Epicurean Experience Beyond 30,000 feet

Global EAT - Epicurean Experience Beyond 30,000 feet
French Team at the Vancouver Air France launch. (Lenora Hayman)

Air France’s new campaign, France Is In The Air promises passengers chic epicurean experience, and gourmet dining.

Have you dine in the Epicurean Air Restaurant? Air France takes their gastronomy seriously, and has partnered with some of the world’s most decorated Michelin star chefs and sommeliers to spoil their passengers.

Commencing March 29th, Air France will be inaugurating the first of their five weekly non-stop services from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle. A recent YVR survey shows Paris as the number one destination that Metro Vancouver residents seek for non-stop year round service.

“The positive survey result, the fantastic YVR facilities and quality management combined with the travel trade’s enthusiasm for the carrier – prompted Air France KLM to look west more than a year ago,” remarks Jean-Noël Rault, VP and General Manager of Air France KLM, Canada at the Destination France presentation recently.

Air France’s presence in Canada goes back to October 2nd, 1950 with the opening of the Paris-Montreal route. Vancouver and Edmonton are the only two long-haul routes that Air France is opening this year. Edmonton will be served by KLM starting May 5th. The carrier is also working with Calgary-based WestJet to offer new connections in North America.

Air France’s new campaign, France Is In The Air – promises passengers a true taste of France while travelling with the airline. Champagne, caviar and foie gras serve on bespoke tableware with chic French service are all offers for the ultimate dining experience aboard any long haul Air France premium and business class.

With a larger seat pitch than most competitor carriers, Vancouver-bound premium economy and economy cabin passengers travelling in the Air France Boeing 777-200 aircraft can relax in comfort – savour exclusive wines and champagnes (personally selected by Olivier Poussier, the 2000 world champion sommelier) – a choice of the daily hot menu or select from one of the four meals options from their “A la Carte” Menu. Snacks are also available from their self-service buffet of savoury treats, fresh products, mini-sandwiches and Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

Global EAT - Epicurean Experience Beyond 30,000 feet
Armelle Tardy-Joubert of Canada-Atout Francewith Jean-Noël Rault of Air France KLM, Canada (Lenora Hayman)

“More than one million Canadians travel to France in 2013” says Armelle Tardy-Joubert, Director for Canada-Atout France in her opening speech to the Vancouver travel trade. She thanked Canadians for their loyalty in choosing France as their preferred travel destination. The world’s leading tourist destination has long attracted visitors with its lifestyles, fashions, luxury brands and Michelin-rated restaurants.

France is rolling out the red carpet to welcome Canadians with their theme: Be Our Guest – a way for the French people to express their appreciation to Canadians for their support during World War II (WWII). Tardy-Joubert adds, “Welcoming Canadians in France is also welcoming friends, and to share only the best with them.”

In 2010, French gastronomy was added to UNESCO’s Intangible World Heritage List. On March 19, this food-obsessed nation celebrated Goût de France/Good France – honouring the French gastronomy, and keeping true to its values of sharing, enjoyment, and appreciation for good food and the environment. Spearheaded by famed French chef, Alain Ducasse and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (FMFAID), the event brought together more than 1,000 chefs from five continents around the world.

The idea originated from iconic French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier who launched Dîners d’Épicure (Epicurean Dinners) in 1912, a one day event in which, one menu is served to as many guests as possible, in cities globally. According to the FMFAID, gastronomy is a leading aspect of France and its culture. It is a genuine pull factor for 60% of tourists visiting the country.”

Another not-to-be-missed gastronomy festival is the 5th Fete de la Gastronomie happening throughout France from September 25th to 27.

Milestone celebrations are also taking place in various French regions this year including the 70th anniversary of the WWII Liberation – millennial anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone in Strasbourg’s Cathedral in Alsace – 300th death anniversary of the famed Monk, Dom Perignon who concocted Champagne – and 500th anniversary of King Francis I’s accession to the throne in the Loire Valley.

Air France is offering a flight special for CAD$978 from Vancouver to Paris and return.  Offer ends March 31st.

WATCH: Chef Michel Roth previews his gourmet creations on board an Air France flight


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