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I stayed in Hotel Basss (yes, three ‘esses’) a hip hotel halfway up the heights of Montmartre, the very streets where la Fée Verte wove her enchantment, now peopled by tourists, chancers, beggars, and rich dwellers from the very ateliers where Degas and the like had eked out a living. But no absinthe. I had go halfway across the city to the Bastille to find some in a bar called…guess what? La Fée Verte. Martin, the young barman, helped me select La Coquette (70%) from a long list. He told me “I only drink shots sometimes, just to get drunk. There’s not much demand. Although a Brazilian guy once drank 18. I had to put him in a cab”. I managed 3 and navigated the Metro back somewhat hazily. It seems entirely right and proper that Marie-Claude’s museum is in the charming town of Auvers-sur-Oise where Van Gogh spent his last tormented years and is buried next to his brother Theo. It’s packed with rooms of memorabilia documenting the history, production, consequences, the creative flowering, the ban, and final legality. She has spent years combing antiques fairs, shops and markets for absinthe material. She grows all the constituent plants in the sunny walled garden. Naturally, there was one last thing to do. Marie-Claude assembled all the accoutrements for a ritual tasting of La Fée Parissienne, the drink George and she brought back to life, and legality. Michael Cranmer travelled courtesy of SNCF: uk.voyages-sncf.com Pontarlier Tourist Office: www.pontarlier.org Hotel Basss, Paris: en.hotel-basss.com Musée de l'Absinthe: www.museeabsinthe.com
Bonjour! Welcome to the winter issu
contents Features 8 A tale of two c
P 88 88 give aways Win a row of gor
The Medieval City of Carcassonne Th
The inside track The Medieval city