In Paris, the trend towards open wine has taken hold: a glass at the "caviste" before going to a restaurant has long been considered chic. Neo-bistros also focus mainly on natural wines from young winemakers. Anke Sademann lived in Paris for a long time. Here are her personal insider tips for wine fans.
Seen from above, the pavements and terraces of the Parisian boulevards with their side streets look like asphalted rivers, with brasseries, cafés, wine shops and restaurants lined up along their banks. In addition to tourists from all over the world, it is mainly residents from the neighbourhoods in the 20 arrondissements of Paris who sit here. They love to observe street life from the pavement - people eat, drink and talk about what they eat and drink. The furniture often looks like something out of old French films. Because in Paris, savoir-vivre and casual (wine) enjoyment have long since written history.
Where and how do you drink wine in Paris? The best place is at a picnic on the banks of the Seine, directly on the pavement, in a café or in your favourite pub in the middle of the neighbourhood. Going to a restaurant, bistro or wine bar after - or between - work has long become an everyday ritual for many residents. But for some time now, people have also been having a "sip" ("gorgée") as a wine aperitif at their trusted wine shop. These wine shops, called "cellars" ("caves"), not only offer formidable advice, but now often also open the bar with small tastings.
One of these hosts is Thierry Guemas, who, after 25 years in the wine trade, opened his Vino Sapiens three years ago in Rue Saint-Dominique in the 7th arrondissement. The former cobbler's workshop from the turn of the century with only six seats, the smell of a cellar and storage space has been joined by the former cheese shop next door as a "drinking place". Only a few steps away from the Eiffel Tower, wine remains affordable here and can be taken home by the bottle at the shop price. 98 percent of the wines come from France, preferably from Burgundy. "Here, in a short stretch of road, an urban wine village with loyal guests has emerged," Thierry says. The place is as warm, cosmopolitan and full of "vinebration" as the real Parisian bistros used to be. People start talking right away - and Thierry's winemakers regularly present their wines with master classes. The patron is happy about the new generation of winemakers who, in his opinion, have "a finer tongue for vinification". Thierry closes his "cave" at 10 pm: this is where people come to enjoy a good glass before going to the restaurant.
Wine and cheese go hand in hand in France. There is a huge selection at the Monbleu, a synergy of "fromagerie" (cheese shop) and restaurant. Many delicatessens, open only during the day, represent individual regions and also offer the right, open wine with local colour - like the family-run Maison Tête - Comptoir Gascon, which exclusively offers spreads made to a secret recipe as well as wines from the Gers region. The slightly sweet, mineral L'Eté Gascogne 2021 from Domaine de Pellehaut is a perfect match for the duck paté. Bistronomy has been a trend for a long time: small, quick, good dishes in an informal atmosphere. This food-wine culture thrives on former grands chefs who have grown tired of wearing stars and other classic labels and now realise themselves in a more popular setting. One of the original cells of this movement is the district around Rue Oberkampf in the 11th arrondissement, where refuges like Châteaubriand have established themselves.
Just as casual and informal is the neo-bistronomy. Young restaurateurs like Benoît Jésupret and Antoine Legrand celebrate this hip gastronomic variation at La Traversée. The "bar for friends" on Rue Ramey is located near the Butte de Montmartre. In keeping with the name, a young crowd comes "from diagonally across the street" to enjoy internationally interpreted cuisine with French products. Benoît serves only biodynamically produced natural wines from (cloudy) white to orange (as an aperitif) to light red to accompany Antoine's starters such as lightly fried mini artichokes with parmesan and aioli. Small wineries from the Languedoc, the Loire and Alsace fill the glasses here. "They have more freedom to experiment, and we give our guests a choice beyond the classic pairing," Benoit explains as he pours "energy". The pure Syrah "Cosmoculture" from Domaine Viret comes from the southern Rhône and is pure biodynamics.
At Aux Deux Amis , the lively David Loyola and his partner Sylvain Lavigne have been serving exclusively organic and natural wines from France, Spain, Austria and Germany in their wine bar with "Cave à Manger" for 15 years. They have charmingly named it "Canteen plus-plus". Hard to beat for nonchalance, David sips the light red and fruity Grenache-Cinsault cuvée Salve Ager 2020 from Domaine Mont de Marie (Thierry Forestier). On the receipt pad, the current menu of the day is written in beautiful script with "tapassiettes" (plates with little things).
Sommelier Riccardo Pattaro of the noble-minimalist "Gastro-Wine Bar" Nellu, near Île St. Louis, serves his guests only "precisely and elegantly matured, European artisanal wines". The Valencia-born Italian sets modern accents in his selection. To accompany the raw langoustine with creamy mango bisque and apple emulsion from Clément Vergeat's "cosmo-French" cuisine, he recommends the Spanish Chiguita Rioja Blanco 2022 from Japanese-born winemaker Jade Gross.
Riccardo's credo: 80 percent of the wines do not come from France, they are Mediterranean Europeans. The long matured, very round Slovenian orange wine Rebula 2018 by Klinec with aromas of dried apricots offers just as much drinking pleasure with cod with sauce barigoule and pickles as with mimolette cheese and dessert, a hibiscus génoise with yuzu cream painted on the plate.
