What's your poison? Be it Trivial Pursuit or pétanque, no city bar list is complete without a roundup of places to have a gentle game or two over a drink. Of course, things can get a little whackier than Scrabble – check out our selection to get involved in everything from brain-bending French dictation to Star Wars-themed sushi.
The best Paris bars with board games
This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. Le Charlus is fast becoming the worst-kept secret in Paris: we almost don’t want to tell you about it, as an increasingly unmanageable crowd crams itself into this little café with irresistible charm, its sign barely visible as you traverse the Rue Albert Thomas near to République.
The 'Apparently' feels more like a communal living room than a café. The low lighting, cosy nooks and board games (Trivial Pursuit and Taboo, both in French) make for an excellent place to while away an afternoon. Staff even organise the occasional fortune-telling evening.
This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. If chilling on a deckchair on the banks of a canal or playing pétanque gets you going, head to Bar Ourcq of an evening, where a flip-flop wearing, shorts-sporting clientele is welcomed with open arms.
This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. Few of the bars around the Halles market provoke a desperate desire to stop and have a drink. They tend to be cold, unwelcoming dives squeezed between two kebab shops and full of the forum’s shoppers, practically encouraging the passer-by to hurry on past.
The cult of the geek in Paris received a well-oiled boost with the opening of the ‘Dernier bar avant la fin du monde’ (presumably a reference to Douglas Adams’ ‘Restaurant at the End of the Universe’ from ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’). Medieval and steampunk dominate the décor, with plenty of other bonkers sci-fi touches...
L’Oya is an atypical bar in a quartier already stuffed with them – the 13th arrondissement near the Gobelins Metro. Not so much a bar as a creative café, people love to come here around teatime to play one of the 500 board games that the owners have collected from all over the world. For €5, you can have drink and play the game of your choice for as long as you like, simply adding €3 for each new game.
Far enough (five minutes) from rue Oberkampf to feel off the beaten track, the Gutter is not out-and-out libertine, but you're on the right lines. Certainly, a come-what-may approach to music, drinking and eye contact abounds in the crowded venue. Decor, assuming you can see it, consists of a few LP covers and the kind of colour scheme often put to good use in adventure playgrounds.
Ever get nostalgic for 70s youth hostel decor? Look no further – the trappings of table football, board games and musty old books have all been slavishly recreated at the Pères Populaires. One of the cheapest bars in the city, it’s also a local canteen, complete with sticky table-tops and the tenacious smell of stale beer that bears witness to many a debauched evening.
There’s a definite music theme in La Folie en Tête: instruments from around the world line the walls and the background sound flits between jazz, world music and rock, plus the occasional live performance. Early evening regulars come by for a tipple and a quick board game; but from happy hour onwards (6pm-8pm)...
This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. A café and art space in Ménilmontant, Lou Pascalou has been also been enthusiastically appropriated as a neighbourhood canteen thanks to its endlessly inventive nature. There’s nothing trendy here, but rather a sweetly boho chic hangout and its youthful local clientele.