This Europe: €55,000? That' s a bill to whine over

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The Independent Online

Eight young Swedish tourists learnt an expensive lesson in Cannes at the weekend. If you eat in a posh restaurant, always count the number of zeros on the prices on the wine list.

Eight young Swedish tourists learnt an expensive lesson in Cannes at the weekend. If you eat in a posh restaurant, always count the number of zeros on the prices on the wine list.

The visitors drank €55,600 (£35,000) worth of vintage wines and ended up in police cells after refusing to pay the bill.

It appears that the Swedes, aged between 26 and 35, who were celebrating a birthday, did not pay much attention to the cost of the precious wines they ordered. When the restaurant, The Harem, presented them with the bill, one of the revellers handed over a credit card without a word.

It was only when the card refused the payment that the tourists looked more closely at the bill and found that the total, including food, was not €5,800 as they had believed, but €58,000.

They protested. The police were called. The tourists, who had arrived in a chauffeur-driven limousine, insisted they had never ordered such costly bottles. "We are not crazy," one of them said. They told the police all the wines they had drunk were served in pichets (carafes). They had no idea it was such expensive wine. In fact, they doubted it was what the restaurant claimed it to be.

The police believed the restaurant and arrested the visitors, who spent a night and the next day in police cells before being released on bail.

It's probably one hangover that the students wish they hadn't had.

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