It’s all too easy in a city like Paris, beautiful tourist magnet that it is, to end up quaffing wine from chipped carafes in arrondissements thronging with the similarly misguided. So how do you find a real cave à vin – the sort of place where the bottles are stacked floor-to-ceiling and served by a clued-up, local connoisseur?

Whether it’s a designer lounge on the canal or a wine-bar-cum-bookshop with whimsical art nouveau decor, we’ve raided the city’s cellars and put together what we consider to be the ultimate wine guide to Paris. We’ll leave you to pick up the tab.

Our favourite places to drink wine in the French capital

Septime La Cave

From the outside, woodwormed panelling and coarsely bashed together crates teeming with bottles make this joint look like the sort of ramshackle place George Orwell might have frequented as a down-and-out back in the day. Don’t be fooled. Septime La Cave is the sibling bar of Septime, ranked one of the world’s 50 best restaurants, and its wine list is just as impressive.

Déviant

It’s a raucous hoot come 6:30pm when happy hour kicks off here and fine wines and tantalising amuse-bouches come spilling out of Déviant’s centralised, marble bar. The owner, Arnaud Lacombe, has colonised the arrondissement with a savvy business model whereby discerning bon vivants can swill a glass of all-natural, organic wine while pecking at unpretentious but irresistible small plates. His pizzeria, Da Graziella, is also worth a try.

  • +33 9 48 24 66 79
  • Go to Website
  • 43 Rue des Petites Écuries
    75010y
    Paris

La Popina

Get your fill of fruity ferments from all over the Mediterranean at this low-lit bar near Oberkampf. It’s the sort of place to hunker down with a cheese board (and a game of chess, perhaps) as you slowly sip your way across the Med. Once you’ve nestled into one of the plushy, velvet armchairs and sunk a bottle of Burgundy you’ll find it pretty hard to leave – take our word for it.

Early June

Every Parisian knows that the Canal Saint-Martin comes alive once the city’s office workers clock off on a Friday evening. While we’re all for doing like a local (read: grabbing a bottle from the nearest shop and getting slowly boozed up on the canal’s cobbled embankments), for a more elevated experience we suggest pulling up a chair at Early June and sampling a handful of its organic wines and lively side plates.

Le P’tit Pinard

Muddle through the morass of tourist traps in the city centre and head to P’tit Pinard in the 11th arrondissement. The small plates menu is all organic, seasonal fare – polenta and spinach with tahini sauce or grilled butternut squash and fennel, for instance – to match the wines which are sourced from small-batch vineyards. Don’t be embarrassed to snap pics of the labels; it’s unlikely you’ll chance upon one of the painstakingly selected bottles anywhere else in the city.

La Buvette

Founded by Camille Fourment, once a bartender at the white-hot Le Dauphin, this marble-fronted bar almost groans under the weight of its own Parisian chicness. Everything, from the hand-printed posters to the minimal-ingredient menu, feels simple, pared-back and honest. Time your visit well and you could sneak into a “degustation”. La Buvette regularly pulls a diverse crowd of artists, chefs and wine producers, so count on cultured conversation.

La Belle Hortense

Try and find something more typically Parisian than this cave-du-vin-cum-bookshop. Go on, we dare you. Swooping art nouveau lamps illuminate this cubbyhole near the Île de la Cité where bottles of red rest on shelves alongside vintage copies of Victor Hugo and walls are lined with an ever-evolving carousel of local artists’ work.

  • +33 1 48 04 71 60
  • Go to Website
  • 31 Rue Vieille du Temple
    75003
    Paris

Le Comptoir du Canal

This stand-up bar on the northern tip of Canal Saint-Martin serves up French wines, cold meats and cheeses par excellence. Helpfully for those with a less-than-desirable grasp of the French language, prices are scrawled on each bottle in chalk, though to really get a handle on the wine list we recommend probing the expert bartenders.

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