Archive for June 19th, 2020

June 19, 2020

Paris from above!!!

Oh well don’t we want to see the whole of Paris? It would be magical, there are spots where you can see parts of Paris from above and they are magical indeed. I look and do not see a post on this subject so therefore, here is my take on the beautiful city of Paris looking down!

One of my fav photo of all time, and been not a good photographer having this picture is a treasure. Climbing the north tower of Notre Dame Cathedral towards the spiral of the Sainte Chapelle, the Seine river down to the Pont de l’Archêvéche, pont de la  Tournelle, pont de Sully, and further pont d’Austerlitz! Gorgeous indeed me think.

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And of course from the same Notre Dame Cathedral all the way to the Eiffel tower, majestic, the St Louis Church of the Invalides just behind it and further on the right Montmartre, and the forefront, Church St Germain des Prés! magical!!

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And here is another dandy, from tour Eiffel this time. You see the école militaire and Invalides, St Germain des Prés Church, and the Notre Dame Cathedral further been a bit cloudy. Paris from above is sublime , well all of Paris!

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And we continue our flying high journy of my eternal Paris. Even from a metro/subway! This is going to work meeting on line 6 passing quai Branly and see the Tour Eiffel!

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And from my latest Gare Montparnasse not too high, overlooking the Place Raoul Dautry, and the tour Montparnasse, bus terminal on left.

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And bien sûr, from the top of the Arc de Triomphe down on Avenue des Champs-Elysées, who would not? at least once, the views are spectacular on a clear day.  Where I can see my favorite restaurants there, sentimental, first time with my then girlfriend later wife at Bistro Romain (since closed and now bistro des champs) and all the way back to the place de la Concorde! Awesome!

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And how about from the Arc de Triomphe but directed at the tour Eiffel! magical shot indeed!

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Another one not so high, but sentimental as was my first ever encounter with trains in France lol! Gare Saint Lazare was my old entry point to Paris for work from Versailles rive droite station!!! And the views over the rue du Havre crossing with rue St lazare was nice indeed!

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One of my all time favorites, going up from Gare St Lazare to take the best overall views of Paris in Suresnes, Mont Valerien , awesome shot of my eternal Paris! Sacre Coeur, tour Montparnasse , and in details  see othere like the Arc de Triomphe .A photographer’s dream!!!

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And one of my treasures not to be duplicated, with my dear late wife Martine climbing top floor of the Samaritaine dept store (now gone) and romantic night view of Paris,peniches boats on the Seine river, up to Invalides St Louis Church, and tour Eiffel! Romantically sublime!!!

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And would not want to leave this post ,since giving two photos from office in Paris and glorious shots from our top floor balcony window. A nice way to have a lunch in Paris! Souvenirs of always.

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Dome Ch St Louis Invalides on left

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Tour Eiffel!

And there made some photos come alive in my blog, as Paris is eternal and from above magical. We will always have Paris! Hope you enjoy the photo post on Paris from above!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and, many cheers to all!!!!

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June 19, 2020

Wines news of France III !!

Ok so getting the hang of it and continuing with my wines series, something I love. I thank all those who have taken the time to read and to note my wine posts. Merci/Gracias.

Let’s get on the ball and tell you a bit about the primeurs or early wines, a tradition started long ago and still going on in my belle France.

One thing is very clear is that, for the success of this early campaign, Bordeaux must return to the fundamental principles (recently ignored): primeurs or early wines must reach consumers at prices lower than the vintages physically available in stores.  The situation linked to COVID-19 and to the ensuing economic crisis is to significantly lower their prices without losing face or damaging older vintages. The quality of the 2019 vintage is allegedly excellent and volumes are high, in addition, the unprecedented current context of the campaign as an early product linked to COVID-19 adds weight in favor of a considerable reduction in prices.

The coming out so far offer an average discount of 18% compared to the exit prices of 2018. Today, the best returns on the market concern castles which show a price reduction of around 30%, such as Pontet-Canet, Palmer, Cheval Blanc, Mouton Rothschild, and Branaire-Ducru; if the other castles follow this initiative, this campaign could well be memorable.

The 2019 vintage is in line with the recent great vintages – 2018, 2015, 2010 and 2009 – in terms of quality . Many producers echo this sentiment, highlighting the high quality of the wines in 2019, in particular their impressive balance. The best examples in 2019 have allegedly reached the Holy Grail: balance between the triumvirate of concentration of aromas, structure (tannin and alcohol) and acidity, thanks in part to balanced weather conditions throughout the growing season.

