PARIS — In headier times, some of these wines were served at dinner for French presidents and their guests — kings, queens, other heads of state. In today’s times of austerity, the Elysee Palace is selling these vintage bottles.
French President Francois Hollande’s palace has decided to dive into its wine cellar and sell some of its treasures to raise money.
About 1,200 bottles — a tenth of the Elysee’s collection — are to be sold at Drouot auction house in Paris on Thursday and Friday. Organizers say that prices may reach up to $3,235 for a 1990 Petrus.
‘‘This is exceptional because this is the first time that the Elysee put its bottles on sale,’’ Ghislaine Kapandji, the auctioneer, told The Associated Press.
Wine lovers from Europe, the United States, Russia, and China have contacted the auction house ahead of the sale.
Many of the bottles are ready to be drunk immediately. They were chosen mainly because they were available in too small quantities to be served in the big dinners organized at the Elysee.
The auction is expected to fetch $325,000. The funds will be invested in more modest wines, for entertaining without drawing on public resources at a time of cost-cutting.