DSCN2073Today it's my 50th birthday (I don't feel a day over 49) and I just experienced the best trip in all my trips to Paris and France in my 24 years of traveling to Paris. It may have been my best travel ever, not a small revelation for a journalist who has been all over the world, but I have to admit the best trips ever were the trip down the aisle to marry Mr. Weekend In Paris and the two visits to the hospital to give birth to my wonderful sons Jack and Phil. But today, I want to share with you 50 things I love about Paris and France to commemorate my big birthday. 

IMG_1310Do you want to merely taste several brands of wines or do you really want to know the history of the area where it is made and what goes into the nectar of the Gods in the region you are are visiting? If the latter is your goal, head straight to The Wine boutique Pierre Laforest “La Grande Cave” in Vougeot (a short drive from Dijon) in Burgundy. The locals call the wine merchants the “Maison de négoce”. It is located in the Grand Crus area, close to the famous Clos de Vougeot plot and castle. The building with its wine caves is the only remaining structure of a former 18th century castle which was dismantled in 1938 and sold stone by stone to many local businesses including the renowned restaurant “La Gentillhommière” in Nuits-Saint-Georges.

IMG_1305Second part in a series about Winter Burgundy wine tasting outside Dijon. Winter time can be the best kept secret to wine tasting. No fighting crowds or lines at popular vineyards is appealing. So is the fact that the centuries old narrow streets are free from traffic and wineries are not in a rush to shove you out the door for the next tour group.

IMG_1367As usual, my jaunts outside Paris seem to revolve around wine. The side-trip to Dijon was no exception. I contacted a knowledgeable guide named Emmanuel with Authentica Tours to show us around for the day into the Grand Cru region of Burgundy. Emmanuel had some great connections; one of them being award-winning Viticulteur Gérard Quivy. His 2009 vintage wines have a two out of three stars rating with The Hachette Guide. The Hachette Guide is THE reference in France for wine. And while winter was not the ideal photo op time of year, it sure seemed the best to beat the crowds and enjoy a small private wine tasting. Let's meet a Burgundy wine grower up close and personal.