The winter of 2018-2019 was abnormally mild, causing a premature budding, between five days and two weeks too early. While this phenomenon generally results in a premature end of the season, including the harvest, the wine clock has recovered thanks to a cool spring. The heat and drought waves made 2019 a vintage for Cabernet Sauvignon; this grape takes on a slightly larger proportion than usual in the composition of many Grands Vins. In the same way, the cold brought freshness to the Merlot. the quality of Merlot through the various castles of the Rothschild group has been the best since 2010, and the quality of Cabernet Sauvignon is such that the high quality of the first will be very beneficial for the second wines. Mouton Rothschild is made up of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon in 2019, a higher proportion than usual.

Beyond the quality, 2019 was also spoiled in terms of production volume. While in 2018 the vineyards on both banks were forced to sort because of mildew, and their yields were lower because of the heat, 2019 a could escape these two plagues. Another factor contributing to good production volumes in many vineyards is the particularly healthy condition of the grapes during the harvest. The high quality of the 2019 Bordeaux wines seems to be positive for a world in containment. While the current market is considered unfavorable for the release of a vintage with such promising quality, releases began on May 28 2020 with Pontet-Canet as the first major release. The warning signs are that the people of Bordeaux are listening, and risk reducing prices given the global context of the health crisis. To all those attentive to the scoop purchase in the current context, this campaign is not to be missed.

For one, one of my favorite if not most favorite property, Mouton Rothschild raised the level of the campaign with a price 30% lower than in 2018 and lower than the price of other vintages In a complex economic context and with the recent difficulties in price performance in Bordeaux, this outing is a great opportunity. It is all the more so if I; also take into account the quality reported in 2019. Mouton Rothschild 2019 is a floral, elegant and majestic wine; with a high proportion of cabernet sauvignon (90%, against an average of 83%), I promise it a long and prosperous life.

The younger brother of Mouton Rothschild, released the same day, seems just as interesting but for different reasons. Regarding long-term price trends, the Petit Mouton is one of the best wines in Bordeaux. The 2019 enter the market at a price lower than that of recent vintages. The other 2019s in Mouton Rothschild’s stable – d’Armailhac, Clerc-Milon and Aile d´Argent , also came out on June 9, respectively for 34€, 57€, and 66.50€!.

Also, on the other fronts such as the second Carruades de Lafite 2019 opened the ball at a price of176€ per bottle making this wine the most accessible Carruades on the market. We have the feeling that Carruades reached a milestone in 2018 in terms of quality, and the 2019 vintage is part of this line. With that in mind, and knowing that the volumes put on the market have decreased by 50% this year, it is a safe purchase for anyone wishing to access the prestige of Lafite. The Grand Vin, Lafite 2019, came out at a price of 475€ per bottle , a discount of around 20% over the current market price of the 2018 vintage. While the exit price is relatively aligned with that of the last vintages, 2018 and 2016, the excellent quality guaranteed by the Lafite team for 2019 possibly justifies the latter. Duhart-Milon 2019 has also been unveiled, at a price of 58€ per bottle. The increase in average temperatures observed by Bordeaux during the last wine seasons (vintages 2018, 2016 and 2015) therefore only serve to improve the quality of Duhart-Milon, and 2019 has certainly received its share of warmth.

Exceptional vintage, sold cheaper than the previous ones, the 2019 awakens the world of wine! If only one word should describe the 2019 vintage, it would be “gluttony”. Already, the wines are tasted with disconcerting ease, they are cut for keeping and will be tasted just as well in their youth. What to satisfy the greatest number, especially as the first prices are down by 20 to 30% compared to 2018!.

Some of my recommendations as to know a wine is to know its winemaker, never go wrong with the all time good ones. If you can buy any of these, you will be glad you read me. En vino veritas!

Graves white: Château Latour-Martillac: Strong flavor, very aromatic, both ripe and acidic for a nice balance. Lingering finish on tension

Graves red:  Château Olilvier: Intense nose, of liquorice, round mouth, soft, supple, warm, on very fine, elegant tannins. Smoky notes, great energy.

Château Pape Clément: First mellow, caressing, the wine is suave, delicate, refined, with immense freshness, fantastic tannins, suave as desired

Château Carbonnieux: Creamy texture in attack, incredible delicacy on the palate, fresh, mellow, on beautiful tannins which emerge in a powerful, suave, fruity, long finish.

Château Haut-Bailly: “Energy” is the key word for this pure, balanced wine, which promises a very bright future. Progressive power, dense, silky tannins, infinite length. Breathtaking !

Margaux:

Château du Tertre: Easy to access, precise, with finesse, on the juicy fruit, freshness, smooth in the mid-palate, complex on the finish, soft tannins.

Château Cantenac Brown: Let yourself be carried away in a whirlwind of freshness and ripe fruit. Spicy, powerful mouth, dense tannic structure.

Château d’Arsac:  Exceptional bourgeois growth: Tannins of good density, seductive, wrapped in roundness, the generosity of notes of black fruit (blackberry, blackcurrant).

