September 07, 2007

Wine, Balzac...

During my walk through part of the 16th arrondissement (see my different posts this week) I thought it was time for a break. I visited a Wine Museum. You can find it at the end of Rue des Eaux, the Water Street. The reason for this inappropriate name is that there used to be a thermal spring here, very much in fashion during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The museum occupies some quarries dating from the Middle Age and in the meantime used as wine cellars by a monastery previously situated on top of the hill, then abandoned. The museum opened in 1984. You can learn everything about wine, how to make it, how to store it, how to drink it… with historical references. A glass of wine is included in the entrance fee. (If you want to make it more seriously, there is even a small restaurant where wine tasting is the important issue.)

For some reason, instead of one glass, I got half a bottle of a saint-émilion grand cru. Furthermore I could taste it in nice company. After this refreshment, I visited a small house, where Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) lived 1840-47 and where he wrote the Human Comedy. The only furniture exposed is his writing table and chair, but there are a lot of manuscripts etc. When I now (it was not my first visit) looked at his writing desk, I realised that it’s a copy (or it may be the other way round) of my “blogging desk”, bought at the flea market some 30 years ago (my chair is different). He was said to write some 16 hours a day, consuming coffee in large volumes. I spend a bit less time at my desk, but I consume a number of espressos.

Balzac always owed money and did not want any unexpected visitors. One reason for the choice of this house was said to be that there was a quick exit possibility also on the back side. It leads to one of the narrowest streets still existing in Paris.
To give you an idea where to find these places, here is again a Google Earth view.

A last thing I want to show before the weekend is how useful it is to have a small car in Paris, if any. Hummers are to be avoided.
So, I wish you a nice weekend!

40 comments:

Rhea said...

What a beautiful tour! I would love to live in Paris one day. I live in Boston, Mass., USA.

Azer Mantessa said...

finally ... the wine ... the first i know about france when i was a kid :-)

i saw a documentary - 'future cars' where it makes more sense to me now as it is more practical with all the traffic jams in kuala lumpur where everybody drive alone. 20 years ago, i thought the idea was nonsense.

Neva said...

I saw these cars when I was in France...I am not sure I could get out of one if I was even able to get into one...very cute cars though.

Cuckoo said...

Aah the wine museum !!

Almost similar to the vineyards I visited last year.

And those small cars, I love them. They are so popular in France. :) Even I have a picture of one.

lyliane said...

Ils l'ont trouvé l'emplacement du musée! mais il y a le dicton : il faut mettre de l'eau dans son vin..
J'espère que tu as gardé une bonne bouteille pour tes amies, car il parait qu'un verre de bon vin est salutaire pour les artères, j'en aurai besoin,car le 17 je me fais hospitaliser.
Tu n'as pas encore battu le record de temps de l'écriture de Balzac,quoique?..Belles prtomenades et j'espère pouvoir le mois prochain venir en refaire quelques unes.Le coucher de soleil sur mon blog était bien celui d'hier soir. Bon week end.A dans 15 jours, je l'espère.

Cergie said...

Si tu veux du bon St Emilion, on a des amis copains de prépa de Pat qui sont viticulteurs là bas. Quand les enfants étaient petits on y allait tous les deux ans pour la pentecote pas pour une réunion de bloggueurs mais pour une réunion des anciens de la prépa Clémenceau à Nantes.
Comme on avait chaque couple deux ou trois gosses et qu'on était cinq couples, c'était assez épique (chaque famille avait une chambre)

Les smarts c'est typiquement parisien mais aussi on en trouve beaucoup à Düsseldorf où j'en ai photographié pareil, sauf en perpendiculaire (en épi)


PS : t'as fait tout ça dans la même journée, ta visite du 16ème ?

Bon ouikend, Peter, et bonnes balades pour nourrir ton blog.

delphinium said...

Alors j'aimerais bien visiter le musée du vin. Il y a tellement de régions en Europe qui fêtent le vin, toutes des régions avec des cultures différentes. C'est bientôt les vendanges par chez nous et avec elles les fêtes des vendanges qui drainent leur lot de joyeux fêtards.
Fin de la première bouteille..
hips, j'aime le vin, le blanc (verse encore!), le rouge et le rosé. J'ai beaucoup de plaisir aussi (encore un verre) à boire des vins en dessert. ahhhhh que c'est bon, (encore un verre, à boire, c'est bon hips). Tiens, il paraît, hein peter, hips, que la dame HPY veut une cave à vins, on pourrait aller lui creuser une cave à vin dans un château d'eau, enfin un château à vin sans eau, parce que le vin et l'eau ne font pas bon ménage.
HIIIIPPPPSSSSSSSS tiens HIPS ça ressemble à HPYYYYYSSSS.
Fin de la deuxième bouteille

Schploc, bruit du bouchon qu'on débouche... ahhhh enfin du rouge, du bon, pouet pouet, et Honoré de Balzac, qu'est-ce qu'il en a fait dans sa vie, il jouait toujours la comédie, il disait que c'était la comédie humaine, pis le coup de la chaise, est-ce vous pensez qu'on devrait mettre des chaises dans la cave à châteaux pour la dame HIPPPPSSSS du nord qui parle une langue bizarre? Non, parce que les chaises, si elle s'assied dessus elle risque de tomber par terre en buvant trop de château laffite dans sa cave à eau en lisant ce cher Honoré.

