25 February 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - the Cognac

We've been invited on a private tour of the famous cellar of the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco. This is a wine connoisseur's paradise in the largest hotel cellar in the world. 650,000 bottles of the world's finest vintages are stored in this vast cellar: 1,500 square metres hewn out of the rock of Monaco in 1874.

The cellars are not open to the public so this is a tremendous privilege. I was lucky enough to be included in a private visit arranged by my friend, Nicolas and I thank him so much for that - and of course, you are invited too.

A group of Nicolas' friends met in the Square Beaumarchais outside the Hôtel Hermitage - the entrance to the cellar is nearby. We enter an enormous commercial lift and descend 10 metres below ground. It took 100 artisans one and a half years to create this cellar with its one and a half kilometres of wine racks.

At the entrance stand four huge wooden barrels of cognac - one of which, a 'reserve premier empire' dates back to 1810. In the photos you see the Vieilles Réserves Hôtel de Paris and Vieille Réserve Louis Philippe.

You see can as we look beyond the entrance that each area of wine in France has its own section but we'll see that more clearly another day, so don't strain your eyes.

There is a lot of information to impart on this amazing cellar, so I'll write a little each day to illustrate the photographs. We have only just begun...do come back tomorrow.

I struggled somewhat with the photographs for this series. With the low lighting in the cellar, no flash didn't work - or rarely. Flash was too harsh but I learned a lot from it and what I could have done - so apologies in advance.


Marie-Noyale said...

Don't forget if you try many...
you have to use the..."crachoirs" otherwise the pictures may end up a little Blurry!!!!

Clueless in Boston said...

Blurry pictures would be a small price to pay to sample all that wine:) Lucky you.

maria said...

Oh, Jilly, please tell Nicolas I want to be his friend too!

Thank you for sharing the opportunity to see this beautiful cellar and yes, of course, I'll be back tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to say you are privileged in so many ways, Jilly!
And if we all will have a history lesson along the pictures, we'll be lucky too!!

Sharon said...

What an amazing tour. I feel honored to go with you!

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

I always like the wine cellars and, of course, the wine!

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

This is a rare treat. I am really looking forward to your upcoming posts.

Chuckeroon said...

That's fun....not only sections for fine wines of each "region" but also a section for "standard wine in barrels".........not just bottles of it but whole barrels - for self bottling as "vin de la maison"?

Good start, J....we follow the crowd through that doorway to.....????

Anonymous said...

Love this series!


Anonymous said...

The pics of Avignon and Fonteville are wonderful contrast. Also there is a difference in the fonteville pics whom are beautiful. it's easy to see beauty in avignon as well. buildings do have a rustic charm. the balconies and colorful awnings are pretty. Designs that are too modern tend to look dated after a while especially 'en masse" which is perhaps why the keeping some of the "old" world charms to Monaco's new architecture is important. if only, in little touches. such as stylish awnings, or architectural decoration or elegante balconies or just etchings and scrollwork in building architecture. Any opinions on this?

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