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An Exclusive Look at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellar

Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellar

Behind this locked door is a treasure trove of one the world’s greatest wine collections. Ready to take a peek with us?

It was French entrepreneur and founder of “Société des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Etrangers à Monaco” (S.B.M.) François Blanc that built the legendary Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo in 1864. The hotel literally provided the best of everything that the world had to offer, though its wine cellar was a simple room housing only a few barrels of wine. It was François Blanc’s wife, Marie Blanc, that invested her personal fortune into building a cellar worthy of the exceptional establishment her husband had created. Nearly 100 workers spent some 18 months digging the cellar 33 feet down out of the rock beneath the Hôtel de Paris and Hôtel Hermitage and realizing Marie Blanc’s dreams of modeling her cellar after the great cellars of Bordeaux. Today the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo wine cellar, which isn’t open to the public, is a treasure trove of more than 500,000 bottles and is the largest hotel wine cellar in the world.

Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellar

The Wine-Tasting Committee gathers here each week to plan guests perfect wine experiences

The Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo wine cellar is so exclusive that is it managed by a head cellarman with the support of a team of just 10. Its doors are only opened to royalty, some wine producers, and a handful of discerning guests who have booked a private tasting or event. Aside from this team that does an impressive job of inventorying weekly, a Wine-Tasting Committee of buyers, cellarmen, and head wine-waiters meets in the cellar once a week to taste about a dozen wines and keep track of the maturing of wines in the cellar.

Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine CellarThe cellar in the rock provides the perfect conditions for conserving wine. The aired, dark cellar is keep at a temperature which varies very little between 11° and 13° Celsius and a consistent humidity of 75%. Serving as the supply source for all the SBM establishments (five 5-star luxury hotels and 26 restaurants, bars, and a discotheque), the wine never sees the light of day until it destined to be drunk by one of SBM’s guests.

As we toured the central cellar and small “museums” of the rarest vintages, we listened to the stories of one of the most legendary wine cellars in the world. We imagined a wall of empty bottles piled up by a cellarman. The dusty pile concealed a room with prestigious bottles like Château Bel Air Marquis D’Aligre 1850 and Château Gruad Larose 1865 from looters during WWII. The room was restored in the 1990s and is now the Marie Blanc Museum, where the rarest vintages are stored.

Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellar

This little cellar houses the most expensive and rarest vintages found on the SBM wine menus

Down another passage, we marveled at the “Cellier”, which houses the oldest vintages featured on the wine menus at SBM restaurants. Here you’ll find the most expensive bottle SBM sells to guests, a Château Petrus with a price tag of €12,000.

Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellar

Memorabilia from the 20th wedding anniversary celebration of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace

Another glass case holds dusty bottles that were drunk at the 20th wedding anniversary celebration of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace, held in cellar’s private dining room of course. Yet another locked cellar is home to vintages that are literally priceless. They are preserved for the memories, as some are so old that they wouldn’t be drinkable today.

Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellar

Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo Cognac

You won’t just find wine in the cellar. Here the special cognac of the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo sits in its cask. One is 100 years old, the other cask 120 years old. The cognacs are still bottled here in the cellar. The oldest vintage cognac in the cellar is from the 18th century

As for the wines, 90% are French wines and are organized by wine region and then further organized by year. Less than 20% of the stock in the cellar is younger than 20 years old. If you were line up the racks, they would stretch for an incredible 1.5 kilometers.

Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2003

Shall we consider a Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2003 with our lunch?

To say that touring the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo wine cellar is a jaw-dropping experience is an understatement. What an incredible collection that we feel privileged to have been invited to tour.

Disclosure: Our trip to Monte Carlo was hosted by Monte Carlo SBM in order to bring you this story. As always, all opinions are entirely our own.

Jennifer Dombrowski

Jennifer Dombrowski is a location independent globe trotter who is based in Prata di Pordenone, Italy. She works as a social media and communications strategist and is an award-winning travel writer. She is also a travel correspondent on Traveling on the American Forces Radio Network. Jdomb's Travels was named one of the top travel blogs to watch by the Huffington Post and has been featured by top publications such as CNN, Buzzfeed , and The Telegraph. Her iPhoneograpy has also been featured on publications such as USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Google+

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  1. Larry

    This wine treasure is absolutely beyond words! Unbelievable!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    It is pretty incredible! You’d enjoy checking it out.

    [Reply]

  2. Frank

    Wow, that’s quite a collection. Would love sneaking in there and have the place to myself for about 24 hours…
    Frank (bbqboy)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Haha, us too Frank! If only it weren’t for that state of the art surveillance system… But this cellar was truly impressive and we did have various wines from it with our meals. More on that soon!

    [Reply]

  3. Freya

    That’s definitely a very impressive wine cellar, I love visits to wine cellars ;-)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Can you imagine privately funding such a collection when this cellar was started? It truly is incredible!

    [Reply]

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