St Estéphe:

Château Meyney:  Flexible and easy to access, it unfolds with roundness, generosity, spicy notes. Power and dense tannic structure.

Les Ormez de Pez Fleshy, full-bodied, harmonious, full-bodied, dense tannins and nice gourmet evocation, abundantly fruity on the finish.

Saint Julien:

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou:  A masterful wine with a very aromatic, floral nose. Bewitching, distinguished, lively, dense, powerful, sappy, with lamb’s lettuce, tight, racy tannins.

Château Talbot:  Suave, the attack precedes the mouth, round, velvety, unctuous, generous. Attractive finish thanks to the fruit which displays joyfully.

Château Leoville Barton:  A concentrated, silky, complex, dense vintage, with mash, tight tannins that generate this distinguished power.

Château Beychevelle:  And already a nice harmony between the fruit, alcohol, acidity and tannins that overlap and complement each other to provide incredible pleasure.

Pauillac:

Château Mouton-Rothschild:  Fleshy, mellow, bewitching, immense, with dense, satiny, racy tannins that occupy the whole palate without taking away the finish, chiseled like lace, saline.

Château Clerc-Milon:  Roundness, smoothness, elegance, notes of violet, ripe fruit and caressing tannin grain which allows to stretch the finish indefinitely, salivating, fresh (minty), chocolate.

Château Pichon Baron:  Unlimited pleasure on the attack and in the mouth, powerful, precise, intense, with tender tannins.

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande: We love this supple vintage embroidered with silky tannins, endowed with a formidable aromatic complexity.

Haut Médoc:

Château La Tour Carnet:  Elegant and voluminous palate, with woody, roasted notes and intense, juicy red fruits.

Château Cantemerle:  Easy, lively, cheerful, with a refreshing acidity which gives this beautiful feeling of drinkability.

Château d’Agassac: The gourmet acidity melts into an elegant, fleshy, unctuous matter, well integrated tannins, a nice freshness.

Château Malescasse:  The dense tannins interfere with the air in the smoothness of the alcohol, the beautiful acidity, the roasted aromas, of liquorice and black fruits.

Château Clement-Pichon: The freshness is already expressed on the nose, then the palate takes over, fruity, tart, crunchy, of an absolute gluttony. Quicksilver

Listrac Médoc:

Château Fourcas-Hosten:  Coated in a soft cocoon of small black fruits, the harmonious mouth, of good depth, displays energy, freshness and tender tannins.

Moulis en Médoc:

Château Chasse-Spleen: Finesse, elegance and beautiful tannic structure for this wine nuanced with fruity red (cherry) and chocolate notes.

Also, Château Fonplegade: A nice wine marked by freshness, tannins, liveliness, notes of red fruit, cherry

Château Ferrand:  Powerful, mellow, rich mouth, good acidity, a slight bitterness due to youth, silky tannins

Château Franc-Mayne:  Round, mellow, ample, opulent and generous on the palate, with very tight tannins. Salivating finish, full of juice.

Voilà, I made my tri for primeurs values from 2019. Of course, the field is much larger and there are many properties, the above are a basket, a starting point on some of my favorite properties over the years. Hope you enjoy the world of primeurs, and of course wines, and bien sûr Bordeaux, one word one reference from which the world follows, tries to copy and even tell you stories. Bordeaux is king. Hope you enjoy the post. Salut

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

June 19, 2020

Hôtel de Crillon!!

Well , I have not stayed here lol! But did participated in meetings held here and its gorgeous to say the least of its fame worldwide. I have mentioned it briefly in several posts before in my blog but never a post of its own, and this icon of my eternal Paris deserves one , me think. Hope you enjoy my take on the Hôtel de Crillon of Paris!

A historic icon of Paris on the Place de la Concorde, this is the Hôtel de Crillon.

Paris

In 1758, the King Louis XV commissioned his architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel to produce two identical façades on either side of rue Royale on “Place Louis XV” (current pl de la Concorde): the eastern façade, which is occupied by the Hôtel de la Marine, while the first Hôtel de la Monnaie was to take possession of the western facade. But this location is ultimately considered too far from the business district and a Council decision decides that the new building would rise to its current location on the Quai de Conti. The land behind the western colonnade is then divided into four lots which are sold to private individuals, who are responsible for building private mansions behind Gabriel’s façade:

The Hôtel de Coislin no 4, closest to rue Royale, which retains original decor only oak paneling adorned with garlands and flowers in the upstairs lounges; the Hôtel du Plessis-Bellière no 6, also called the Hôtel Pastoret, built for Rouillé de l’Estang ,squire, king’s secretary and treasurer-general of financial police and which was the home of the latter’s nephew, the lawyer, man of letters and politician Emmanuel de Pastoret; the Hôtel Cartier no 8, also called the Hôtel Moreau, also as above, the work of Moreau-Desproux who had it built for himself; the Hôtel d’Aumont no 10, at the corner of rue Boissy d’Anglas, nowadays occupied by the Hôtel de Crillon, was built in 1765. The first owner of the hotel was, in 1776, an architect who rented it to the Duke of Aumont, the latter having the interior decorations redone by several artists.

