Sommelier-turned-restaurateur Thierry Bruneau’s versatile and tasteful neighborhood wine bar is a cherished mainstay of the Aligre neighborhood. It’s got a long, lively bar for solo diners, a bevy of small tables for couples and small groups, and a rear room that can be privatized for minor occasions. Managers Tristan Renoux and Frederick Malpart curate the dynamic, well-priced, mostly natural wine selection with an enthusiasm almost unheard of in the Paris hospitality scene. And the bar’s simple menu of salads and gourmet foodstuffs is anchored by a brilliant steak for two, prepared in the kitchen of Bruneau’s restaurant across the road, L’Ebauchoir. Bottles can also be purchased to go. Read More »Le Siffleur de Ballons
Dynamic young Bretonne Pierre le Nen took the helm of this well-regarded neighborhood wine shop in February 2014 and promptly turned it into one of Paris’ most welcoming terraced wine bars, where an impressively wide selection of natural wines and their more conventional forbears can be enjoyed with zero corkage fee. For anyone peckish, plates of cheese and charcuterie are available, along with an array of tinned and jarred rillettes and the like. Le Nen also stocks an indulgent wall of whisky and a respectable range of French craft beer.
Les Caves de Reuilly’s out-of-the-way location in the 12ème arrondissement ensures an ambience worlds apart from the bustle and hype of more central neighbourhoods: here instead are bands of quality-conscious, budget-conscious Parisians, enjoying honest, inexpensive wine, each other’s company, and the cool evening air. Be sure to ask the staff if the terrace looks full – as often as not, they’re able to simply whip out another table and some chairs for newcomers.
Address: 30, rue de Belleville, 75020Hours: Open Tuesday-Wednesday 10am-8pm (7pm Sunday). Closed Monday.Telephone: +33 9 81 17 95 88Facebook Founded in 2010 on rue de Tourtille, Cécile Boussarie’s gourmet food and wine shop moved around the corner in 2014 to its current, more prominent rue de Belleville location. Its bold, clean red sign belies the unpolished dowdiness of the shop’s interior, where teas, jams, vinegars, spices, potted meats, conserves, oils, and assorted trinkets line all available surfaces. In the middle… Read More »Fine l’Épicerie de Belleville
La Cave de Belleville’s unlikely origins sound like the set-up for a knock-knock joke: a pharmacist, a sound engineer, and a gallerist open a cave-à-manger. François Braouezec, Aline Geller, and Thomas Perlmutter deserve a lot of credit for the scale of their ambitions, as La Cave de Belleville, open every day of the week, is at once a wine shop, an épicerie, and a vast, casual wine bar. The airy, well-lit space (a former leather wholesaler) positively bustles at apéro hour, when locals nip in for inexpensive plates of charcuterie, cheese, and canned delicacies. The trio’s limited industry experience is sometimes evident in the inconsistency of the shop’s maximalist selections of wine, spirits, and beer. (Were the wine not mostly natural, it would be hard to call it a “selection”. Filling shelves seems to have been the priority.) But one senses the owners’ intentions are sincere, and the Belleville neighborhood – chaotic, culture-clashy, forever on the cusp of gentrification – stands to benefit greatly from a friendly, accessible social anchor like La Cave de Belleville.
Parisian wine shops tend to exhibit tunnel vision, often to the point of obsession: either they sell natural/organic/biodynamic wine, or they sell “traditional” wine, and rarely do the twain meet. One sees many of the same wines over, and over, and over again.
Not here. There’s plenty to satisfy any palate or ideology, and what’s more a lot of the labels aren’t the common names littering most modern restaurant lists. Add in a casual vibe, a ton of tables for casual in-store imbibing (with a wonderfully minuscule droit de bouchon), a rather surprising menu of tapas and the usual wine bar comestibles, and there’s finally something new under the Parisian sun.
