Lucien Legrand Filles et Fils

One of the first stops on my trip to Paris was the charmingly dilapidated Galerie Vivienne, on the rue Vivienne in the second arrondisement.

The reason Vivienne is such a treasure is that it is one of only a handful of 19th-century covered shopping galleries that survived Haussman's grand boulevard spree, and so maintains an aura of neglected splendor even as its few upscale shops chug along at a respectable pace of business

By far the best reason to visit the Vivienne, however, is to peruse the shelves of one of Paris's best known wine shops, Lucien Legrand Filles et Fils. It is located on the rue de la Banque end of the galerie, where the original shop took over the Bauge Epicerie in 1880.

The other interesting historical fact is that Legrand is "Filles et Fils," meaning "daughters and sons" because Lucien did not have sons, so it was left to his daughters to run the business...and run it they did, with spectacular mercantile aplomb and success.

Though the shop has since changed hands, it remains true to offering high quality wines from all over France, and has maintained excellent relationships with some of the best and best known (not that the two are necessarily the same) winemakers in the country, some of whom come in for the regular tastings that the newly expanded store and wine bar now hosts.

I happened to walk into the store on our first day here in Paris, and talked to the communications director, a lovely young woman named Camille Cohen, about Legrand's history, the program of diverse wine-tasting events the firm now hosts, and just what makes it one of the most magical wine stores in the world.