Monday, July 03, 2006

a votre sante

Politicians and the good life:

Thousands of bottles of vintage wine amassed by Jacques Chirac during his lavish two-decade reign as mayor of Paris are to be auctioned off from the town hall's vast cellar.

....In all, the current Socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, expects the sale, which includes 191 bottles of 1976 Krug champagne, to raise around £350,000.

Until now, the whereabouts and contents of the wine cellar, situated deep in the bowels of the Hôtel de Ville, had been a well-kept secret.

....During his time as mayor of Paris, from 1977 to 1995, President Chirac and his wife, Bernadette, were known for their penchant for good food and fine wine, on which they are said to have spent £1.5 million of taxpayers' money between 1987 and 1995. ....

Bernard Bled, a long-time political ally of Mr Chirac and his successor, Jean Tiberi, was outraged at the imminent sale of prized bottles. "These wines were bought in order to keep our rank, as capital of France, in global prestige," he said. "I chose them myself. I am devastated that they haven't been drunk."

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