Oh say can you see? And drink and drive?

Written by admin on August 29, 2008 – 3:01 pm -

It could happen anywhere but somehow it feels so very French and it happened in Nancy, France. Where else could a blind man get behind a car’s wheel and be fined only 500 euros ($750) by a judge presiding in a French court room. Not only did this 29-year-old journalist not have a driver’s license but also he clocked in at having double the permissible alcohol level after the police performed a breathalyzer test.

To be sure he was feeling no pain as he and his accomplice, the owner of the car, were taking a joy ride on a country road in the very early hours on July 25th.

The police didn’t stop the duo for speeding. Rather, they spotted the car zigzagging at a low speed and wondered exactly what was taking place.

The car’s owner, a 52-year-old photographer, was indulging his blind friend’s wish to drive. Unfortunately, he was also pronounced drunk and was fined the same amount plus the judge revoked his license for five months.

No one was hurt — but it only goes to show that truth is often stranger than fiction. And some of us think that driving in pitch darkness is exciting.

Karen Fawcett is president of Bonjour Paris.


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Posted in Consumer Traveler |

Despite higher dollar, fewer Americans visiting Europe

Written by admin on August 27, 2008 – 3:03 pm -

Even though the dollar is finally a few cents stronger, don’t go out and count your euros and expect to be in consumer heaven when you visit Europe.

Americans are hardly rich, even though there’s talk of a psychological barrier being passed, now that the dollar is clocking in at less than 1.50 euros. Europeans are watching the currency market as if it’s the hottest game in town.

Americans aren’t heading to Paris they way they used to. The weak dollar, the U.S. economic downturn, and the high cost of airline tickets, due to the rocketing cost of fuel and the airlines’ own misguided efforts at nickeling-and-diming travelers, all convince a lot of people to stay home. And many just have sworn off dealing with airport security and being treated as criminals.

According to the French Government Tourist Office, 1.5 million Americans traveled to Paris in 2007, a drop of 5.5 percent from the previous year. Since January 2008, statistics reflect a further decline of 14 percent.

Paul Rol, director of the Paris Tourism office says, “the number of U.S. visitors has been decreasing since June 2007 and the downward trend is growing steadily.”

But as fewer Americans are coming to the City of Light, other nationalities are making up the slack. Paris has recorded an overall increase of tourists by 2.3 percent. During 2007, there were 8.76 million tourists, many of who came from Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Americans still comprise the largest number of tourists in Paris—just fewer, currently. But they’ve shunned France before. There were fewer between 2001 and 2003 following the September 11th attacks and the Franco-American row over the U.S. invasion of Iraq. However, U.S. tourism rebounded in 2004, and many people feel it will again after the upcoming presidential elections if Barack Obama is voted into the Oval Office.

Imad Khalidi, president of Auto Europe, predicts the dollar will become stronger if a Democrat is elected president. “Look back at November 1991, the French franc was very, very strong—4.6FF to the dollar. Once Clinton was elected, the dollar climbed to 6.4FF to the dollar. Let’s hope that’s the case again.”

Khalidi admits that the car rental business is down in the EU. But firms like his have more than made up for the loss by renting to Europeans who are vacationing in the U.S. and, because of the currency exchange, people living on a euro income feel rich and are making the most of their buying power. Walk into any big-city department store in America, and the locals will wonder if they’re in bargain basements when they hear the tourists exclaiming how cheap everything is. It’s reminiscent of the Japanese forming lines to gain entrance to Louis Vuitton on the Champs Élysées.

Travel industry experts agree that the very rich will travel when and wherever they want. Whether or not it costs more or less isn’t a big factor. The swanky Meurice Hotel, located near the Place de la Concorde and facing the Tuileries Gardens, isn’t crying the blues over losing its American clientele because it hasn’t. Eighty percent of them are from the U.S – except during August when the hotel is filled with families from the Middle East because they love Paris and want to flee from the heat at home.