Parisian food culture is a potpourri of cultures and fusions. Young restaurateurs leave the city and get input from the world - or the world comes to Paris for "French cooking after their own fashion". This can be experienced at Mamagoto opposite an old market hall in the 10th arrondissement. Here Thomas Loustau and Koji Tsuchiya present the symbiosis of Japanese-French. In their neo-bistro, they surf the wave of sharing plates. Koji's cooking is as purist, precise and product-based as it is artistic. The 98 percent French organic natural wine accompaniment from little-known producers is also stringent. They come by personally like good friends and present their wines. The Poil de Lièvre 2022 from Calvez-Bobinet harmonises well with Koji's ceviche of gilthead with green lemon and the red of shizu and cherries.
The mostly international guests, who often come here on transit from the nearby Gare du Nord, first have to be introduced to the unfiltered natural wines with their earthy purism. Right next to Thomas' record collection, he has proudly arranged his natural wine repertoire as if in an art gallery. Just as there are poetic and political messages on the labels or QR codes with music playlists of the winemakers, the wines themselves are ambassadors of the neo-vinophile habitus in Paris.
Elegant, modern enclave of pleasure near the Ile St. Louis. Italian sommelier Riccardo Pattaro invites you on an un-French journey with rare craft wine positions across Europe. Refined aromatic cuisine with in-house fermentation. The wines are also available for purchase.
In keeping with its name, "A Lot of Wine" offers just that: a large selection of vins d'artisans. The wines by the glass can be enjoyed very casually in the wine shop or outside on the wine island terrace.
Wine comes before food in this very Parisian wrapped Art Nouveau bistrot. Great wineries and small domaines from all territories combine perfectly with delicious bistronomic fine cuisine on the well-stocked menu. One may linger for a long time.
Thomas Loustau and Koji Tsuchiya play off the food and wine menu at Mamagoto in a way that is as precise as it is creative. On the sharing plates: cosmo-French but "Japanese-cooked" dishes with lots of flavour culture. Fancy natural wines from small vintners. Music from the record player. Vis à vis is a typical Parisian market hall.
A lot of know-how and little pretentiousness: the experienced caviste and sympathiser Thierry Guemas knows a nice story about every wine. Large selections of French wines can be tasted in the shop, in the "terroir museum" or on the wine island. A young, well-trained team supports the "wine partisan". Within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, wine is served until 10 pm. There are also winemaker master classes in English.
Starred restaurant for fans of wines from Burgundy: 200 open positions, over 3,000 references "de Bourgogne on the menu. Open dining rooms with beautiful, partly hand-painted original décor with turn-of-the-century mosaic and marble d'Estours. A jewellery box full of wistful nostalgia. Grande Carte.
A lavishly stocked cheese counter (fromagerie) and restaurant with specialities, accompanied by a good wine - this symbiosis couldn't be more French. From raw milk cheeses to "blue from the mountains", a well-selected spectrum of wines is combined with the soft and hard exhibits from the large showcase.
Since 1986, this family-run speciality shop has been a cantine and atelier offering mainly duck pâtés and spreads in many flavours from the Occitan Gers in south-west France. The accompanying wines come exclusively from this region. In Paris, each French growing region finds its own culinary and vinophile stage.
Popular wine and food bistro with an orange and yellow 60s look in the heart of the Oberkampf neighbourhood. Daily changing "Tapas Bistronomiques" - small plates to share with friends. Pioneer David Loyola has also been the best friend of his natural wines for 15 years.
Cosmopolitanism and non-conformity versus rigid traditionalism: this is where the pioneer and nucleus of bistronomy resides. The single-set menu by Basque chef and bistronomy initiator Iñaki Aizpitarte is served in an original 1930s interior in Néo-Rétro style. Natural wines from independent winemakers. Highly priced, but very delicious. Make sure to reserve.
Feminine wine: 80 percent of the natural, organic and biodynamic wines at Caviste Mathieu Levy are vinified by women. He has visited them all and presents their fine drops in the context of quiz, cheese and chocolate tastings at his wine shop Sémélé (get involved). Open from 11am- 8pm.
The Clown Bar is a listed small bistrot in the former bar of the Cirque d'hiver. Grinning ceramic characters survey the bistro-authentic cuisine of the Japanese chef. Large selection of natural wines. Charming location in the heart of the Marais.
"I scream, you scream, we all scream for wine" is the credo of Jessica Yang and Robert Compagnon. This pleasantly minimalist establishment celebrates the exotic symbiosis of ice cream and natural wine. Sommelière Amanda Philip selects rare wines to go with creamy ice cream variations. That's not quite true: there's ice cream during the day and wine in the evening.
Neo-bistronomy at the foot of Montmartre in the northern district of Paris. The "Salle & Cuisine duo" Benoit Jesupret and Antoine Legrand serve internationally interpreted light cuisine without pairing airs. Natural wines from young winemakers. Concerts on Wednesday. Great, smart, casual!
Organic-certified triad of design hotel, (wine) bar and the cantine-bistrot Feuille de Chou, which interprets down-to-earth bistro cuisine. The stylishly designed hotel complex with mini-park oasis is located right next to the large St Ouen flea market for sustainable vintage shopping.
The imposing vaulted cellars of the Abbaye de Passy house the Paris Wine Museum. Wine tastings, oenology courses or themed evenings are held in the 15th century vaults. The restaurant is located in the vaults.