Lunch and a visit to the Paris Wine Museum
I like wine, wine cellars and learning about wine, so I really expected to enjoy the Wine Museum of Paris. After getting a glimpse of the vaulted restaurant while on a walking tour of the 16th arrondissement, I returned on a particularly nasty day a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps it was the driving rain or the throat thing that I was developing, but I left with a vague feeling of disappointment.
After studying the museum's website, I decided that the 29€ Terroir lunch menu was a good deal because the price includes the 11.90€ entrance fee. What I didn't consider beforehand is that the two items that I couldn't resist, scallops with foie gras and roasted rack of lamb, would come with a surcharge of 3€ and 5€ respectively. Add a glass of wine and my delicious lunch was suddenly 42.29€. In all fairness to the museum, the menu did offer 4 starters and 2 main courses that didn't come with an additional charge.
While the ambiance was convivial, the food was well-prepared and the waiter threw in some free French lessons, in a charming rather than condescending manner, something didn't feel right -- maybe it was the red folding chairs and bare tables that made the historic cellar feel more like a seminar room than a dining establishment. With a couple of candles (even fake ones), it would have been so cozy and romantic!
|An onion shaped heater used to make cognac.|
Among the displays of wax figures corking champagne and making barrels, there was one showing Napoleon on the battlefield drinking his favorite wine, Chambertin, from Côte de Nuits in Burgundy.
|Trick pitchers from the 18th to 20th centuries|
While the display cases are filled with every imaginable item having to do with wine, ranging from commemorative glasses to tools used to trim grape vines, these trick pitchers caught my attention. Because of the open design at the top, the wine at the bottom can only be poured by blocking a small opening hidden in the handle.
Even though the museum showcases a wealth of objects, I was underwhelmed by the poor-quality, free audio guide in English, which was a shame because many of the descriptions were only written in French.
Would I recommend the museum to my visitors? Yes, but with some reservation.
If you had a different experience, please let me know. As I already mentioned, I really did expect to like this museum, especially since wine and Paris are almost synonymous. I may return for one of their wine tasting classes. The next one in English is on February 18, 2012.
Paris Wine Museum
5/7 Square Charles Dickens
Rue des Eaux
The 11.90€ entrance fee includes a glass of wine.
|Bottles of brandy were given on special occasions - Number 9 (from the early 20th century) a bottle of brandy in a casket marked the end of a bridegroom's days as a bachelor and number 3 (19th century) was a small cask given to a conscript.|