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Tiny Bubbles

A Parisian Champagne Tour
  • Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s, Paris

    Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s

  • Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal

    Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal

  • Hôtel Le Burgundy Paris

    Hôtel Le Burgundy Paris

  • Sezz Paris

    Sezz Paris

  • Hôtel Le Burgundy Paris

    Hôtel Le Burgundy Paris

  • Saint James Paris

    Saint James Paris

  • Saint James Paris

    Saint James Paris

CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

Western Europe, smack in the middle of France’s northern half, bisected by the River Seine.

WHY GO

Because any way you cut it, Paris is among the truly great cities. If you’ve got any appetite at all for fashion, food, art, wine, architecture, culture or intellectual history, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself drawn into its orbit.

HOW

From elsewhere in Europe, rail is by far the most humane option. From farther afield, Charles de Gaulle is among Europe’s busiest airports, directly connected to just about everywhere — it’s not hard to wrangle a Parisian stopover.

TABLET TIP

Once you’re in town: consider walking. It’s a more compact city than you might think. Though if you’re in a hurry, the Metro, with its distinctive visual style, eccentric manual latched doors and near-silent rubber-tired cars works well, while Vélib’, the public bike-sharing program, is another excellent above-ground option — just don’t bother with the taxis.

 

Champagne may be synonymous with celebrations and exceptional moments, but there’s no rule against drinking it during the less exceptional moments, either. And while Fashion Week may be peak champagne-bar season — we still fondly recall Bollinger’s springtime takeover of the Mandarin Oriental’s terrace — there’s really no bad time to talk tiny bubbles, Brut Zéro, and blanc de blancs in the city’s most champagne-friendly hotels.

Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s
There’s prestige in the oldest vintages. Officially the first in Paris, the champagne bar at Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s lists more than seventy varieties, from Deutz Rosé to Cédric Bouchard’s single vintage cuvée, from Françoise Bedel’s organics to the Jaquesson Grands Crus, on a menu that reads like a Who’s Who of bubble merchants. In a lounge that’s bedecked with Empire opulence, all gold leaf and watercolors, head sommelier Matthias Breton offers a weekly three-stage tasting — Brut, Rosé, Vintage — a variation on a new theme every month. This season it’s all about minerality.

Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal
Newly arrived on the champagne-bar scene, the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal’s Bar Lounge took three short months to establish itself as a staple on the after-work scene — in the neighborhood around the Louvre, no less, where there’s no shortage of competition. Pierre-Yves Rochon’s design, which features a Moleanos gray marble bar, Macassar ebony walls and Toile de Jouy curtains, serves as the setting for for a selection of thirty-five champagnes, from Pierre Moncuit to Ruinart, along with some inventive remixes by the head bartender, Yohann Andrez. Try the Lullfizz, a rum-champagne cocktail with strawberry scent, mint and lemon. It’s not as baroque as it sounds.

Saint James Paris
Another fine mansion hotel, another highly regarded house. Until the end of September, six exceptional Taittinger champagnes, selected by sommelier Michael Morais, are there for the sipping, beneath the ballooning treetops in the garden of the Saint James Paris. The titles sparkle on the tongue — Folies de la Marquetterie, Nocturne Rosé, Prélude Grands Crus — and the six dishes paired with the champagnes, created for the occasion by chef Virginie Basselot, are the essence of summer. We’re partial to the grilled sea bass, buttered with Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs and served with mashed potatoes and chives. A pure delight.

Sezz Paris
To pour its nectars in a suitably inspired setting, Veuve Clicquot has consistently chosen the Sezz Paris, the ultra-stylish boutique hotel designed by Christophe Pillet. The bar, named for the house’s flagship champagne, La Grande Dame, is styled after a boudoir in red and black, placed under a glass atrium window and finished off with rose petal–shaped alcoves. A devilishly romantic atmosphere, and a champagne list that’s brief but intense: just four wines, including the Ponsardin Brut Cart Jaune, as blunt as a (very elegant) jab to the chin, yet delicate enough to be paired with a few grams of Petrossian, the tsar of caviars.

Le Burgundy Paris
Tiny bubbles keeping you awake? Head for Le Baudelaire, the midnight-blue bar at Le Burgundy Paris, which just happens to be the capital’s finest cognac bar. No fewer than fifty names appear on the menu — Louis XIII Rémy Martin, Hennessy Paradis, Frapin VIP XO, and even a house blend created by Hine. If you change your mind, you can always opt for an Ode to Beauty, the signature cocktail made from Piper Brut blanc, with crème de pêche, cranberry juice and fresh squeezed lemon juice. You’ll sleep like a baby.

Dante Nolleau
CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

Western Europe, smack in the middle of France’s northern half, bisected by the River Seine.

WHY GO

Because any way you cut it, Paris is among the truly great cities. If you’ve got any appetite at all for fashion, food, art, wine, architecture, culture or intellectual history, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself drawn into its orbit.

HOW

From elsewhere in Europe, rail is by far the most humane option. From farther afield, Charles de Gaulle is among Europe’s busiest airports, directly connected to just about everywhere — it’s not hard to wrangle a Parisian stopover.

TABLET TIP

Once you’re in town: consider walking. It’s a more compact city than you might think. Though if you’re in a hurry, the Metro, with its distinctive visual style, eccentric manual latched doors and near-silent rubber-tired cars works well, while Vélib’, the public bike-sharing program, is another excellent above-ground option — just don’t bother with the taxis.

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