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Fall in Love with a French Wine Bar While in Paris



Each arrondissement, each neighborhood, even, in Paris has its own wine bar. Some of these have become slick spaces where wine is served in doses, by machines. And others, where the red-faced barman behind the counter seems to know nothing but how to make a generous pour.

 

Popular, too, are the natural wine bars. These wine bars specialize in “vin naturel” which is something akin to organic wine but different. Natural wines are made by following a very strict cultivation and vinification process so that only purity is unleashed once the bottle's cork is disgorged. There are many who are fans of these wines and France has some wonderful “vin naturel” producers.

 

For those of us who enjoy simply hanging out in a comfortable space and talking with friends over a glass of wine, Paris offers many wonderful wine bars for this. Iconic ones, such as Willi's and the Baron Rouge, rub soldiers with new cult faves such as Frenchie's and Septime and Verjus. Spending an evening discovering, even falling in love with a new French wine, is something you just gotta do while visiting Paris.  

 

And if there are certain regions you prefer over others in France, in terms of their wines, you will be able to hone in on some of the wine bars specialized in Bordeaux (L'Ecluse), or Burgundy (Les Climats) or Alsace or the Loire (Sancerre). And there is one in the Marais (L'Enoteca)that is especially well-known for their Italian wines, too.  


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10
6éme Arrondissement

You can't find a more convenient, nor friendly, place to prop yourself up against the bar and order a glass of modest but good French wine to go with any one of your delicious small plate snacks, than here. It's located at Carrefour de l'Od� which puts you right in the heart of St. Germain. There are no chairs here so it's always standing-room only. Indeed, most early, and late, evenings it's difficult even to jackknife your way in to squeeze a spot along the wall or along the counter. The draws here are the friendly conversation with anyone you happen to stand next to at the bar, the delicious Chef Camdeborde-inspired small plates that include a smattering of specials of the day along with the regular offerings, and, of course, the wines. The wines are by the glass and usually come from the southwest region of France.

Read more about L'Avant Comptoir →


9
1er Arrondissement


This is the wine bar, along with a handful of others, that you see listed in every guidebook, upscale or downscale. It's just that good. And its convenient location near Les Halles makes it an easy stop-in at the end of the day or when meeting up with friends. Its food offerings to go with its vast selection of wines by the glass, carafe and bottle, tend to be rather modest. Traditionally French wine bars offer plates of cheeses and coldcuts and baskets of fresh cut baguette to go along with glasses of wine. That remains such a good and authentic pairing that you no doubt will be satisfied with it.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Like a favorite old book with tattered pages, this Paris wine bar is a classic.

Paige's expert tip: Come with friends and be sure to ask the guy behind the bar to give you some tips on natural wines, a favorite here. It's a cosy place that lives up to its namesake of "the closet."

Read more about La Garde Robe →


8
12éme Arrondissement

A trip to the March� d'Alligre in the twelfth arrondissement of Paris necessitates a stop-in at this Last of the Mohicans Paris wine bar. It's situated just off the market and you'll find the vegetable and fruit sellers in here enjoying their mid-morning glass of ros� break. Some of the wines here are even kept in their original barrels and only decanted when the man behind the bar says they're ready to be poured. Of course, the translation of Baron Rouge is Red Baron. The food pairings offered here are not fancy and if you are looking for much more than a boiled egg served with mayonnaise (oeuf � la mayonnaise) or a bowl of salted peanuts, you'll likely get discouraged. But that hardly matters since you'll already be at one of Paris' best fresh, outdoor markets where just about anything you could wish for, that's in season, is available.

Read more about Le Baron Rouge →


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7
4éme Arrondissement
La Belle Hortense
Photo courtesy of La Belle Hortense


This is one of those fabulous places that when you wander into it you realize it could only exist in Paris. It's a book shop and used book lending library where people come to read – over a glass of wine! It doesn't even open until 5pm and the local crowd of regulars it consistently attracts is comforting. That means you also get to experience a slice of Parisian life along with your nice book and glass of wine. The wines themselves offered are not necessarily fancy but they are good French wines and you'll find the Loire, Languedoc and Alsace wines on offer as well as the occasional Bordeaux and Beaujolais.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: A book shop that serves as a wine bar? Only in Paris and a welcome one on that.

Paige's expert tip: This local's hangout stays open until 2am every night of the week. It makes for a great place to stop in early in the evening or after that midnight stroll along the Seine.

Read more about La Belle Hortense →


6
1er Arrondissement


Verjus, run by an American couple, offers French-style food with menus that change every month, according to what's in season. Bookings are required weeks in advance - for the restaurant. If you can't wait that long, there's this excellent wine bar downstairs. Verjus, or verjuice, literally means green juice in the sense that it is the juice of tart, unripe wine grapes. It is used frequently to make sauces, poach fish and meat and as a main ingredient for salad dressings. It is often found used in the culinary dishes originating from wine making regions. Hence even the name of this popular wine bar and restaurant takes its roots from the wine world.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: This is one of the most welcoming wine bars in Paris - maybe because it's expat owned?

Paige's expert tip: This wine bar and restaurant has two addresses because it depends on whether you enter by the back door, facing the northwest corner of the Palais-Royal or enter from rue Richelieu. Regardless of how you get here, you have found the right place.

