Paris: A Chinese man bought carry-on wine and spirits worth a record 23,000 euros (Rs10 lakh) at Paris airport’s duty-free shop -- including a bottle of 1806 cognac that might have slipped through the fingers of Emperor Napoleon.
Tuesday’s 15-minute duty-free shopping spree included a 5,000-euro bottle of cognac dating back to 1806, when Napoleon ruled France, airport officials said on 21 March.
The tourist also splashed out on a bottle of epic 1945 Chateau Mouton Rothschild red wine with a price tag of 13,800 euros before boarding a scheduled flight to Beijing. Other items in his hand-luggage included a bottle of 1900 Armagnac.
“Most people buy regular wines from Burgundy and so on, but we know this gentleman quite well. He is a collector and an illustrator,” saleswoman Lynda Chong told Reuters.
“He didn’t seem terribly surprised at the price. In a quarter of an hour he made his purchases and left,” she said.
The shopper’s name was not disclosed.
With travel rebounding from a recession, the operator of Charles de Gaulle airport, ADP, has started stocking up with luxury items and hired 20 personal shoppers to cater to wealthy tourists from China, Japan and Russia.
“Recently we got a collection of rare wines, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a sale like this,” said Chong, who has been serving hurried travellers at duty-free firm Aelia for 20 years.
The wine takeaway brought less cheer to the French taxman. By holding off his purchases until the departure gate, the Chinese collector saved sales tax worth 4,275 euros, Chong said.