Nestled on a shady corner of the up-and-coming Square Gardette, Le Vin de Bohème is thoughtful little wine shop so discreet it would probably wink out of existence altogether if it weren’t so usefully, crucially open every day of the week. Personable owner and sole employee Arnaud Fournier is a former graphic designer whose brief career in wine – he spent a mere year working for now-shuttered caviste Aux Anges before opening his own shop in 2009 – belies the acuity of his palate and the maturity of his selection. Le Vin de Bohème offers around 350 references at any given time, with no perceptible tilt towards or against the natural wine ethos that dominates most 11ème arrondissement wine shops. That alone makes Le Vin de Bohème unique for the neighborhood. The razor-sharp Burgundy and Champagne selections make it a standby for free-thinking wine lovers, particularly on Sunday and Monday evenings.
“Daron” is French slang for “father,” but there’s nothing fatherly or fusty about La Cave du Daron, which at night becomes a casual and intimate wine bar with a healthy cast of loyal habitués. On most evenings gregarious proprietor Jean-Julien Ricard offers a simple menu of charcuterie, cheeses, and conserves to complement his idiosyncratic and undogmatic wine selection, which encompasses everything from vogue-ish natural wine to Hungarian demi-secs to the conventional classics of the Rhône. Corkage is the east-Paris standard 7€, but the glass-pour selections are often unusual and worth exploring. Ricard also enlivens his bar’s offerings with semi-frequent guest-chef evenings: past collaborators have included Yam Tcha’s Adeline Grattard, and Maori Murota of Le Verre Volé Sur Mer.
Longtime Le Chateaubriand sommelier Sebastien Chatillon opened this tiny wine shop in 2013. Sandwiched between Le Dauphin and Le Chateaubriand, Le Cave is a narrow space and a deceptively narrow concept: it sells only no-holds-barred natural wines from outside of France. Expect exotic glass selections ranging from skin-macerated Slovenian Malvasia to Assyrtiko from Santorini. While it may contain less intrinsic interest for visitors wishing to discover French wines while in Paris, Le Cave’s most ingenious selling point is its surprisingly involved plat du jour program, a rotating nightly dish for take-out only prepared in the kitchen of Le Chateaubriand. Octopus tandoori? Chakchouka(North African ragù)? We’d expect nothing less from Inaki Aizpitarte’s idea of comfort food. And if nothing else, Le Cave functions as a cosy, well-run waiting room for anyone in line for a table at its neighbours.
Chatillon is soon to depart for the south of France to begin a winemaking project, but will continue to run the selection at Le Cave, aided by managing partner Paul Braillard.
Situated on a perpetually shaded nook just paces from the Panthéon, Les Caves du Panthéon’s boxy wooden room is wedged floor-to-ceiling with the cream of contemporary French natural winemaking, supplemented with a healthy stock of allocated classics from the Rhône, Bordeaux, and Burgundy. Current owner Olivier Roblin began working at the historic wine shop (founded in 1944) in 2001, before purchasing the business in 2009. He’s known for his longtime support of natural vinification, and his close relationships with many cult winemakers are evident in Les Caves du Panthéon’s 1000+ references. When, say, Jura winemaker Jean-François Ganevat makes a one-off cuvée for the French natural wine website Glougueule, here is where you’ll find it. Les Caves du Panthéon, along with nearby historic natural wine hotspot Café de la Nouvelle Mairie, make this flush, studenty corner of the 5ème an unlikely destination for anyone interested in the vanguard of French wine.
Philovino’s proprietor, Bruno Quenioux, is a singular figure in the world of French wine. A radical for his age, he fought all his battles from within the institutional retail outlets of the French wine establishment, first at Caves Legrand, and later in a long stint as the influential buyer for Galeries Lafayette (1990-2008). Anyone familiar with the nightmarish chaos of Lafayette Gourmet in the present day will be astonished to learn that during Quenioux’s tenure, the wine section was noted for its tacit support of organic agriculture and its resistance to faddish modern winemaking techniques, launching the careers of such winemakers as Jean-Paul Brun and Didier Dageneau.
