Everything Gourmet

It’s Champagne Time with a Sabre

Sabering of champagne in wait in Les Lounges du Shangri-La Paris bar. ©Bernhard Winkelmann, courtesy Shangri-La. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Paris, France — This is champagne time fit for a king, or at least to celebrate the Coronation of a king. In a ceremony that goes back to at least to Napoleon’s time, champagne sabering is a unique ritual in which the champagne in not uncorked but expertly has its bottle neck snapped off with a saber.  You can take part in this ritual at the elegant Shangri-La Hotel in Paris near the splendid Trocadero esplanade. Here you can watch a champagne sabering every day at 7pm in luxury surroundings of old wood work and small sofas and armchairs in the hotel’s smashing champagne bar, Les Lounges du Shangri-La Paris, listed as a historic monument. Here you can enjoy a rotating selection of six champagnes by the glass which vary according to the seasons but you might find some of the finest houses on hand like Veuve Clicquot, Bollinger, Laurent Perrier, Dom Pérignon, Duval-Leroy or Krug. The champagne bar is open from 2pm until 10pm and in the afternoon sweet and savory offerings are on hand and a light cocktail menu (including caviar) in the evening. 

The hotel pays tribute to its first inhabitant Roland Bonaparte, the great nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, for the story goes that after one of his battles Napoleon decided he needed some champagne and he struck a bottle of champagne with his sword and off came its head. Some say it was his calvary officers who initiated the practice which if so it is a tradition carried on today by the French « calvary » for several years ago a journalist at The Gourmet Gazette was invited to a sabering of champagne in the officer’s barracks of the Republican Guard, divisons of which are mounted (on horses or motorcycles), to celebrate one of their spectacular horse displays. It was artfully done with no liquid loss. But this is clearly something you don’t want to try at home for your next dinner party. Unless you clearly have a case or two to smash up  ©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette. 10, avenue d’Iéna, 75116 Paris, France, +33 (0)1 53 67 19 93. https://www.shangri-la.com/en/paris/shangrila/

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