What J.P. Morgan said about maintaining a yacht—”If you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it”—applies here where the least expensive room begins at €650 per night, and a lovely Continental breakfast in the Michelin two-starred restaurant, Le Meurice, headed by Yannick Alleno, costs a mere €36. Since most of us have to ask, it’s pretty obvious we can’t afford it.

Another take is from Bill O’Such, who owns a super apartment in the Marais. “If reservations for our apartment— The Elzevir—is any indication, we have people reserving into 2010. It hasn’t affected Americans’ desire to travel to Paris.” In talking with them, they do cut down on what they do (i.e. fewer dinners out, less shopping, etc.) which costs a lot of money. They search for less expensive ways to come travel. “One theory I have is that hotels are now so expensive in euros that people are considering apartments even more than before. The other trend we’ve seen is we have more Australians and Canadians as clients.”

Of course the dollar is stronger against currencies that are pegged to it, so traveling in Asia, for example, may be a better bet than traveling to Europe. “In fact,” says a San Francisco resident, “I can fly more cheaply to Beijing than to Paris.”

So, the exchange rate is only one factor. The cost of flying may be greater, depending on your destination. It’s not easy to balance. And naturally enough, what we love is often what we’re willing to pay for, not matter what.

For instance, author Nancy Bruning says that she doesn’t know about others, but she’s booked to come to France this summer. “I’ll simply be sparing when it comes to spending. But, I love Europe so much that I’m not going to forgo my France fix.”

I don’t know about others either, but I will just be “sparing with the spending” and hope my credit card doesn’t melt.

For people who live here, we’re holding our breaths and eating a lot of pasta and drinking a wee bit too much wine.

Karen Fawcett is the president of Bonjour Paris


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Will the world’s worst tourists please stand up?

Written by admin on August 25, 2008 – 3:04 pm -

So the French are the most obnoxious tourists in Europe, according to a recent survey. Are they better off staycationing?

Having lived in France for twenty years, I’m fully aware the French might be perceived as brusque with one another. But I wondered how the French might be seeing themselves. So I conducted a poll of my own.

Maybe it’s not so surprising that the French were critical of one another about their travel manners.

“I don’t know about their being the worst, but I normally stay away from the French when I travel,” says Laurence de Bure. “My brother, who’s a Parisian travel agent, says avoid the French when traveling because they tend to be negative. Their inability to maintain open minds make it difficult for them to adapt or accept other cultures. They tend to complain and compare everything to France and close their eyes. They can take the pleasure away from your travels.”

Parisian hotelier Thierry Dechaux said, “I don’t know if the French are the least desirable tourists. I do know they tend to complain about the minute details rather than calling attention to something that may not be to their liking. As a result, the staff may be more accommodating. But there is no good or bad tourist. We only have guests who expect value for the money they’re spending. As professionals, we hope guests will respect our staff and our local culture, and the French don’t tend to be the best when it comes to that whether they’re in France or traveling elsewhere.”

One of the problems, of course, may be that traveling in packs brings out the worst in everyone. Large groups of any nationality can be obnoxious, since whining ring-leaders can dominate the whole group. The French are generally no different, although their generally far higher standards for cuisine and antiquities can lead them to publicly express comparisons that may not be ideal in a foreign environment.

David K. Gibson, a journalist who lives in Aspen, has a different perspective. “I suppose it depends on what your criteria are,” he says. “I live in a tourist town, and the French who come here seem polite in town and excited on the ski slopes. I don’t hear complaints about the French. The stereotypes I do hear. Russians are rude and entitled, and too rich for their own good. Germans are too loud, in voice and dress. Australians are friendly but don’t tip. And Texans are all of the above.”

Susie Lavenson, senior partner of a consulting firm that advises clients in the hospitality and tourism industry said, “We’re all hosts in our own countries. If hospitality is welcoming and thoughtful, the recipient of that hospitality is going to be grateful and personable, whether he’s French or American. That’s a universal truth. Tourists are travelers, hungry for food, shelter and recognition. They’re in a foreign land. It’s not too much to ask hosts to behave graciously … particularly if they’re in the hospitality industry. If they’re not in that industry, then good manners and human kindness should fill the gaps. Everything else is just trimmings.”