Quenioux brought these and many other illustrious names to the shelves of Philovino, the modestly-appointed wine shop he opened in 2011 on a nondescript corner of rue Claude Bernard. The shop’s IKEA-quality décor belies the quality and rarity of its contents. Quenioux has his eccentricities – a disbelief in carbonic maceration, a disdain for what has come to be called ‘natural wine,’ and a latent interest in the occult sciences – but Philovino remains a destination for anyone wishing to experience the established classics of Burgundy, Champagne, or the Loire.
An attractive and likable cave in the Latin Quarter, but slick design can’t quite mask a partial dearth of bottles of particular interest. There are famous names here and there, but much of the stock is more puzzling than eyebrow-raising. The staff is generous (in that there are more of them than one expects in a place of this size) and friendly, but they’re clearly working from a supply chain unlike that feeding much of their more adventurous competition. The already-knowledgable can certainly find many things to drink here…but then, the already knowledgable are very likely shopping elsewhere. Still, a pleasant shopping experience goes a long way.
A shop full of natural, biodynamic, and organic wine doesn’t seem the likeliest candidate for a heavily touristed corner of the Île Saint-Louis. But while it’s possible that a fair number of visitors are baffled by the racks of unfamiliar wines, and at least a few of the rest are just popping in to ask for directions to Berthillon, uncannily affable proprietor and raconteur Hervé Lethielleux is a laid-back advocate for wines that often benefit from a little advocacy.
The selection’s pretty evenly weighted between acknowledged stars and semi-obscurities, and there’s an extant yet reasonable location-based premium, but what’s not to love about a store like this in such a prime location?
Tastings every Saturday, all day, though at any given time there’s usually something open.
Piled wooden cases bearing the name of many a famous winemaker form the narrow passage to this equally tiny shop. Inside, you’ll find those bottles from those famed names, plus plenty more not quite in evidence, to find which you’ll want to strike up a conversation with the extremely knowledgable proprietor Jean-Jacques Bailly. It’s a classicist’s selection, and you won’t find the cartoonish ephemera of the natural wine scene here, but neither is it doctrinaire. And there’s this, too: Les Caves du Marais is the sort of place people imagine when thinking of the prototypical and increasingly legendary caviste, yet in actual fact such places rarely exist except to sell either natural wine or indifferent commercial banalities anymore. Shopping here is like finding something you always imagined existed.
This grande dame of comestible retail has expanded rapidly and somewhat chaotically over the last few years. As a consequence, the once well-controlled wine shop has moved to the basement, leaving confusion in its wake.
As ever, there are a lot of well-known labels, in all price ranges (though carrying a not-insignificant markup; one doesn’t shop at Le Grand Epicerie looking for bargains). There’s a rare wine room, flashily-displayed champagne (sadly, largely devoid of its once-extensive grower-producers and now heavily weighted towards big négociants), a Bacchanalian surplus of magnums, and a fair selection of foreign wine and spirits that can be hard to come by elsewhere.
But that’s assuming one can find anything. Wines are wrapped around columns, shoveled under the occasionally-staffed registers, and laid to rest in coolers where one has to squint at tags to know what lies behind. For all its treasures, this is not a store that encourages unfocused browsing.
