Americans have such romanticized ideals about Paris countless gourmet meals, the finest wine, and citizens decked-out in couture fashion so much so that the European country can seem pretty intimidating.
Thanks to Olivier Magny, a born and raised Parisian, Francophiles have a cheat sheet when it comes to emulating the French lifestyle. And on June 21, locals can meet Magny in Rosemary Beach, where he'll be signing copies of his latest book, "Into Wine."
Magny, also known as Mr. Wine Tasting, wasn't always a wine aficionado or tasting the city's best fare, which is what led him to be passionate about wine and the culture that surrounds it.
"Believe it or not, my mom's a really terrible cook," he said. "I never had gourmet food at home, so it was very appealing to me at a young age."
After graduating from Grande ษcole, a business school in France, Magny left the desk job life to pursue his dreams.
"I got to realize that I didn't want that life," he said. "I decided I wanted what my heart was telling me and it was telling me wine."
Magny started working at Hotel de Crillon, a luxury hotel in Paris, and at the age of 23 opened his own wine bar, ิ Chateau. The wine tasting venue and restaurant is the No. 1 wine tasting school in Paris and has taught more than 50,000 people. Magny's approach to teaching? Make it fun.
"It shouldn't be stuffy," he said. "I really don't like wine snobs."
On top of his entrepreneurship, Magny is a blogger-turned-writer. His first book, "Stuff Parisians Like" derives from his blog of the same name.
"Clients came to Paris with a completely idealized picture of Paris," Magny said. "Since I'm from there, I thought I should give them a more concrete, grounded approach."
On top of all of his accomplishments, he's also a record holder for highest wine tasting in the world on a plane. The only thing he hasn't done yet is produce his own wine.
"I'm afraid if I made my own wine it would make people blind," he said.
When it comes to finding a good wine, it starts in the vineyard.
"To grow your own grapes that have something special require hard work, skill, love and luck," Magny said.
As a professional wine taster, Magny has traveled extensively around the world and he's tried some of the best and worst wines the globe has to offer.
"I've done it all," he said. "I've drank some of the crappiest wines in the world. Little by little your palette evolves. You don't know the good stuff until you've tried the bad stuff. It's a journey."
When it comes to his favorite countries to grab a glass of fermented grapes, he's loyal to his roots.
"France has diversity, any style you love you'll find in France," Magny said. "I would say my second favorite country for wine is New Zealand, there's exciting things happening there."
Splitting his time between New Orleans and Paris with his American wife, Magny has ventured to Rosemary Beach in the past and is looking forward to his return.
"It's so beautiful," he said. "I'm looking forward to the sun, beach and sand. Have a glass of wine or champagne and watch the sunset."
In Magny's latest book, "Into Wine" wine amateurs and connoisseurs alike can learn about wine through Magny's wit and personal experience. Included with the book is perks such as: premium access to videos, a discount code giving you 10 percent off on any purchase on ิ Chateau's site and a full presentation of his "History of Wine" class.
"It's about giving people a more refreshing approach to wine, without the blah and stuffiness," he said.
Next time you visit a wine tasting whether it's in Paris or along 30A, Magny hopes his readers and students learn to have an open mind to wine.
"Drink it and relax," he said. "Give each wine a chance."
And if you want to have what he's having, Magny's latest favorite is White Sancerre from France.
"You can drink it for breakfast, lunch and dinner."
The Hidden Lantern and Wild Olives are hosting a joint event during Magny's visit to Rosemary Beach. The wine expert will be signing books at The Hidden Lantern, while Wild Olives will feature French wines and French-themed gourmet tapas plate from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.thehiddenlantern.com or www.wildolivesmarket.com. For more information about Magny, visit oliviermagny.com.