Gary Clarke, an executive in business development says, “In my travels, I have witnessed ugliness from people of all walks of life, from every corner of the world. Generalizations certainly apply — but parochially rooted small-mindedness is an affliction made worse, not better, with money and transport.”

Karen Fawcett is president of Bonjourparis.com


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August in Paris: trying something different when no one’s looking

Written by admin on August 22, 2008 – 3:06 pm -

Just when they think the Parisians aren’t looking, the merchants have at it. First, they raise prices just a few cents, as if the natives won’t notice when they come back from vacation in September. (If you think Americans are the only ones complaining about prices, you’re wrong. The French are also feeling the economic pinch.)

But walking the streets of Paris will reveal other changes, and some are definitely for the better.

There’s a lot of construction taking place as boutiques are either undergoing renovation or have lost their leases and new ones are moving in and upgrading the space. Unlike American stores getting a makeover, few signs are visible about what will occupy the redone premises.

That is why there are some new-to-the-scene places that have had soft openings and have yet to make a splash. They’ve opted for a shakedown period to make certain the staff is ready for the (hopeful) onslaught.

One is Baboto, a new restaurant. Montpellier native Daniel Alauze wanted to introduce a très Mediterranean, very hip-feeling-and-then-some restaurant in the Forum des Halles/Châtelet area. He spent two years gutting the interior of this building that’s classified as a monument historique. Now it’s anything but traditional and serves very good food from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., but never on a Sunday.

You can eat standing up at the Lucite bar or sitting at one of the higher or lower tables and, during good weather, on the terrace. And there’s free WiFi in the event you’re bored or want to hang out and work (or surf) during the day.

At night, the restaurant takes on a new persona. The bartender shakes up some mean drinks made of faux absinthe since the real thing was banned years ago for being highly addictive, unlike whiskey or cigarettes, evidently. He has an entire repertoire that will leave people who sample them feeling no pain. For non-drinkers, there is an extensive menu of non-alcoholic cocktails.

Shake it up, baby, on Friday and Saturday nights when there’s a DJ between 8 p.m. and 2 in the morning. Don’t wear your go-to-church clothes if you go at night. Opt for something a wee bit sexier.

Another soft opening, but this is the right time of year when people are the most receptive. After a three-month renovation period, Raimo opened its salon de thé in a very charming boutique that’s located at 59/61, boulevard de Reuilly in the 12th Arrondissement. Created in 1947, Raimo is undoubtedly the oldest continuing ice-cream maker in Paris. Now his son is assuming the reins. Some people swear the ice cream is better than Bertillon’s, founded in 1954. Besides Raimo is open in August, and Bertillon is closed.

Another newcomer is Pierre Herme, maker extraordinaire of macaroons—you gain five pounds just walking in the store, ten if you actually eat a couple in his new boutique on the Right Bank at 4, rue Cambon, 75001. The store is so new that it’s not even listed on the Web site. But if you happen to be shopping on the Right Bank and have a craving for undoubtedly the best macaroons in Paris, voilà.

Don’t turn your back long in the City of Light — and love. There are always changes.

Karen Fawcett is president of Bonjour Paris.


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Want to learn French on your next family vacation? Pourquoi pas!

Written by admin on August 20, 2008 – 3:09 pm -

Many people want to improve their French and would like to do it during a family vacation. There aren’t so many options, but I’ve finally unearthed one that might fit the bill.

The Centre International d’Antibes may not be a five-star chateau, but it offers accommodations in studios that are located on the premises. Students must be a minimum of 12 years old to qualify for the “family” program. Each student is required to take a written and oral exam, plus an interview before being assigned to a class. The adult classes number no more than 12 while younger students are confined to a maximum of 15 in a group.

