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The best wine bars in Paris

Time Out's guide to the best bars in Paris with outstanding wine lists

Le Troquet des Glaces

Critics' choice

The 11th arrondissement is studded with the sort of bars that attract mobs of hipsters and repel everyone else; so it's refreshing to find, nestled among them, a snug little joint that has no pretensions to high fashion. Le Troquet des Glaces hasn't been here long – it opened in early 2013 – yet it has all the charm of an established neighbourhood bar.True to its name, the bistro welcomes you with a convivial bar area surrounded by mirrors. If you find that your own reflection makes for a disconcerting drinking buddy, you can repair to a 12-seat outdoor terrace (heated in winter). Incredibly, we've never had trouble finding a seat in either area – though that may change as word of mouth spreads. Fine wines and gourmet sandwiches are the order of the day, though it's worth shelling out for one of the divine cheese and meat platters. But what elevates Le Troquet above its neighbours is Yassin, the impossibly charming owner, who's treated us like long-standing regulars since our first visit. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy: now there's nowhere in the area we'd rather go.

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Canal Saint Martin

Les Caves de Prague

Critics' choice

Travel guides routinely point tourists to Le Baron Rouge, declaiming it to be the best wine bar around the Marché d'Aligre. If only they'd thought to look around the corner. For our money, Les Caves de Prague does the same job, but better: equally fine wines, fewer crowds and no corkage fee (buy one of their bottles, and you can drink it onsite for free).Despite the venue's name, the selection tends toward French produce – we took the sommelier's advice and went for an excellent bottle of Les Débonnaires from Chinon. Food is the usual wine-inspired affair: patrons chow down on pâtés, meat platters and rye bread on the pretty outdoor terrace, or around a large wooden table in winter. The overall effect is more 'neighbourhood bar' than 'hipster hangout', and all the better for it.

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Bastille

Le Baron Rouge

Le Baron Rouge is a lifeline for food lovers who turn up at the Aligre market just as the stallholders are putting away their wares, and who feel like they might be about to die of hunger. Don’t worry – you can come here to eat, and to slake your thirst for good wine with quality local vintages in a blue-collar bar that has no time for pretentious oenophiles. On Sundays, they also offer oysters with a good Sancerre, or a plate of charcuterie with a good robust red.In this tiny den devoted to the glory of wine, the walls are carpeted with bottles and barrels are stacked from floor to ceiling. If you arrive a little late for after-work drinks, there’s no hope of getting even half an elbow on the bar – you’ll be out on the pavement along with pretty much everybody else. Those locals in the know bring their empty bottles here to fill them direct – and more cheaply – from the barrels. There’s also a good selection of bottles available to take away.

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Eastern Paris

Le Lèche Vin

This is a typical Parisian bistro that has quickly become a place of pilgrimage. It’s not because the walls are covered with icons, but because a sweet and convivial atmosphere reigns – that of a familial bistro de papa. You won’t find choirs singing here, but groove, jazz and hip-hop sounds, the soundtrack to evenings that don’t always finish in an entirely Catholic manner. The wine list offers a selection of vintages from respected independent local wine growers, including little-known, organically grown grape varieties.

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Bastille

Chez Georges

Don’t expect to get out of here without splashes of wine on your shirt. Hidden in the heart of the snooty neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, evenings in this vaulted stone wine cellar mix hip students with the hoi polloi in a glorious jumble. Everyone dances up close, getting up on the tables when there’s no room on the floor, and they drink, they clink glasses, and they sing at the top of their voices.Chez Georges has been an institution since 1952. Few wine cellars like this are left today – Georges keeps the charm of old with nicotine-stained photos of forgotten celebrities and a promotional Raphaël Quinquina clock, as outmoded as the spirit it advertises, which was in fashion some time in the last century. In the torpor of the afternoon, its ‘tick-tock’ punctuates the silence of the regulars’ chess games. When evening comes, don’t be discouraged by the crowds – sometimes you just have to wait a little to get down into the cellar.