The rue Paul Bert – home to acclaimed restaurants by Bertrand Auboyneau and by Cyril Lignac – also contains this beloved, insidery natural wine shop, opened in 2003 by former wine agent Michael Lemasle. The narrow, slipshod space is perpetually overrun with new deliveries and Lemasle’s loyal clientele, who endure the proprietor’s relaxed, almost narcoleptic pace for the sake of his soft-spoken and well-considered wine counsel. Lemasle specialises in the more extreme fringe of natural wine, including many small-production wines vinified and bottled without the addition of sulfur. The well-priced selection is heavy on wines from the Loire, Beaujolais, and the southwest, while wines from marquee regions like Champagne, Bordeaux and Chablis are rather scarce on the shelves. One last draw: Lesmasle is among the rare Parisian cavistes who perform the true duties of the role, cellaring wines for years at a stretch at either of his two off-site locations before returning them to the sales floor when the wines have matured. Crus et Découvertes accordingly remains a source of fun discoveries even for the most jaded natural wine aficionados. Read More »Crus et Découvertes
Practical information Address: 9 rue des Quatre-Vents, 75006 Nearest transport: Odéon (4, 10) Hours: Closed Sunday and for Monday lunch. Open for wine sales and as a wine bar from 11am-2:30pm and from 6-10:30pm. Reservations: Strongly recommended for dinner because the small, intimate space often fills up Telephone: 01 43 54 99 30 Average price for lunch: 10-19€ Average price for dinner: 20-34€ Style of cuisine: classic French, small plates Website Reviews of interest Le Fooding (2013) “The little bites are… Read More »La Crèmerie
Tucked around the corner from the resplendently stodgy brasseries of Montparnasse is Frédéric Belcamp’s miniscule wine shop and wine bar La Quincave, a destination for natural wine afficionados since 2003 (and featured in the 100th episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations). Belcamp’s long support of more-than-organic, low-sulfur wine is apparent in La Quincave’s 200+ references, which include the occasional back-vintage as well as healthy allocations of certain sought-after selections. The man himself tends to hold court on Fridays and Saturdays; on other evenings his capable staff serve up simple platters of cheeses, rillettes, and cured sausage to the consistent crowd of low-key regulars.
La Quincave’s general template – 7€ corkage, simple snacks, natural wines – may have since become familiar to residents of the 10th, 11th, and 12th arrondissements, where caves-à-manger are as common hairdressers. But few newcomers have managed to replicate La Quincave’s frank, stylish ambience or the wisdom of Belcamp’s wine selections.
A jewel box merchant in the beautiful Galerie Vivienne, Legrand specializes in the great and worthy of vinous France. Many of the shelves are taken up by wines that would be special occasion bottles for most drinkers, and safe bets for tradition-minded lovers of traditional wines. There are some surprises here and there, but this is not a funky natural wine dive. Prices aren’t exactly the lowest in the city, and the ambient temp runs a bit warm, but the space is majestic.
The store (with tables that spread out into the hallway) doubles as a wine bar/light bites restaurant, offering wine by the glass or off the shelf for a reasonable uncorking fee, and it’s worth noting that of all the many places in Paris that offer the same, Legrand has some of the nicest stemware.
Septime’s Bertrand Grébaut and Théo Pourriat converted a shoe-repair shop to open this intimate, impeccably-designed wine bar just around the corner from their renowned restaurant. The well-informed staff serve a limited menu of exquisite small plates (ranging from cheeses and cured meats to foie gras stuffed with smoked eel) alongside a sizeable selection of well-priced natural wines from France and abroad.
On any given evening a mixed crowd of locals and tourists – some waiting for tables at Clamato, others just enjoying apéro-hour – perch on bar stools and repurposed grocery crates, mingling to a soundtrack of reggae and vintage jazz classics. For years more a way-station than an outright destination, Septime Cave has since summer 2015 been open for business on Sundays, rendering it all the more indispensable to the rue de Charonne neighborhood.
A small, thoughtful collection of natural wines lines the wall at this Oberkampf shop, where you can snack on charcuterie and cheese while enjoying a bottle, at zero corkage. There’s more space at the second location, in the 20th.