The classes are set up by the week so you can stay one week or as many as you want. It’s up to you whether you want this to be your entire vacation or combine it with a week in Paris or elsewhere.

Joelle Sbrana, the school’s director of admissions, explains that even though the school doesn’t offer meals for everyone, there are small kitchenettes for cooking. The entire family isn’t required to enroll for 20 sessions per week that last 45 minutes each. But one or more family member is required to do so. There are afternoon activities for students between the ages of 12 and 18 and they can eat their meals on the campus.

For families who prefer apartments, the Centre has a few. In addition, they can assign you to a host family where you’ll speak French because that’s what is spoken. Call that total immersion which is the best way of learning.

Depending on the time of year, Antibes may or may not be swinging. There’s lot going on during the summer months but if you really want to study, they’re are fewer distractions when it’s off-season. And the prices are substantially lower.

Don’t expect to meet only Anglophones if you sign up for the program. People from all countries attend the programs. As a result, you’ll meet people from many parts of the world, but more than likely from the EU.

The school also offers excursions to nearby towns such as Nice, Cannes and Monaco. Or you can hop on a train and explore them on your own. The train takes less than 30 minutes and you won’t have to worry about parking.

Many people have rental cars, so they’re free to discover the Riviera that’s not on every tourist map on their own. It’s not a bad way to vacation – and return home linguistically richer. Perhaps you’ll retain what you’ve learned if you speak French during dinner. A week will hopefully give you a start.

Karen Fawcett is president of Bonjour Paris.


Posted in Consumer Traveler |

5 things about Paris even the Parisians don’t know

Written by admin on August 19, 2008 – 3:11 pm -

People who live in a city are sometimes the last to know what’s happening there. But this August, I’ve made it my mission to see what’s hot and new in Paris.

Here’s what I discovered.

1. Paris means business. It’s mid-August and there are more stores and restaurants open this year than ever. Guess President Nicolas Sarkozy’s mandate that French workers had better work harder and longer hours has been taken to heart — or the French have taken to reading economic news and it’s not so hot.

Even though the French government stipulates two yearly sales periods for retail stores, shoppers can score big discounts if they go into boutiques where the sales people are happy to deeply discount the summer stock. The sale signs may not be posted in the store’s window (and yet they may), but don’t hesitate to ask to see if there’s a cache of goodies in the back. Perhaps it’s not in the best of taste, but people have been known to bargain. Something off something on last year’s dress is better than a lot off nothing.

Places that do tend to be closed are bakeries and some small markets in residential areas. But, if you’re in a pinch (and even if you’re not), don’t despair. Just head to Picard Surgelés, a chain selling amazingly good frozen foods. If you need a dessert, it’s hard to beat their sinfully delicious chocolate cake or lemon tart. Their frozen foods can make any person a gourmet cook, and no one is any the wiser. This is a not-to-be-missed store when you’re in France.

2. In a word, EXKi. If you’re craving the freshest of the fresh organic meals, or want carry-out for a picnic or simply to eat in your room, EXKi is definitely for you. The food is good and light, and the price is right. There’s currently only one store in Paris, not far from the Opéra, but the group is in expansion mode. After the rentrée, there will be a second store on the Left Bank’s Boulevard du Montparnasse. Its slogan is “natural, fresh and ready”—interestingly enough, in English. If I were a betting person, I’d wager you’ll see many more of their restaurants mushrooming up in the City of Light.

3. It’s a driving city. No, really. I rented a tiny Mercedes for two from Mobizen. Not everyone is terrified of driving in Paris (most especially in August or on weekends when there’s actually space between cars on the streets) and we managed a fast tour and were able to pick up a few necessities.

4. Where are all the Americans? It’s reputed that there are many fewer Americans in Paris this summer, but it’s really hard to tell. You hear American English everywhere. Just head to the fountain on the Place St. Michel (at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. and there’s a free three-and-a-half hour English-language walking tour that covers a whole lot of Paris. Don’t wear anything other than super comfortable shoes or you’ll live to regret having joined the group. There’s no charge, but the tour guides work for tips—and, believe me, it’s worth four or five euros.

