I consider myslef lucky to have been able to live in Paris for the last ten years. In that time I've assembled a list of favortie places and these are my favorite wine bars. Each combine good food with interesting, fairly priced wines. Surprisingly, enjoying the cuisine that France is known for along with good wines isn’t as easy as you would think. Sure, the average Parisian café will have a rustic house wine that is perfectly enjoyable with your croque monsieur but there’s still a lot mediocre wines that end up being served.
It’s a delicate balancing act. Many café’s, bistro’s and restaurant offer great meal but the wine list is often haphazard assembly indifferently produced overpriced wines. As much as I love the all variations of French cooking I often seek out places where wine is the main focus. This could be a wine shop that serves food (cave à manger) or a restaurant or bistrot with an eclectic wine list. I also look for places where I can sample a variety of wines by the glass with different food combinations. The service and atmosphere should informal and relaxing. Most bistros don’t have sommeliers but its great if the wait staff know a bit about the wines and the producers who made them. Finally, I’m not looking for trophy wines like Burgundy Grand Crus and Bordeaux Cru Classés which are overpriced and I that I could easily find elsewhere. My favorite wine bars in Paris tend to have wine lists from small family owned wineries often from less heralded regions of France
One point to make clear is that in the U.S., wine bars are exactly what the name implies, a bar offering small sharable dishes that serves many wines by the glass. In France, a wine bar is really a restaurant with an emphasis on wine and you are expected to order a full meal. However, during the past few years many wine bars in the American model have opened in Paris. I often prefer these small informal restaurants with seasonal menus made with quality ingredients to the traditional and more formal bistros.
Located in, Galerie Vivienne, which is one of the oldest and best-preserved passages in Paris. This is sort of long and narrow 18th century version of a shopping mall. Here you will find plenty of expensive Bordeaux and Burgundy in addition to less expensive wines from the Loire and Languedoc. Wine tastings featured flights of these prestige wines take place regularly in addition to basic wine tasting courses in French.
Over 25 wines are offered by the glass and are perfectly preserved to prevent oxidation in Enomatic wine dispensing machines. An assortment of high quality cheeses, carpaccio, charcuterie and smoked trout all served with the excellent breads of Boulangerie Eric Keyser Paid tasting are held regularly including a recent Domaine de la Romané Conti tasting led by Albert de la Velain. Michel Bettane who, along with colleague Thierry Desseauve, is considered France’s must respected wine critics lead other tastings.
A wine school and wine bar offering 40 wines by the glass including rare wines like a recent offering of 1974 Petrus (60 euros for a 3 cl pour). In addition to cheese, charcuterie, foie gras, American Cordon Bleu graduate Campbell Whitman prepares a dinner menu that is based on seasonal market offerings.
A small bookstore and wine bar. It’s one of the few quite places to enjoy wines by the glass in a very bustling part of the Marais.
Located in a formerly working class neighborhood just down the street from Marché Beauvau a lively weekday indoor and outdoor food market. The wine here is good but you go for the atmosphere. One quirk is that some wines are served directly from wood casks and they will fill and cork a bottle to take home. Typical charcuterie bread and cheeses are served and in the winter months crowds spill out onto the sidewalk to enjoy oysters and wine.
Owner Jacques Mélac’s father arrived in Paris in 1938 from the Aveyron region of southwest France and soon opened this wine bar and bistro located in a quiet residential neighborhood far off of tourist routes. As to be expected many of the hearty food specialties from the region are featured such as aligot a cheese and sausage dish. The excellent wine list favors the southwest France and the Languedoc.
Not a bar a vin in any sense of the definition but French haut cuisine and accordingly very pricey. However, there are few restaurants in the world with a wine list of 14,000 references dating from the 17th to the 21st century. These incredibly rare treasures having excellent provenance as they have remained in their cellars since they were purchased by previous generations. The wine lists weighs in at over 15 pounds and thankfully longtime Sommelier helps guide you through the menu.
A long-time Paris institution founded in 1980 by British owner Mark Williamson. Offers a changing and innovative takes of classic French cuisine made by changing with the roster of young ambitious chefs. The focus small producers from the Rhone are very well represented in addition to wines from the Savoir and Jura.
Scottish owner Tim Johnston opened Juveniles as a wine shop offshoot of Willi’s Wine Bar. Today it’s still a wine shop but over the years the menu evolved from small tapas to full on French bistro. Offers over 60 wines are offered with many international selections.
A dinner menu changes daily according to what’s in season. Wines from the Languedoc and Burgundy are featured prominently as well as aged ready to drink Bordeaux.
Over the past fifty years under recently retired owner Robert Cointepas specialized in unpretentious hand-selected wines from small domains all served with a solid traditionals bar a vins menu of charcuterie, tartines and chesse and meat plates. Fortunalty new owner has maintined these same formula.
Old school bar a vin. A local favorite with bare bones atmosphere servicing French comfort foods. Cheap and good.
A local neighborhood wine shop offering charcuterie, cheeses pates, wine Burgundy and the Rhone at all price ranges.
American chef Daniel Rose’s excellent restaurant Spring is down the street. A small but solid collection of organic and traditionally made wines are offered along with many winemaker hosted tastings.
Not just meats and cheeses but creative menu some of the same dishes as the impossible to get into Frenchie restaurent accoss the street No reservations are accepted here so it’s first come first serve. Fair priced and selective wine list.
Newly opened. Pierre Jancou's formerly the owner of Racines wine bar returns to Paris.
The natural wine mecca serves mostly terrines, charcuterie and cheeses rather than bistro dishes. Many wines are from young winemakers sharing the natural wine philosophy of unyested, unfiltered, unsulfered wines.
An ex Spring chef offers natual wines with charcuterie, cheeses and bistro fare.