Gadgets, Paris Metro, and Wine

Where are the gadgets in Paris? I see a few people with cell phones, a couple of people with music players (the headsets looked like they were from iPods), and I have only seen one person interacting with their phone, like a smartphone (I couldn't tell what model it was).

The subway is very crowded at rush hour and it feels worse than the subways in Tokyo, but that's probably because the Paris subway is rather old so the flow of people isn't as good.

So gadgets and crowd control in the subway isn't great. On the other hand, the wine is great!

And now for something positive and interesting from my Paris experience: (and no, I did not get the name of the restaurant - sorry)

After our meetings were done for the day in Paris, at about 6pm, we got on a bus and toured around Paris for about an hour. That wasn’t too exciting, but we did end up at a restaurant where the 30 of us took over the entire restaurant (we had reservations). It was a French restaurant run by a Sommelier (wine expert). Turns out that in 1992 he was voted or ranked the #1 Sommelier in the world. A few photos on the wall (in French) seem to indicate that he has won that award a few times, starting in 1988 up to 2000. These are the guys who have to be able to tell you the year, time of year, what hillside a grape came from , and other crazy stuff that made the wine that you’re tasting – and they have to do that based only on taste, smell, and color.

So oddly enough, the French food was really good (I usually don’t like it) – all 6 courses of it. The food was never explained though, so some stuff we guessed at what it was.

And as might be expected, all 6 types of wines (one glass per course) were also very good. The waitress explained every bottle of wine, where it was from, who made it, and what was unique about it.

Then the very coolest part…. He brought us do his wine cellar. We had to go through the kitchen to get to it, and being in Paris, the building is made up of a bunch of old buildings pieced together over time, so the stairs going downstairs are crooked and even though we were below street level, there could easily be other levels below where we were. He has owned the restaurant for 20 years and has been building up his wine collection since he started it. His oldest bottle of wine is from 1893. Most everything is French, but he has some South African wines too. The wine cellar was sorta dark, cool, packed with a bunch of wine, much of it very old, and certainly not a typical tourist thing to do. I was in the wine cellar with the Semillon, 3 people from Japan, one from China, one from South Africa, one from Germany, and one from Denmark. And me, from Longview WA, USA.

Too bad I prefer sake over wine, but the experience was certainly one to remember.