"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ô Chateau -- Wine Bar

Olivier Magny, co-owner extrodinaire

 68, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris
+33 (0)1 44 739 780
Website: www.o-chateau.com
Contact: contact@o-chateau.com

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

  4.5 - Stars................ (prices to meet everyone's pocketbook)....................................3 - Bells

I don't normally review wine-bars because for one, as much as I'd like to be, I'm not a wine connoisseur, but I've been to a number of wine bars throughout Paris to know that Olivier Magny and Nicolas Paradis have a hit on their hands with Ô Chateau.  Ô Chateau has been opened since 2004 and they had a 3-year renovation project.  No expenses were spared.

Tonight was a special night, because Karen Fawcett of "Bonjour Paris" hosted a get-together of fans and writers of "Bonjour Paris".

It was a particularly warm spring evening, and our group of friends first met at a cafe and then proceeded to the wine bar.   

My Impressions

Physical Space.  This has got to be one of the biggest and well planned wine bars in Paris. The main floor of the wine bar is enormous.  How Olivier and Nicolas were able to procure such a large place must've been a miracle. Most wine bars in Paris are so tiny that you literally can smell what the person next to you is drinking.

Selections of wine displayed.  I was amazed at the special devices used to keep the wines at a particular temperature, and for easy dispensing. All the wines and bottles were well laid out and very orderly. If I didn't know any better, I'd say Olivier and Nicolas are a little bit on the "OCD" (obsessive-compulsive-disorder) side, in a good way.

Wine cellar.  This to me, by far, was the most impressive. They had large cavernous rooms for special wine tasting events or for private parties.  Words can't do it justice, so with that said, I've posted several random photos:

Now to the wines themselves, Olivier and Nicolas have an ENORMOUS wine selection. And, they are extremely knowledgeable about the wines. I am not a wine connoisseur, but I know what I like and dislike and for me, basically anything sweet is "interdit".  So with this knowledge at hand, Olivier steered me to wines that I would like, and so I stuck to sancerres and rosés.

In summary.  I'd love to tell you about all the different wines etc. that I tired and reviewed, but that wouldn't be fair to Olivier since I'm not that knowledgeable.  Hence, for someone like me who is not a wine connoisseur, this is a great place to be educated because of their extensive wine knowledge.  And, if you don't speak French, no worries, Olivier speaks perfect English, having lived in San Diego.  For those who are wine connoisseurs, then this is the place for you. You will be challenged and offered some very exciting wines. Because of the size of their wine bar, they are able to store an enormous varied amount of wines and champagnes.  The prices are varied and for every pocketbook. And, if you've never been to a wine bar in Paris, this is a great way to start!

The wine bar also serves food, but it's more as an accompaniment for the wine, sort of like a food-wine-pairing "tapas".  By the way you can also make reservations.

I highly recommend Ô Chateau.  It's in an easily accessible location.


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