5. Do the pub crawl. And if you’re not convinced there are a lot of Americans currently here, for 12 Euros, you can meet up at the fountain and embark on a pub-crawl. The students I’ve met have loved the evening, and thank goodness they’re not driving after their foray of seeing French bars and expat pubs and having a great time. Ah, to be in my twenties again.

But, ah to be in Paris now finding wonderful new things to do.

Karen Fawcett publishes the site Bonjour Paris.


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Pedaling through Paris on a hybrid rickshaw

Written by admin on August 16, 2008 – 3:13 pm -

Can the vehicle above become a new icon of emission-free transportation in the City of Love? Perhaps, as Paris now has a small fleet of hybrid pedal rickshaws, similar to those in Rome and Valencia.

The rickshaw service, called Urban-Cab, is defined as an “intermediate non-polluting solution between a bus and a taxi.” The rickshaws operate on a route that passes along the Bastille, the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Saint-Michel and Notre-Dame — basically where tourists want to go.

The rickshaws are powered not only by pedal power, but also a battery and an electric motor that assists on steep grades. Urban-Cab claims that these are a completely carbon-free means of transport and they expect to have more than 100 units around Paris by the end of this year.

Karen Fawcett is the editor of Bonjour Paris.


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Playing Tourist in your own City

Written by admin on August 13, 2008 – 4:29 pm -

After living in Paris for twenty years, you develop a shell and refuse to play tour guide. Why can’t houseguests and visitors get it into their heads that people who reside in Paris actually work? And if they don’t go to an office or cyber-commute, they have done the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame—and will never again stand in line to see them.

After long experience and painful experience, I have learned to hand visitors a subway and bus map, a carnet de Métro (ten subway tickets, with my compliments), and say à plus tard (see you later).  And yes, there will be a glass of wine awaiting you when you return after 5 p.m.  Does this make me a bitch?

No, but then it hits you that tourists are more knowledgeable about your city than you—because we did all those things years and years ago and now we’re sitting behind a desk or staring at a computer. Very few people who come to Paris on business see half of what I’ve been seeing since they would need to pack sports attire.

I mean, have you rented a Velib’ and taken your chances biking from here to there?  Do you know that on holidays and weekends some streets are closed for bike, pedestrian and skating traffic?  Maybe it’s time to try.  I did.

I did Paris by Segway (a motorized scooter) when the tours were first introduced. Don’t be deceived by how easy it looks. Developing a sense of balance isn’t a slam-dunk and do wear a helmet and knee and elbow pads.  Better be safe than sorry.

The Open Bus is also a kick. If the weather is nice, be sure to head to the top of this double Decker brightly painted coach and see Paris from on high.  Even though the Métro is faster, visitors don’t get a bird’s eye view of the city plus an English language description of what you’re actually seeing. Passengers will get the grand tour of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, (of course) Montparnasse, Saint-Germain, the Bastille, Bercy, Montmartre and the Grands-Boulevards.  Purchase a one or two day pass and climb on and off the bus when the whim strikes you. Make sure you don’t lose your headphones or you’ll be out of luck.  La vie est dure.

Suffering a bit from claustrophobia, the idea of being cooped up on a boat even though it’s cruising up and down the Seine is not my cup of tea. I’m good for an hour and hopped on a barge moored at the Pont Neuf (Paris’s oldest bridge in spite of the name) and get my water tour fix in an hour. There are numerous boats cruising the Seine and seeing it by night is romantic.  Many people opt to take dinner cruises but mass feeding is mass feeding. I’d rather eat in a restaurant and cruise either at sundown or after dark.

