Before dozens of wine bars popped up throughout France’s capital, Parisian wine culture centered around open-air vino markets. In 1665, the first Halle aux Vins—located where the Arab World Institute is today—showcased local and international wines alike. A larger Halle opened in 1845, in order to let civilians wander through lanes named after different types of wine, including Bordeaux and Languedoc. The wine barrels themselves were stored a few roads over, transforming Parisian streets to reflect a culture that would only grow over time.
The oldest wine bar in Paris, La Réserve de Quasimodo, dates back to the mid-19th century. Although it recently closed for good, other wine bars have followed suit in curating cozy and friendly environments, complete with flawless vino lists. Even though wine markets are no more, the intimate, charming settings below provide great places for a glass before dinner, or an entire gastronomical journey complemented by the most delightful wine.
13 Rue des Petits Champs, 75001 Paris, France
Starting off strong with Willi’s Wine Bar, where you won’t go thirsty or hungry. Named after a beloved local pup who frequented the 1st arrondissement on his daily walks, this wine bar, across from the Jardin du Palais Royal, displays eye-catching (and shoppable!) posters made by different artists from throughout the city. The wine list places a special emphasis on the Rhône Valley (the owner’s birthplace), but no matter which wine you choose to sip, the hearty French bistro menu offers a delicious complement to your vino.
24 Bd du Temple, 75011 Paris, France
From the team behind the famed Au Passage wine bar, Martin Boire et Manger is a buzzy spot with plenty to offer. Situated by the Place de la République, it tends to attract a younger crowd, but don’t let that deter you from visiting—they know their wines here. Martin’s speciality is orange wine, but they have an excellent selection of other natural vinos as well. The oft-changing small plates will overwhelm your taste buds in the best way, so grab a glass and enjoy.
52 Rue de Richelieu, 75001 Paris, France
While you might have heard of the restaurant Verjus, might we introduce you to their adjoining cavernous wine bar, for a special sip of Paris? In the chic 1st arrondissement, go underground and get intimate with a chalkboard list of exquisite wines by the glass. If you get peckish, indulge in delicious small plates from the restaurant upstairs.
14 Rue Denoyez, 75020 Paris, France
With a wine selection championing the Loire and Jura valleys (as well as unique bubbles perfect for an apéro), Le Grand Bain is worth the trek to Belleville. Located at the end of Paris’ “graffiti street” in the hipster-beloved neighborhood, this bar serves up fish- and veggie-focused small plates alongside an impressive wine menu. Le Grand Bain also boasts outdoor seating, perfect for people-watching in an area filled with one of Paris’ most eclectic crowds.
31 Rue Vieille-du-Temple, 75003 Paris, France
This one is for the bibliophiles. At this bookstore and wine bar, you can drink vintage Médocs against a background of rare volumes. La Belle Hortense curates their books and wine with equal care, resulting in an indulgent mix of the new and the old, the mainstream and the rare. With frequent literary events, La Belle Hortense is a staple of Le Marais, attracting those looking for a more intellectual night out. What’s more, nibbles from La Chaise au Plafond across the street can be whipped up while you sip and flip through the pages of a new release.
6 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris, France
A similar concept to Verjus Bar à Vins, this wine bar is an offshoot of hugely popular restaurant Frenchie. Go across the street from the lively eatery for a cozier, yet equally delicious, experience. You might have to share a table with another couple (this tiny space is big on community seating), but it’s worth it to try Frenchie’s food while sampling one of the best wine lists in Paris.