Wine in Paris: discover a unique French wine making experience at Les Caves du Louvre
Les Caves du Louvre is tucked into a beautiful 18th century building on Rue de l’Arbre Sec, which is named after the sommelier of King Louis XV, Trudon.
The blue painted entrance stands out against the stone, as if to beckon us inside, and the intricate carvings of the building hint as its history.
I was delighted to be able to attend the opening event of Les Caves du Louvre with fellow MyFrenchLife™ journalist Jacqueline Dubois.
Unique interactive Paris wine making experience
The wine cellars were built in the 18th century by the King’s sommelier and used to be linked to the Louvre by a tunnel, which facilitated the transport of the King’s wine to the Palais du Louvre. Today, they are still being used to store wine, but are now home to the wine museum established by Olivier Magny and Nicolas Paradis.
The museum offers a unique wine discovery experience through the five senses. It’s open to the public during the day, and in the evening offers a ‘French Wine Making Experience’ to private groups, allowing guests to create their own bottle of wine. Where else can you do this in Paris?
We were greeted by a team in sleek black uniforms who led us underground for the ‘French Wine Making Experience’ where the high stone ceilings and dim lights created a sophisticated ambiance.
Here’s where this experience gets really interesting and interactive.
There are various rooms, each of which has been assigned a particular sense: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Each room contains a game or activity, which can be played either for fun on the tour, or as part of the wine making process.
Visitors can also download an app that will act as a tour guide, providing information, quizzes and videos as they move through the cellars.
Discovering wine through the senses
The first sensory room is dedicated to the sense of touch and contains small television screens that depict and describe the soil of different wine regions.
Black boxes are stacked in the corners of the room, and although that room had yet to be completed at the time of our visit, we were told that they would soon contain different types of soil.
The aim of the game in this room is to put your hand in each box to feel the earth, and match each texture with its region.
The second room is ‘smell’ and was my favourite.
Wooden branches are weaved across the ceiling, which gives the impression of being in a giant bird’s nest. A long plastic surface runs along each of the two walls, one side for red wine and one for white, with circular holes that are each labelled with the name of a scent. Along the tops of these surfaces sit large wooden corks, each containing a certain scent.
The idea is to match the scent to the label and insert the cork into the correct hole, which will light up red or green depending on the accuracy of your choice. I could have spent hours inhaling the aromas of coffee, almonds, butter, cherries, leather, and honeysuckle.
The third room is dedicated to taste.
This room had not yet been completed at the time of our visit, yet its intention was made clear to us. A very large wooden table fills the room, and on its top sit taps that were soon to be attached to barrels filled with different wines.
The aim of this activity is to identify different tastes and describe the differences between the wines, recognising underlying acidity or sweetness, for example. Visitors will be able to talk to a wine connoisseur, who would explain how to assemble wines together.
The fourth and fifth rooms, which are adjoining, are dedicated to sound and sight, where visitors are greeted with the sound of bubbling champagne and popping corks.
One room contains dozens of different wine tickets, removed from their bottles and framed on the walls. Thanks to digital tablets, visitors taking part in the experience are able to create their own ticket to adorn their personalised bottle of wine.
The next step is to cork your own wine and seal it with wax.
A Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for wine lovers
After the tour, we were invited into the degustation room, where we were offered a glass of Duval Leroy champagne and aperitifs: foie gras with pain d’épices and a mini hamburger made of chocolate, kiwi and apricot.
Here visitors have the chance to talk with a sommelier and take pictures in the photo booth.
For me, Les Caves du Louvre tour was like entering a sophisticated Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for wine lovers. The museum makes an authentic French excursion that will have you discovering wine like a local, and the hands-on experience of creating your own bottle of wine, from the flavour to the design, is unique.
Will you be visiting Les Caves du Louvre in Paris soon? Have you ever made your own wine? Let us know in the comments below!
All images © Stephanie Williamson and Jacqueline Dubois Pasquier.