I’ve spotted some pedicabs, but have yet to gleaned very little information. There are so few in Paris that finding them is a challenge. Ah, there’s a reason. There are currently only a few Urban-Cabs.   They’re powered not only by pedal power but also a battery and an electric motor that assists on steep grades. Urban-Cab claims that these are a completely carbon-free means of transport and they expect to have more than 100 units around Paris by the end of this year.

But the newest phenomenon is renting a tiny Mercedes for 9 Euros an hour. Check out Mobizen and see where you can rent these cars – in the event you want to take a fast tour of the city and aren’t terrified of driving.

Now that I’m in my tourist mode, I’d love to take a 30-minute helicopter ride over Paris. They can be booked for approximately 150 Euros and leave from the “old” airport, Le Bourget.  I’m even up for an excursion in a hot air balloon.  The problem is that no one will go with me.  Finding a partner will be my next challenge.


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Paris – While Parisians are away on Vacation

Written by admin on August 13, 2008 – 4:26 pm -

Just when they think the Parisians aren’t looking, the merchants have at it.  First, they raise prices just a few cent as if the natives won’t notice when they come back from vacation in September.  If you think Americans are the only ones complaining about prices, you’re so wrong.  The French are also feeling the economic pinch.

But, second, walking the streets of Paris will reveal other changes, and some are definitely for the better.  There’s a lot of construction taking place as boutiques are either undergoing renovation or have lost their leases and new ones move in and upgrade the space.  Unlike American stores getting a makeover, few signs are visible about what will occupy the redone premises.

That is why there are some new-to-the-scene places that have had soft openings and have yet to make a splash. They’ve opted for a shakedown period to make certain the staff is ready for the (hopeful) onslaught. One is Baboto, a new restaurant.

Montpellier native Daniel Alauze wanted to introduce a très Mediterranean, very hip- feeling-and-then-some restaurant in the Forum des Halles/Châtelet area. He spent two years gutting the interior of this building that’s classified as a monument historique.  Now it’s anything but traditional and serves very good food from 11 am to 2 am but never on a Sunday.

You can eat standing up at the Lucite bar or sitting at one of the higher or lower tables and, during good weather, on the terrace. And there’s free WiFi in the event you’re bored or want to hang out and work (or surf) during the day.

At night, the restaurant takes on a new persona. The bartender shakes up some mean drinks made of faux absinthe since the real thing was banned years ago for being highly addictive, unlike whiskey or cigarettes, evidently. He has an entire repertoire that will leave people who sample them feeling no pain. For non-drinkers, there is an extensive menu of non-alcoholic cocktails.

Shake it up, baby, on Friday and Saturday nights when there’s a DJ between 8 pm and 2 in the morning. Don’t wear your go-to-church clothes if you go at night.  Opt for something a wee bit sexier.

Another soft opening, but this is the right time of year when people are the most receptive. After a three-month renovation period, Raimo opened its salon de thé in a very charming boutique that’s located at 59/61, boulevard de Reuilly in the 12th Arrondissement. Created in 1947, Raimo is undoubtedly the oldest continuing ice-cream maker in Paris. Now his son is assuming the reins.  Some people swear the ice cream is better than Bertillon’s, founded in 1954. Besides Raimo is open in August, and Berthillon is closed.

Another newcomer is Pierre Herme, maker extraordinaire of macaroons—you gain five pounds just walking in the store, ten if actually eat a couple in his new boutique on the Right Bank at 4, rue Cambon, 75001. The store is so new that it’s not even listed on the web site.  But if you happen to be shopping on the Right Bank and have a craving for undoubtedly the best macaroons in Paris, voilà.

Don’t turn your back long in the City of Light and love. There are always changes!

www.baboto.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absinthe

www.pierreherme.com


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Wine Bars Have Become the Rage in the US Capitol City

Written by admin on August 13, 2008 – 4:24 pm -

It’s not news in Paris. Residents or people passing through the City of Light usually visit (at the very least) one wine bar. They’re great places to taste selections of two or three wines without falling on your face. Knowledgeable bartenders will tell you a bit about what you’re drinking and if their English isn’t the best, your neighbor will fill in the linguistic gaps. And probably make a suggestion or two.