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St Germain des Prés

Le Garde Robe

This wine bar, near to the former Samaritaine department store building, will please even the most demanding epicureans. No Saint-Emilion or Château Latour here. Instead, with advice of the friendly owner, a self-taught wine buff (and depending on your budget) you’ll encounter unusual natural, organic or ‘biodynamic’ bottles from local growers. Biodynamic vineyards favour natural methods, managing the exchanges between the soil and the vine to better express their specific terroir, or spirit of the earth, in the grape. Does it really change anything? The purity, the complexity of the aromas, the minerals? You’ll have to taste them yourself to judge. To go with the booze, choose between superior boards of cheeses and Parma ham, or oysters if you’re drinking white. With its brick walls and its ancient floorboards, Le Garde Robe is a warm and intimate address, if a little pricey (and there’s an obligatory corkage fee of €6 a bottle if you want to BYO) – but the bottles are worth their weight in gold.

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Les Halles

La Fusée

Good bars are hard to find in this corner of Beaubourg, but Le Fusée attracts plenty of young people with its warm atmosphere, charming little terrace and reasonable prices for the area. Its hangings of coloured garlands go well with the ambiance, which includes live concerts of gypsy jazz, swing and chanson Française on Sundays. Inside, this ancient literary café has kept a quirky décor of kitsch old posters. You feel like you’re in a market café with the constant flow of people between the tables, the waitresses shouting orders while performing acrobatics to deliver the drinks. Bundles of sausages hang above the bar, cut into generous slices to order and best matched with a pitcher or a bottle of red chosen from the enormous list. Against the background of cult music (Beatles Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash), you’ll naturally fall into conversation with your neighbours at the next table.

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3rd arrondissement

Au Bon Coin

This characterful wine bar and restaurant near to the Jules Joffrin Metro station is as friendly as its clientele. The wine list offers a plethora of well-chosen local vintages at all price levels, and for all tastes: light, robust, round, fruity, dry, sweet… and you only have to ask for advice if you’re unsure. There’s no dinner served on weekends, but the rest of the time, this neighbourhood canteen offers affordable specialities from the South-West of France cooked with local ingredients.The owners come from the Aveyron region, arriving in the capital in the 1930s, and they’ve kept good contacts and a supply of local meat. The dishes are enormous – vast starters and gargantuan mains – but you’ll want to lick your plate clean. If you’re not that hungry, there are great salads and the charcuterie and cheese boards, accompanied by a good full-bodied red wine, are worth a look. In summer, a few tables are put on the terrace so you can look out over the passers-by.

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18th arrondissement

Le Baromètre

This unpretentious little bistro in the heart of the Marais is a good place for bacchanalian carousing. The chalkboard menu lists the sort of dishes a country French grandmother might have cooked, made with top quality products and accompanied by sophisticated local vintages. A glass of Montagne Saint-Emilion or Morgon Vieilles Vignes goes well with a gratin of andouillette (a strong-smelling intestine sausage), the house special of a hot streaky bacon tart, or deliciously tender faux-filet of beef from Salers. The fish is super fresh, with a choice of vegetables that varies with the daily deliveries. When they’re on the menu, we recommend the moist and savoury scallops, matched with a Pouilly Fumé. If you’re on a budget, a very respectable daily set menu is on offer at €13. If your lunch gets a bit debauched, make sure you still hold out for a digestif, a Grand Champagne cognac or a well oaked calvados from the Pays d’Auge area of Normandy. A great place that doesn’t mess with tradition.

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The Marais

Au Rendez-vous des Amis

This is one of the rare authentic dive bars in Montmartre, despite being slap bang next to that stickiest of tourist honey-traps, the Place du Tertre. Sitting on a terrace on a little cobbled street, around little wrought iron tables with coloured mosaic tops, it’s a bit like being in a rural village. The wine list is all AOC vintages (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, or the guarantee of origin for wines in France) at good prices (€2.70 a glass), which you can order with a cheese or charcuterie board. You can also put the world to rights while leaning on the bar with the locals in a noisy blue-collar atmosphere. In winter, the room at the back of this quirky bar offers pleasing canapés, but the place is full to bursting during happy hour (8pm-10pm), so go early.

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Montmartre
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Comments

1 comments
Diane
Diane

What about La Bodeguita rue Quincampoix?