it’s first champagne lounge, it is small, but exudes an air of exclusivity, which fits its title. For drinkers wishing to sample different vintages without buying a whole glass, they offer small tasting glasses at around €5, as well as mixing imaginative and fun twists on classic bubbly, cocktails such as champagne sangria or the Rossini-Tini (champagne, raspberry juice, liqueur and Grey Goose vodka) make sophisticated alternatives.
3. Finally our last, but by no means least Parisian Champagne Bar is our most forward thinking and playful one. Both fun and interactive for the drinkers, WINE by ONE offers over 100 varieties on display in self-service cabinets. Each wine cabinet comes with its own detailed tasting notes, available via touchscreen. The bottles are classified according to their robustness, from the lightest whites to the stickiest fortified vintages, via fruity reds and tannic wines. One of the plus points of this bar is that every client gets a loyalty card, which keeps track of everything you’ve drunk. Once you’ve added credit, you insert the card into one of the distribution points and choose your vintage. Price varies from €1.40 to €7, which are dependent on which wine and how much of it you drink. As well as great wine available, WINE by ONE also serves some great accompanying dishes to help soak up the booze. Perfect! And only a stone’s throw away from la Place Vendôme and les Champs-Elysées (9 rue des Capucines), so you can go straight from choosing bouquet vetements to bouquet wines and champagnes! It’s a hard life in Paris! I think I need a drink….