Underneath the flower gardens of the one of the world’s most legendary hotels lies a paradise that remains decidedly hidden from the sun: the Hôtel de Paris wine cellars.
1874: Inauguration of the Hôtel de Paris wine cellars
Over a hundred specialised workers (road workers, bricklayers, stonemasons, carpenters etc.) laboured for more than eighteen months to build the biggest hotel wine cellars in the world. The quality of the Hôtel de Paris’s location, comfort, furnishings and restaurant made it the ideal place to house the exceptional wine cellars.
Inaugurated in 1874 by Marie Blanc, wife and founder of the Société des Bains de Mer, the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo wine cellars were originally a place where vintage wines were bottled having arrived in barrels from Bordeaux, thus guaranteeing what was not yet known as wine traceability.
Second World War: 20,000 bottles hidden
During the Second World War, part of the cellar was sealed off by a wall consisting of seven layers of bottles, behind which 20,000 bottles – including the most precious - were hidden and therefore eluded seizure. The treasure of the wine cellars was protected, as was the hotel’s silverware and even the fortune of some of the hotel’s guests.
1945: Reopening of the wine cellars by Sir Winston Churchill
Once peace was restored at the end of 1945, the reopening of the wine cellars was entrusted to a prestigious client, Sir Winston Churchill, and an old 1811 rum was cracked open for the occasion, a few bottles of which still take pride of place in the wine cellars.
1960: The wine cellars are used to store bottles
During the 1960s, wine traceability took on a whole new form with the introduction of estate bottling meaning the cellars at the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo were gradually transformed into what they are today: a place for storing bottles instead of barrels.
Today the wine cellars are not only part of the company’s heritage, they are also a place for sharing knowledge about wine, as evidenced by the weekly tasting sessions where sommeliers, maîtres d’hôtel, head waiters or managers congregate to expand their oenological knowledge.
1990 – 1994: Extension of the wine cellars
Renovations and restructuring led to the creation of the Marie Blanc Museum, where rare vintages served in Monte-Carlo SBM establishments are stored, and a 400m² extension to add a vault for wine ageing and tasting.