Je suis très très très Honorée d'être venue faire un peu la foire, hiiiiippppppppps, vive les vendanges, chez vous, Peter Olson de Balzac de la cave à vin du Château.

Patrata.... Nous interrompons ici nos programmes chers lecteurs pour vous annoncer que Delphinium vient de tomber de sa chaise, il ne faut jamais commencer l'apéro si tôt.
Fini la comédie!
:-))))))))

hpy said...

Oh Delphinium!

hpy said...

Bon, je vais essayer de récupérer mes esprits.
Mais non, ce n'est pas possible. HIPS! Je vais aller voire où en est Delphinium. Elle a peut-être besoin d'un coup de main pour se relever.

catherine said...

j'avais complètement oublié ce musée du vin : je me rappelle que j'étais enceinte de ma première fille et que j'avais regardé mes amis boire du vin ...
Quant à ton bureau : t'inspire-t-il autant qu'il a inspiré Balzac ? Je te souhaite moins de soucis avec tes créanciers et autant de lecteurs !

Peter said...

rhea:
Thanks for this, what I believe, first visit! I now visited yours! I really like it!


azer:
Maybe no cars is the best for bigger cities, but small cars are deifitely better than big ones!

neva:
Yes, there are quite a few of these around. They have only two seats, but there is plenty of space for two! I have seen your photo, so I know that you could not have any problem. So, they are not for sale in the States? They are called Smart, are manufactured in France, but it's a Daimler/Chrysler (Mercedes) sub-company. (I understand Chrysler is now soled out to an equity firm.)

Peter said...

cuckoo:
Yes, I remember the visit to the Sula vineyard!

lyliane:
Je t'ai répondu par téléphone ce matin! Bon courage et bons vacances en attendant!

cergie:
J'aime bien le vin en général. Pour le moment, j'ai suffisamment de stocks – je ne reçois plus tellement de visiteurs. Ce sont plutôt les stocks de confitures qui ont besoin d’être remplis !

Oui, j’ai tout fait en une journée, mais une longue journée ! Donc, besoin de se restaurer un peu en route ! Pas de ballades de bloggeur ce week-end, des anniversaires de famille !

lyliane said...

Bravo à Delphinium pour son histoire!! on la vit avec elle en la lisant...
Toi, Delphinium et Cergie, vous faites beaucoup de concurrence à Balzac et aux autres. A quand un livre?

Peter said...

delphinium:
Un grand merci pour ce chef d’œuvre !!!! Génial !!!
J’espère que tout va maintenant bien après ses excès matinaux !
Ce texte mérite un traduction en anglais – pour les visiteurs non francophones, mais si j’essaye, je crois que je risque de ne pas être à la hauteur de ton texte !


The comments by delphinium are a master- piece. Just hilarious! Should be translated, but if I tried, I would never reach the level of her text, so please, try your best French!

hpy:
C'est bien de t'en occuper de delphinium!

catherine:
Si je n'arrive pas à la hauteur de Balzac, ça ne peut donc pas être le bureau. Ca doit être autre chose!

Peter said...

lyliane:
Bon remarque!! Je suis d'accord!

Cergie said...

Mince ! Peter ! Je suis refaite ! Faut que je tienne ma promesse... Mais j'ai pas de confiture à la myrtille. J'irai chercher des framboises à la libre cueillette, promis...

Y a aussi la confiture de vin dans la vallée du Rhin, mais personnellement, je ne rafole pas

Chuckeroon said...

Tks for showing somehting of Balzac...an author I much enjoy, although I also enjoy the stories of him evading his creditors - a bit like Daniel Defoe.

Another plus...you dropped in the idea of a bottle of St. Emilion.

So, that's two weekend "good ideas" from you..reread some Balzac, and buy in some more claret.

MONA said...

Peter. I am sorry I haven't been visiting regularly of the late. I Have been tied up on the personal front. My son had a motorbike accident too. I haven't even posted on a regular basis either. I hope you don't mind my infrequent visits.

I knew that some day you would talk of wines too :)

& small cars...are they something like what I saw in the movie Da Vinci Code?

Olivier said...

le musée du vin, j'ai fait plusieurs reunion pour le travail la bas, a la fin du as le droit de faire un test vin, j'ai eut tout faux. Mais un endroit sympathique et a visiter (mais avec moderation)
Bon Weekend

black feline said...

yes Peter...wine indeed..let's drink to happiness...lol

Ash said...

