It would be no exaggeration to say that Paris has wine running through its veins. Trendy speakeasies may be popping up everywhere but for a real taste of Parisian bacchanalia, a wine bar is the way forward. From independent caves to chichi bistros, we've rounded up the best wine bars for your quaffing pleasure. Think we've missed a great Paris wine bar off our list? Let us know in the comments box below.
This seductive wine bar/deli was set up by two friends from a village called Oletta in the Haute-Corse region of Corsica, an island with its own distinctive cuisine. The atmosphere inside is all subdued lighting and shelves laden with bottles around a huge bar, hanging lamps and a cave downstairs. The wine list gives top billing to natural vintages from Corsica, like a light and fruity white Domaine Granajolo (Porto Vecchio) 2014, which matched perfectly with bar snacks. Many of the brands are rarely found elsewhere, such as the Felix Torr charcuterie, made from Corsican pork raised by micro-producers.
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 from €2.70 a glass, with a cheese or charcuterie board. In winter, the room at the back of this quirky bar offers canapés, but the place is full to bursting during happy hour (8pm-10pm), so go early.
An institution among bon-vivants since 1952, don’t expect to get out of Chez Georges 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, drinking, clinking glasses, and singing at the top of their voices. When evening comes, don’t be discouraged by the crowds – you’re bound to make a new friend as your wait on the stairwell.
This sparky little natural wine bar near Odéon stands out in the upscale neighbourhood for being neither a tourist trap nor impossibly expensive. With its classy black frontage, small space done out in wood and exposed stone and funk soundtrack, it’s a classy proposition. All the wine served here is grown from organic grapes, then processed by hand and fermented without the aid of chemicals to give a broad palette of flavours. There are 350 examples on offer, though no menu – so you have to put your trust in discussion with your server, making an evening here an exploratory, educational tasting.
In a room decorated au naturel, several tables face a massive counter, alongside stainless steel tanks filled with delicious drinks. Arbois le Guinguet, Côtes-du-Rhône from Gramenon and wines from the Rochebin area make up a consistently good-quality list. Fill your bottle from one of these fountains of joy. They won’t break the bank either; glasses are between €3 and €4, or €10.50-14 for a half litre. This welcoming family-run joint is a also haven for foodies, with high-quality, reasonably priced products taking centre stage. Bring a group of friends and a good will be had by all.
With its midnight blue façade, smiling service, elegant windows, hams and sausages suspended from the ceiling and well-ordered shelves of bottles, wine bar and deli La Cave de Belleville is a seriously classy outfit – despite its location between a kebab shop and a grocery store in the middle of the 19th arrondissement. Expect plenty of cheese plus saucisson, home made pâté and salted ham to go with a fresh baguette and figgy bread. And because it’s a wine store, a chat with the staff lets you match various glasses of red and white with your choice.
A wine cave is fast becoming the mark of a great restaurant in Paris and the famous bistro Paul Bert has taken note with a small space simply decorated with a wooden bar and bottles on the walls. There’s just enough seating for ten guests so it’s wise to come early if you want to linger. On the menu are old favourites like a country terrine and delicious eggs with mayonnaise and truffles. Naturally the wine selection is absolutely divine, with a sommelier on hand to help you make the best choice.
Formerly the wine cellar Contre-Etiquette, La Cave à Michel has been spruced up to be able to welcome customers in for a drink. The bar opened in September 2014 by the place Saint-Marthe in the 10th, a quiet spot in a bustling 'bobo' area. Simple and rustic, the wine cellar oozes charm. Platters of meat cuts bought from the Spanish shop just over the road are served alongside the wine from his top quality selection. Welcoming and chatty, the manager Fabrice is a crucial part of the package, inviting passers-by in with gusto.
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.
Le Baron Rouge is a lifeline for hungry food lovers who turn up at the Aligre market just as the stallholders are putting away their wares. Don’t worry – you can eat, and 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 offer oysters with a good Sancerre, or a plate of charcuterie with a 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. Those in the know bring their empty bottles here to fill them direct – and more cheaply – from the barrels too.