Where to Drink Wine: Paris A SommSelect-approved guide to great wine experiences in the City of Lights, curated by a local expert.
Millions of people flock to Paris year after year seeking good food, great shopping, and, hopefully, excellent wine. Whether scoring sought-after collector bottles or seeking out the next big thing in French wine, one thing’s for sure—you’ll likely find it in Paris. From go-to wine bars to classic restaurants, Paris has no shortage of great places to drink. Not sure where to begin? These spots will keep you busy for a while:
FOR THE NATURAL WINE FIEND
Wine Bar: Le Barav
Conveniently located right where the 11th meets the 3rd—in other words, just south of République—Barav is a low-key wine shop/wine bar hybrid that promises to appeal to a variety of preferences. Expect expansive natural wine selections by the bottle, as well as 5€ rotating by-the-glass pours served alongside hearty charcuterie boards, cheese platters, and sandwiches. In addition to its large selection, Le Barav’s equally extensive outdoor terrace is ideal for warm-weather drinking sessions.
Restaurant: Bistrot Paul Bert
Those familiar with Paris’ 20 arrondissements are likely aware that most of the city’s most exciting places to eat and drink are found in the 11th—Bistrot Paul Bert being one of them. This French classic is known for its rotating chalkboard menu, all-natural wine list, and adjoining pint-sized wine bar of the same name. As the restaurant has become a favorite of global consumers and industry folk alike, calling ahead for a reservation is recommended—or simply stopping by for a casual, wine-soaked lunch is an even safer bet.
Wine Shop: La Cave de Belleville
Located in the “hills” of Paris’ 19th arrondissement, this natural wine-focused cave is undeniably one of the best spots in the city. For natural wine skeptics, the selection at this meticulously curated spot promises to change your mind. Beyond low-intervention and natural mentality, the thread that ties all the bottles on this shop’s shelves together is quality. Best of all, international sections are also incorporated (a rare thing to find in France). Grab a bottle to go or stick around for extremely well-executed tapas and apéro boards. Don’t skip the cheese plate.
FOR THE TROPHY HUNTER
Wine Bar: Willi’s Wine Bar
Willi’s Wine Bar is a venerable institution on Paris’ Right Bank, especially for those with an affinity for Rhône wines. Founded by Mark Williamson in 1980, the bar championed the Syrah-based wines of the Northern Rhône long before they were fashionable—and savvy consumers will take delight in the selection (and prices) of the back-vintage bottles to be found on the list. In a sea of subpar tourist traps in the 1st arrondissement, Willi’s provides a dose of much-appreciated expertise.
Although palate-specific preferences may differ, wine industry folks can agree on one thing: Vantre is the go-to spot for wine and food. Located just a few steps away from the famed Canal Saint-Martin, this French bistro may look unassuming from the exterior, but make no mistake: The menu, bible-like wine list, and attention to hospitality are next level. Founded by Canadian sommelier Marco Pelletier, this wine-focused haven boasts no fewer than 4,000 wines at all times, ranging from cult natural favorites to jaw-dropping cellar stunners and beyond.
Wine Shop: Caves Legrand
Located inside the beautiful Galerie Vivienne, this one-of-a-kind wine merchant is known for its impressive collection, one that will wow even the most seasoned collectors. Caves Legrand continues to stick to its guns and maintain a more traditional selection, glassware included. While small plates are available, we don’t recommend coming here hungry; on the contrary, pack your heaviest tote bag—this is the place to stock up on cellar-worthy bottles.
FOR THE CASUAL DRINKER
Wine Bar: Bonvivant
While most of Paris’ wine-focused establishments are on the Right Bank, Bonvivant is worth the trek across the Seine. This hidden Left Bank gem is situated just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Jardin des Plantes—and provides a much-needed reprieve from the sticky-floored dives on the Rue Mouffetard. Expect a long list of wines peppered with natural and traditional picks alike served alongside massive cheese boards, terrine, and a rotation list of plats de saison.
Although Juveniles may not be as well-known as the other addresses on this list, this casual bistro in the 1st arrondissement is an absolute must. Tucked away on Rue de Richelieu, owners Margaux and Romain serve up classic French favorites in a homey environment, all served alongside a variety of international wines. Known by local frequenters simply as Juves, this unmissable bistro/bar hybrid was originally established by Margaux’s English father, Tim, whose passion for food, wine, and hospitality led him to create a place for those with equally strong-yet-laid-back passions for good gastronomy and drink.
Wine Shop: La Cave des Papilles
Established in 1996 on the famed Rue Daguerre, La Cave des Papilles features over 1,500 natural wine selections across a broad spectrum of price points, with a predictably French focus. For those looking for the true “movie-inspired” French experience, head to this pedestrian-only market street, grab your fresh cheese, produce, and meats from separate local purveyors, and have the Papilles experts let you in on their latest picks du jour.
FOR UPSCALE AMBIANCE
Restaurant: Tour d’Argent
Tour d’Argent needs no introduction. Situated just across the river from Notre Dame, this iconic Michelin-starred establishment has been capturing the hearts of passionate food and wine lovers for centuries. The restaurant is best known for its signature pressed duck, though the menu features rotating seasonal specials appropriate for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Tour d’Argent’s 400-page wine list features over 15,000 wine selections, with an estimated value of $25 million. For a more budget-friendly way of exploring the restaurant, book a three-course lunch reservation, though be sure to reserve—and plan for a solid few hours of eating, drinking, and all-around luxury.
Bar/Restaurant: Le Mary Celeste
Founded by 2013 by the Quixotic team—the same name behind Candelaria and Hero—this bustling restaurant/wine bar is in a beautiful, open-air space on a quaint street corner. Expect hand-shucked, well-crafted cocktails, and an extensive selection of natural wines served up by a completely bilingual staff. For those with an affinity for bar seating, this spot offers a much-desired reprieve from the, albeit, beloved French bistro table. Grab a friend or a head solo and make one at the bar—the number of English speakers both seated there and behind it are plentiful.
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