Cheers...have a great weekend!

Peter said...

cergie:
J'attends ton pot avec impatience!

chuckeroon:
Happy if I "saved" your weekend!

mona:
Of course you are excused! So sorry to hear aobut the accident of your son. Please tell me that everything is OK!

About the Smart car and the da Vinci code, I don't remember. I saw that I have the film on a TV channel next week. I may have a new look.

olivier:
Vin oui, mais avec modération! 2 ou 3 verres par jour, récommendation du docteur!

black feline:
Yes, let's drink to hapiness! Thanks - I saw that you left comments on seven or eight of my posts today!

ash:
A great weekend also to you and to everybody!

Marantita said...

Hi! I just came back from my touristic journey (I also sightsee once in a while). I finished in Segovia, with 45 american exchange students... Funny!
I did not know that spot, and it seems nice though. I will have to come back again to Paris...

Smarts only exist in Europe. In America (all America), there is no need of them; cities are much bigger. You can see them in Madrid too. The problem they have is that if they go fast they are unstable (they are only city cars).

Seda said...

Hey Peter! This is great. I would absolutely love to visit Balzac's house and feel the spirit!

Peter said...

marantita:
I know you spent much time in Paris, but when you are busy you cannot visit it all. So, as you say, it would be good idea to come back to see some more!

Nice to see you now commentating on my blog. Welcome back often!

seda:
So happy to see you back, now a second time, after some weeks of absence!
If everybody keeps their promises, there will soon be many bloggers visiting Paris. Nobody is allowed to visit Paris without contacting me!

isabella said...

"You can learn everything about wine...how to drink it"
Would be a waste of money for me - I can write a dissertation on the subject ;-)

ruth said...

I read only "Cousin Pons" by Balzac and loved it so much I don't know why I haven't read more of his. It's very cool to see the place where he lived. Too bad he had those struggles.

Annie said...

You've stirred up quite a lot of comments today with your post.

I'm sad to say that I've never read Balzac. I must put his work on my "to-read list".

The Smart car is coming to America this next year. I'm quite tempted to have something small and economical to drive but I fear the big trucks on the interstate highways.

Peter said...

isabella:
Why not make a dissertation then? :-)
The half bottle I got easily "reimbursed" the entrance fee!

ruth:
I don't know if and how often he had to use the second exit. Hopefully not too often. It's probably also a bit of a "story".

annie:
In my mind also, it's certainly basically a car for city driving. As they are so short, you even sometimes find them parked with the nose towards the pavement / trottoir.

Ex-Shammickite said...

I like the reason for the second exit... a quick escape from his creditors. These days the creditors can get us in other ways... phone, mail, email, there's no escape!
I loved your visit to the wine museum, what a nice way to spend a few hours.
Ant there are quite a few SmartCars here too, easy to park, but perhaps too vulnerable in a traffic accident.

Sonia said...

What a wonderful tour, Peter!
Your post/reportage are completely full of amazing information! I learn so much about Paris with you! Your photos are stunning, too! Thank you for sharing!

Have a good weekend!

Drama Div@ said...

>>to have a small car in Paris, Hummers are to be avoided.

this message actually applicable to all big cities....

Ming_the_Merciless said...

Love the tour of the area. I love the photo of that cherub in one of the collages.

Also, the girls seemed very happy to see you. :-)

Keshi said...

quick exits wud suit me too :)

Keshi.

Keshi said...

btw Peter, I commented on all ur prev posts just now :)...I didnt read em b4 cos whenever I came to ur other blog, it still had the old post, so I never checked this one n wut alot I hv missed :(

Keshi.

April said...

Maybe your writing desk is the REAL one ;-)))

richard said...

Fascinating post, and nicely finished up with two Swiss cars, although parking on a pedestrian crossing would soon leave to instant removal and huge fine. The Smart was a Swiss idea (from Swatch) to design and market a cheap, affordable city car designed for young people - so they went into partnership and finally sold out to Mercedes which resulted in a car which was more.... well, more like a mercedes, so Swatch pulled out

Peter said...

ex-shammickite:
Yes, Smarts are not made for highways or motorways!

sonia:
Thanks! Too late to wish you a nice weekend, so let me wsih you a nice week!

drama div@:
You are SO right! ... or maybe no car if you live in a big city?

ming:
I guess the girls were polite!

keshi:
Happy you found the way back to this blog, not only the photo-blog!

april:
Maybe they are both real?

richard:
Yes, a Swiss idea, taken over by the Germans... and manufactured in France!

richard said...

Back again, after actually reading the post, rather than just looking at the last photo! What I'm thinking is that blogging desk of yours must get some serious use!

Anonymous said...

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