Rhone wine bar

The Carré du Palais opens gradually

Friday July 28 2017 by Vitisphere

A promise made is a promise kept” stated a delighted Rhone wine marketing board (InterRhône) on the opening of its Carré du Palais in Avignon on June 21 in time for the national music festival. There was also an element of relief in the board’s statement, following lengthy delays in opening. The wine bar’s patio is already extremely popular and welcomes visitors every day from 8 am until midnight on the Place de l’Horloge – the traditional tourist hot spot overlooking the Palais des Papes. The wine centre has been fraught with difficulties and undergone several delays; only part of it has so far been opened to the public. The official opening was scheduled for the summer of 2015 but had to be postponed due to incredibly slow building work that was ultimately caused by fabrication defects and fraud. The centre’s architect, Jean-Marie Renaud, was placed under formal investigation. Legal proceedings are ongoing, as is work to complete InterRhone’s tourist centre.

Unlike the clock on the eponymous square, the centre has lost precious time

Only the wine bar at the Carré du Palais has so far been opened, the aim being to test out the venue during the Avignon festival from July 6 to 26. The festival is the city’s seminal summer event and the marketing board was loath to pass up the opportunity (again). A wine school and pop-up restaurant are still due to open in autumn this year.

Ultimately, the Carré du Palais’ footprint will cover 700 m2, entirely dedicated to promoting and offering tastings of Rhone wine. Currently, 350 wines are stored in the centre’s cellars. By the end of the year, that number will have increased to 800 labels with 50 different wines served by the glass every month.

Symbolically, the Carré du Palais’ website is still…under construction.

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