In addition, wine bars are ideal when it comes to meeting others. If nothing else, you have wine in common and that’s always worth discussing. If you speak zero French, Anglophones should head for Willie’s Wine Bar, Juveniles or Fish located in the 6th arrondissement at 69, Rue Seine (33 (0) 1 43 54 34 69. Expats own all three establishments and attract both English and French speakers.

But the trend has hit Washington big-time. Perhaps it’s because there are so many foreign tourists. Undoubtedly it’s “in” to appreciate wine and know something more about them and what you’re drinking. Long gone are the days when bottles of “plonk” (sp) are acceptable offerings. We can rejoice over no longer even being able to buy Ripple.

Wine bars (no matter where) always serve food. Some is basic cheese and meat platters. Other wine bars serve very very good food and frequently will offer food and wine “pairings.” Singles won’t feel alone bellying up to the bar. If they happen to meet someone with whom they want to spend the evening…. continuing their conversation about wine, all to the better.

In Paris, you’ll have a chance to improve your French. In DC, who knows, you might find yourself seated next to a high-powered lobbyist. No matter whether you’re a tourist or on business, you may find this an ideal way to spend some time while improving your palette.

A true wine bar should have a system for keeping wine fresh once the bottle is opened unless they’re doing a land-office business. There are many fancy systems that use gas now; several wine bars in Washington have them. Some don’t even require a bartender’s help since the client is issued a plastic card that records each wine pour. When you’re finished, you’ll be presented with a tab detailing each wine you’ve tasted.

This insures clients can sample fresh, light whites and expect the wines to taste as if they just came out of the cellar. At far too many wine bars, wines are simply re-corked. That isn’t a problem if the wine bars serve these open bottles very quickly. But too often, the bottles have not been poured quickly enough causing the wine to oxidize. Don’t hesitate to ask for another bottle to be opened. Remember, you’re the client.

Mark Kuller, a tax attorney who opened Proof, said he paid $50,000 for his Italian Enomatic system that dispenses 32 wines. These machines usually pay for themselves within months since they minimize wine spoilage.

There’s a new in-the-mode way to sample wine termed “flights” which generally are 2 ounce pours that cost less but give oeniphiles the opportunity to sample a group of wines that have something in common- maybe Sauvignon Blancs from around the world.

Please take note: Many tend to be noisy since even though the clients may worship wines (or want to know more about them) they are definitely not houses of prayer. All of below listed have dining rooms as well. Many offer bottles of wine at 50% on specific nights. It’s worth checking. Some of the establishments offer free tastings with a representative of the distributor presiding over the evening and being on hand to answer any or all questions.

Bardeo
3311 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC
20008
202-244-6550
http://www.bardeo.com/

Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar
1736 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC
20007
202-333-0111
Free WiFi
http://www.bistrotlepic.com/

Central Michel Richard
1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC
20004
202-626-0015
http://www.centralmichelrichard.com/?src=ppc_google_brand

Cork
1720 14th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C.
20009
202-265-CORK
http://www.corkdc.com

Enology
3238 Wisconsin Ave. NW,
Washington, DC
20016
202-362-0362
60 wine selections (predominantly American)

Mendocino Grille & Wine Bar
2917 M St. NW
Washington, DC
20007
202-333-2912
http://www.mendocinodc.com/

Proof Restaurant
“Wine is Proof that God Loves Us” by Benjamin Franklin
775 G Street NW
Washington, DC
20001
(202) 737-4463
www.proofdc.com

Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar
223 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
Washington, DC
20050
(202) 544-8088
http://www.sonomadc.com/

Veritas Wine Bar.
2031 Florida Avenue NW
Washington, DC
202.265.6270
http://www.veritasdc.com/

Vidalia
1919 M. Street, NW
Washington, DC
20036
202 659 1990
http://www.vidaliadc.com/


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