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Hotel Ritz, Paris

David L. Ross
From the Print Edition:
Winston Churchill, Autumn 93

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Not surprisingly, the Ritz has an unparalleled wine cellar--it's a Wine Spectator Grand Award recipient--whose 120,000 bottles are presided over by one of the world's best-known sommeliers, Georges Lepré, the hotel's international wine manager. Assembled over the years, the collection includes a vast assortment of classified-growth Bordeaux, an awesome selection of Sauternes, including such rarities as the '27 and '29 Chateau d'Yquem and a number of virtually unobtainable Cognacs--one dates from 1812. There are also modestly priced but delicious wines from Provence, the Loire Valley and Alsace.

To wind up dinner, be sure to seek out Jean-Paul Fries, the Espadon's deuxieme maitre d'Hotel, or second captain. Fries knows cigars. The Ritz's "portable" humidor is immense and holds a tempting collection of smokes. Fries still has a good number of Cuban Montecristos, no longer sold in France, as well as Cohibas of all sizes, and the entire line of Davidoffs from the Dominican Republic. Fries says the new Davidoffs are selling particularly well. Prices range from $15 to $40 per cigar.

If the mood strikes after dinner, ask Fries to direct you downstairs to the Ritz Club, an intimate disco-cum-bar, where a glass of Champagne at 2 A.M. is the perfect way to end a long day of, in the words of Irving Berlin, "puttin' on the Ritz."

-- David L. Ross

Hotel Ritz
15 Place Vendôme
Phone: (33) 42-60-38-30
Room Rates: $490 to $715

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