Month: April 2023

Books About French Wine

In the world of wine, I’ve decided to limit myself to France for the moment. Whenever I attend a wine tasting in Paris, I expect to spend the afternoon getting acquainted with wine from the home country. Drinking my way through various AOCs (appellations d’origine contrôlée) is a pleasurable way to learn about the soil, topography, climate, and wine-making technique of France by region. New rule: never pass up a wine tasting where France is the topic of conversation. Here are some books I’ve been considering on the subject.

Works Sighted

Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure // Histoire des vins de France // Adventures on the Wine Route // Champagne: How the World’s Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times

Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region // The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It // Le vin de Bourgogne // Champagne: Wine of Kings and the King of Wines

Land and Wine: The French Terroir //.Monseigneur le Vin: The Art of Drinking Wine (Like the French Do) // The New French Wine // French Wine: A History

Wine Tour de France in a Cozy Private Wine Bar: An Airbnb Experience

I booked a wine tasting last minute in the 9th Arrondissement at a bar à vin/caviste called Archibon. Wine Tour de France in a cozy private wine bar was hosted by Henri, who opened the establishment in 2016. He’d previously worked in the business sector but later decided to pursue his passion for wine full-time.

The bar is intimate. Mirrors line the walls. Stacked crates are stocked with bottles of wine. I visited on a Sunday afternoon and found Rue Rougemont quite quiet. Archibon is located at number 13.

I was the first guest to arrive. Henri and I chatted about my acquisition of the French language while we waited. I also tried — successfully, I might add — to refrain from eating the baguette, cheese, and charcuterie that had been placed at my table. Class began promptly when the other two guests arrived. One of them had studied wine, which, as I suspected, made for robust conversation.

The Airbnb experience was unique. It struck the perfect balance between formal wine class and casual tasting. Henri is skilled at making complicated information on wine production accessible. As a memoirist, I enjoyed hearing Henri tell the story of how he started his business and maintained it through 2020 and beyond. I also had the opportunity to put my senses to the test; we discussed the tasting notes of each of our six wines in great depth.

Although I took a few notes, I fully embraced the casualness of the occasion. There was plenty of room for questions, thoughts, disagreements, and personal stories. I left having connected with another sommelier in one of my favorite cities. One can never know too many people in the French wine industry. Needless to say, I plan to return.

Les Amants (1958): Jeanne Between Paris and the Provinces

Jeanne Tournier lives in la campagne but prefers Paris. She escapes to the capital at every opportunity, staying with her friend Maggy. Henri, Jeanne’s husband, doesn’t appreciate her; he hasn’t for years. Henri senses that his wife is slipping away and attempts to shower her with affection. His efforts are inauthentic and too late. Jeanne is a woman who needs to be loved, and Henri is no longer son amant.

Works Sighted

dress // nightgown // robe // sweater // scarf // skirt

heels // hair comb // alarm clock // necklace // flats // flats

Airbnb Parisian Flea Market Experience

Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is the biggest and best flea market I’ve ever visited. It’s located to the north, just outside of Paris. I took metro line 4 and disembarked at Porte de Clignancourt, meeting my guide and the other four members of our group just above ground. Mariana Diamantino, host of Parisian Flea Market Experience, is an expert at uncovering vintage finds. Initially, I’d considered exploring the market on my own, but I later realized that would have been a mistake.

Although my French is good enough to garner compliments, being accompanied by a French speaker was essential in this instance. Mariana was able to negotiate prices on my behalf; I’m not skilled at doing this in English, so I don’t think I’d be successful at it in French.

I don’t usually strike gold on thrifting trips, but I did on this occasion. Our last stop was what Mariana fondly calls the “down and dirty.” This is where the best bargains are found. Acquiring them requires searching through piles of clothes and boxes of accessories. I uncovered a navy trench coat and two sweaters at a stall. Actually, Mariana may have spotted the trench coat.

The vendor asked for 35€ for all three items, but Mariana was able to negotiate the amount I was able to pay, which was about 32€. Like most vendors, he didn’t accept credit card. Not only was I glad to have Mariana by my side to negotiate but also as a friend when the conversation with the vendor turned a little inappropriate. Some things were said in reference to all Americans supposedly being rich. I learned afterward that it is common for vendors to hike their prices for US visitors.

I highly recommend Mariana’s experience. Other tips: bring cash and a lightweight, foldable tote, secure your belongings, let any negative comments roll off your shoulders, and don’t engage with the men selling cigarettes by the Porte de Clignancourt metro stop or AirPods under the Périph.

Shopping for Basics at Monoprix

I really love shopping for classic pieces at Monoprix. They carry my size and have reasonable prices. I pick out my items online first and then search for them at a brick-and-mortar location. The hunt often takes me to a few branches of the retail chain. Here are all the items I’ve been fawning over lately.

Works Sighted

sweater // trench coat // puffer jacket

T-shirt // handbag // marinière

pants // ballet flats // gym bag