Legend has it that Queen Marie-Antoinette came to take her piano lessons in this hotel in 1788, the Hôtel d’Aumont was acquired by François Félix de Crillon, who gave it his name. Confiscated by the government during the French revolution, it was finally returned to the Crillon family who occupied it until 1907.

In 1907, the Hôtel de Crillon was bought with two buildings which follow it in the rue Boissy-d’Anglas, by the Société des Grands Magasins et des Hôtels du Louvre or the Louvre Group, which decided to transform it into a palace. At its inauguration on March 11, 1909, the Hôtel de Crillon was the first large “prestige hotel” in Paris with an exceptional location, luxurious comfort and a reputation that attracted over the years the preference of heads crowned and heads of state.  It was at Hôtel de Crillon that, from February 3 to April 11, 1919, was drawn up by the American President Woodrow Wilson and the Allied delegates, the founding pact of the League of Nations or later the United Nations.

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In 1973, the prestigious hotels of Le Crillon, Le Lutetia, Le Louvre in Paris and Le Martinez in Cannes were united in the Concorde Hotels & Resorts subsidiary of the Taittinger Group ;one of the Louvre Group’s hotel subsidiaries majority owned by the Taittinger family. The Taittinger group and the Société du Louvre were sold in 2005 by the Taittinger family to the American group Starwood Capital Group. (same as us…: J The Hôtel de Crillon is one of the seven Parisian palaces, and is listed in numerous guides as one of the most prestigious hotels in the world. In November 2010, Le Crillon was sold for 250 million euros by  Starwood to a member of the Saudi royal family.

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Due to the increase in competition in luxury hotels in Paris in the 2010s and the creation of the status of “palace” in France coveted by the Hôtel de Crillon, a complete shutdown for four years of works occurs on March 31 2013. A large number of pieces of furniture (Louis XV style) and services are then auctioned off, such as the bar counter created by the sculptor César, the crystal console by Philippe Starck, beds, wing chairs, bath sheets, cutlery, as well as part of the wine cellar. In particular, the elephant-liquor cabinet in Baccarat crystal will remain in place, as well as the two marble fountains that would come from the Palace of Versailles. The hotel reopens on July 5, 2017.

Since 2017, it has offered 81 rooms and 43 suites. The most famous suites are located on the fifth floor of the hotel: the Bernstein suite and the Louis XV suite overlooking the Place de la Concorde. These two suites associated with room 552 form the Grande Bernstein. The presidential suites on the third floor can all communicate and also have a view of the square. It will have a hair saloon and brasserie a spa and pool and the kitchen. On September 19 2018 it received the distinction of Palace so becoming the 25th palace of France.

The Salon des Ambassadeurs is done, an ultramodern bar is in this historic place , all historical corners of the hotel were renovated and restore to its famous glamour. In the Salon d’hiver, the ceilings a work of art has been restored completely, on the upper level the view is fantastic over the Place de la Concorde. The Salon des Aigles was a great technical knowhow to bring it to its former glory. In the basement, 90 meters long by 30 meters wide, two levels were done without having to move the façades built in 1758!  There is a pool! of 14 meters long, and on the kitchen almost all is done with 7 elevators to bring the meals quicker up. You just need to wait to fit in on its 81 rooms or the 33 suites and 10 signature suites (where two were design by Karl Lagerfeld).

Restaurants wise it has the La Brasserie d’Aumont,  Écrin, gourmet restaurant; Jardin d’Hiver, Le Bar Les Ambassadeurs and La Terrasse Gabriel. We had our lunch for the meeting in the La Brasserie d’Aumont! and cocktails at the La Terrasse Gabriel!!! Memorable moment of my hotel management work period in Paris!

You can still see at the corner of rue Boissy-d’Anglas and place de la Concorde above the current plaque of pl de la Concorde, a plaque indicating its old name, Place Louis XVI, which was his for four years from 1826.  Hôtel de Crillon ;10 place de la Concorde, Paris of course !

The rosewood hotels webpage for the Hôtel de Crillon in English: rosewood hotels for the Hotel de Crillon

The Paris tourist office on the Hôtel de Crillon in English: Paris tourist office on the Hotel de Crillon

And there you still a dream to actually stay there, gorgeous, sublime, what French hotelerie/restaurant tradition is all about. In the meantime a must to see while in Paris just take a peek ok. I will just leave you with a taste brief, hope you enjoy it; the Hôtel de Crillon is Paris!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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