Read more about Verjus →


5
15éme Arrondissement
Ciel de Paris Bar a Champagne
Photo courtesy of Ciel de Paris Bar à Champagne copyright ceildeparis 2013


Most people know the top of the Tour Montparnasse for its restaurant. But with its 2012 refurbishment and re-opening, a nice little champagne bar came along with. The interior of gold and taupe set against the Parisian night sky, sets off the ceiling that evokes CO2 bubbles, such that you find in champagne and sparkling wines. A perfect setting to grab an aperitif or night cap, if elegance is one of your life's motifs. It's not difficult finding this place, either. Just look for the tallest building in Paris. Accessing the building is best done from street-level rather than the subterranean route. Getting whisked up 56 storeys is half the fun, too, of getting there. Jackets and cocktail attire are required.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: At the very top of the Montparnasse Tower, the views here over Paris are spectacular and the wine list matches.

Paige's expert tip: Navigate the entrance to the building from street-level as opposed to trying to access it from the Metro, which will have you walking endlessly in circles. The elevators that whisk you up to the 56th floor are clearly marked.

Read more about Ciel de Paris Bar a Champagne →


La Cave Brut
Photo courtesy of La Cave Brut


When it opened last year Brut Cave made a bit of a splash and not only because its owner, along with his two partners, is Akrame Benallal, the young French chef who received his second Michelin star last year. The concept here is that the cheeses on offer to pair with the wines are both highly curated. Hence you will not just be served any cheese here along with your glasses or bottle(s) of wine, but rather the cheese sommelier is there to advise you on what to choose that pairs best with your wine. Another twist is that when you discover, through your wine and cheese tastings, that one of the wines particular rocks your world, you can purchase a bottle of it to take home with you. The downstairs part of this wine and cheese bar is a cellar and the selective bottles kept here are for sale.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: This is just far enough away from the Arc de Triomphe to feel like you've found the neighborhood gem without having to walk too far.

Paige's expert tip: The cheese pairings here are as curated as your wine selections. The resident cheese sommelier studied with none other than French cheese guru, Rodolphe Le Meunier before joining her husband in this venture here. And bottles of the wines offered by the glass are also for sale to take with you.

Read more about La Cave Brut →


3
11th Arondissement - Bastille Ca


One of the first places to offer small plates (please don't call them tapas) to his diners who didn't make it into his main restaurant, the cult Le Chateaubriand, just next door, Le Dauphin has become its own cult destination. That's mostly to do with Chef Inaki Aizpitarte who has for several years now been the golden bad-boy chef of Paris. And one who delights in breaking all the rules - very successfully, I might add. Though first added as an after-thought, this small-plates restaurant, often standing-room only, caught on so well with Parisian diners that many have made this the main choice for the whole meal, nevermind the appetite teasers. Located in the too-cool-for-school 11th arrondissement, means you'll be well placed to hit the Bastille, République and Oberkampf bars and night spots once you're appetite has been sated.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: Standing at the bar with friends washing down Inaki Aizpitarte's culinary creations with a glass of wine is a spectacular evening in and of itself.

Paige's expert tip: This is one of the most fun places in Paris to grab a few glasses of wine that you wash down your small-plate nibbles with. The bad boy superstar chef-owner, Aizpitarte, even makes an occasional appearance behind the bar.

Read more about Le Dauphin →


2
2éme Arrondissement


Harmony and happiness flows here. That is the motto of the young owner and wine lover, Martin Pélissier who opened this wine and tapas bar in an old 16th c. mansion in one of Paris' oldest quarters, known for centuries as the "Belly"of Paris. Located on a charming little street leading off from the boisterous and exuberantly lively rue Montorgeuil, here you will leave the nearby happy hour clamor behind as you sip your fine glass of wine from France, Argentina, Chile and many other regions of the world. The man who opened this wine bar did so after spending years abroad and his mission is to present wines by the glass or bottle from around the world in an unpretentious way. His chef pairs the small plates in a just-right way with your wine choices.

Recommended for Wine Bars because: An unpretentious wine bar in Paris, one that offers wines of the world and of France, is a find worth sharing with your friends.

Paige's expert tip: One of the enticing things about coming to this wine bar is the area it's in – rue Montorgeuil, known today as the foodie's street. This wine bar is on a quiet(er) sidestreet just steps off the boisterous pedestrian street.

Read more about L'Art Source →


1
8th Arrondissement - Monceau Mad
Les 110 de Taillevent
Photo courtesy of Les 110 Taillevent

Those who know and love Taillevent will relish this forward-thinking restaurant concept. The 110 in the name of the wine restaurant refers to how many wines they have on offer by the glass at any given time. The meals, lunch and dinner, are created with specific pairings in mind. So each appetizer, main and dessert comes with a suggested range of wines paired with it. The range covers the spectrum from reasonable, mid-range and high-end in terms of price. You also have the choice to enjoy your wines in three different portion sizes: tasting, half-glass and full glass. The kitchen is overseen by the same chef as Taillevent so you can be sure that the food here is (much) better than average. And the interior décor, with its integration of wine bottles, appeals to the wine lover in all of us.

Read more about Les 110 de Taillevent →


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Meet Paige Donner

Paige's latest book, The Romantic Couple's Guide To The City of Love, Sexy Paris follows her earlier guidebook Paris On 4 Paws, A Dog Lover's Guide To The City of Light and her acclaimed...  More About Paige

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