France’s presidential wine cellar in the Elysée Palace has officially opened to the public, in a move by president Emmanel Macron intended to promote national heritage.
Around 350 members of the public were granted access to the vast cellars over the weekend after registering for a tour online. They were also treated to a tour of the underground kitchen, cellar and florist rooms.
“This is the first time we’ve opened the cellar to the public,” Virginie Routis, the Elysée’s head sommelier, told Europe 1 radio.
The French presidential wine cellar, created in 1947, holds 14000 bottles. Although all of France’s principal wine regions are represented, around 50% of the collection comprises of wines from Bordeaux, while a quarter are from Bourgogne, all of which are served to government officials and diplomats visiting the president’s official headquarters.
“The wine is chosen according to the menu. I make a selection…Madame and Monsieur Macron also get to approve the choice. We really have to represent French gastronomy so you have to choose wines that speak to a given foreign delegation.”
The cellar was opened to the public as part of France’s Heritage Days, which give the public access to a number of listed and historic buildings across the country.
A giftshop has also opened in effort to raise around €100 for renovations throughout the building, to be completed by 2025.