Since opening in 2001, La Cave des Papilles has risen to become arguably the most dynamic, well-stocked, and brilliantly-curated natural wine shop in Paris. Its daffodil-colored exterior displays made-to-measure posters of the cult winemakers featured at the shop’s regular tastings. Founder Gerard Katz and partners Florian Aubertin and Aurélian Brugnau enjoy an industry pre-eminence that ensures a healthy supply of rare and allocated bottles among the shops 1200+ selections. Prices are fair and despite the shop’s deserved reputation for support of more-than-organic farming and low-sulfur vinification, the selection remains broad-minded enough to please even more conservative palates. Keep an ear open for the shop’s occasional block parties, which reliably feature jazz bands, fresh-shucked oysters, and a who’s-who of France’s natural wine community.Read More »La Cave des Papilles
Wine afficionados Etienne Lucan and Sebastien Obert opened this bare-bones cave-à-manger in 2009, having put in time on the floor at Cali-transplant Kevin Blackwell’s only-slightly-less bare-bones restaurant Autour d’Un Verre. Years later, Lucan and Obert oversee one of Paris’ most surprisingly excellent and affordable wine selections. Their prices remain well-suited to the location on the sketchier side of the 9ème arrondissement, but their natural wine selection, heavy on grower Champagne and the wines of allocated cult vignerons like Jean-François Ganevat and Eric Pfifferling, would make mouths water in any tonier district. During apéro and dinner hours, the tables are reliably full of locals enjoying simple cheese and charcuterie plates, or one of the restaurant’s limited main courses (typically a choice between chicken and a sausage). Le Vin Au Vert is a discreet destination for anyone for whom food is an accompaniment to wine, not vice versa.
Caviste Georges Castellato wields a canny, professorial charm and a magnificent array of back-vintage bottles ranging from established classics to newcomer natural wines at this small, unassuming terraced wine shop in the marché Saint-Germain. Castellato, a former restaurateur who bought Bacchus et Ariane in 1998, is one of tragically few independent Paris cavistes who remain faithful to the true definition of their métier: a caviste who actually cellars wine, putting in on sale when it is ready to drink. So if one has a jones for quality 1989 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 1990 Madiran, or 2005 Burgundy, one is more likely to find it at Bacchus et Ariane than almost anywhere else in Paris. And at a better price: at a time when much of the surrounding 6ème arrondissement has become an overpriced circus for tourists, the value of Bacchus et Ariane’s selection is downright astonishing. Castellato offers bottle service for a 7€ corkage fee on the wine shop’s covered terrace and at its tiny interior bar, and while no food is prepared on the premises, he’s happy to bring over some oysters or charcuterie from his neighbors in the Marché Saint-Germain. In short, the shop is a perfect perch for fine-wine pre-gaming before dinner – as long as one doesn’t mind the evening’s oenological highlights arriving early.Read More »Bacchus et Ariane
The real specialty at this classic, luxe shop is Armagnac, with vintages dating back to 1868. Don’t know the first thing about Armagnac? Just ask, and one of the friendly staff will pour you a taste. The back room houses an impressive collection of first growth Bordeaux (Margaux, Latour) and Chateau d’Yquem, and R-D bottles their own lines of port and Scotch, too.
In the heart of the colorful rue Faubourg Saint-Denis, this full service traiteur has an excellent cheese department, and boasts an impressive collection of Champagnes, whiskies, and other spirits.
Terroir-driven, estate-bottled, organic and biodynamic wines from small producers are the specialty at this beloved shop, run for almost 20 years by Juan Sanchez. Especially strong in their selection of growers’ Champagnes and bottles from the Rhone Valley. Stop by on Saturdays for their free tastings with winemakers from 11am-7:30pm. Check our calendar of Paris food & wine events to find out which winemakers they’ll be hosting this week.
Everyone needs a hook, and at this trio of shops it’s announced loud and clear in the name: wines are shelved by their (alleged) categorical culinary accompaniments. There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach, but for casual browsing, the unfamiliarity makes it feel a little haphazard. Thankfully, passionate proprietors, whose enthusiasm (and laser-like ability to find things amongst the ontological chaos) is truly infectious, render this issue moot. The selection’s not just the usual natural/organic/biodynamic range, but includes some big names and a fair number of less-familiar, more personal choices. There’s food, too. It’s in the name, after all. Read More »Des Mets Des Vins
This wonderful place is both a shop and tasting space for the Claudel’s dual obsessions, wine and whisky. The shop sells 300 references for each, and those who want to sip on the spot can choose between 24 wines and 80 whiskeys by the glass. Leather club chairs and a selection of small bites make this a great stop before dinner nearby. Read More »Maison Claudel Vin et Whisky