Wine Bars


The wine bar and the bistrots à vins have been undergoing a major revival as a new generation embraces this format for great drinking and eating at easygoing prices.

A walk from the Louvre and just a few steps off the Place des Victoires, Les Fines Gueules is a great spot for lunch or a light supper. It occupies the corner of a handsome 18th-century stone building, and it's a cozy place with a snug bar and downstairs-and-upstairs dining rooms where you can sample simple dishes with some excellent wines by the glass. The pride of this place is its pedigreed produce, including meat from butcher Hugo Desnoyers, butter from Jean-Yves Bordier in Saint-Malo, and bread from the Poujauran bakery in the 7th arrondissement. The menu changes regularly but the steak tartare, veal carpaccio with shavings of aged parmesan, and Oléron oysters are always terrific.

Tucked away in the atmospheric, sepia-toned Passage des Panoramas, Les Racines is the most stylish wine bar in Paris right now and a perfect example of the genre's new wave—most wines are biodynamic (produced according to sustainable agricultural practices), and produce comes with prestigious origins—the salad is made with vegetables from chef Alain Passard's truck garden, for example. Braised beef cheeks are supplied by Hugo Desnoyers, and cheeses by several of the city's best fromagers. It pulls a hip crowd, serves late, and is a lot of fun.

Ever since it opened in the Latin Quarter, Les Papilles (The Taste Buds) has been a big hit with its friendly service, interesting and well-chosen wines, and very good cooking. The menu changes regularly but runs to dishes like endive soup, sautéed cod, roast shoulder of lamb, and chocolate mousse.

Not far from the Canal Saint-Martin in the trendy 10th, Le Verre Volé is a friendly, convivial place with superb wines–don't miss the white Côtes du Rhône from Domaine de l'Oratoire Saint-Martin, and good cheese and charcuterie plates.

At Quedubon near the charming Buttes Chaumont park in the 19th, some 200 different wines are on display on the scarlet-painted open shelves, which provide a great opportunity to discover little known and often organic tipples from small producers all over France. Owner Gilles Bérnard formerly ran the popular Aux Zingots, and his hip clientele has followed him to this new spot, which serves simple, delicious dishes like a plate of Basque charcuterie, confit de canard, osso buco, and pear tart.

Le Chapeau Melon is an excellent bistrot à vins that offers a good reason to discover Belleville, the old working class neighborhood in the 19th that's stirring again. Most of the wines served here are either organic or biodynamic, and they serve an excellent single menu at lunch and dinner. It changes daily but runs to dishes like open tarts of fennel and rouget (red mullet) and curried lamb.

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