French PM to Sell 1,400 Wine Bottles Amid Belt Tightening

The French prime minister’s official residence, Matignon, is selling 1,400 bottles of its wine, amid efforts to streamline costs.

The wine bottles, which range in estimated price from 15 euros to 5,500 euros ($7,460) for a Romanee Conti 2004, will be put up for sale on Dec. 6 at Hotel Drouot by auction house Cornette de Saint Cyr.

“This exceptional sale will put on offer some vintages that can’t be found on the market today,” Drouot said in a statement on its website.

French President Francois Hollande, elected about 19 months ago, has asked ministers to reduce their operational expenses by 7 percent this year and by 4 percent next year, as part of efforts to cut total spending by about 12 billion euros a year over his five-year term. The French economy, which is in its second year of stagnation, is confronting joblessness that’s near a record high.

Hollande’s own residence, the Elysee Palace, sold off a 10th of its wine cellar in May for 178,800 euros. Paris City Hall raised 961,000 euros, 75 percent more than the catalog estimates, in 2006 as it auctioned off 5,000 bottles that had been accumulated when Chirac was mayor from 1977 to 1995. Dijon, the capital of the Burgundy region, raised 152,000 euros in January as it sold half its wine cellar.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is selling Champagne and wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Alsace.

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