In a city where wine is often more abundant than water, it goes without saying that there is an overwhelming amount of vino shops, also known as caves, to choose from in Paris. We sipped our way through the City of Light to uncover five of the best wine shops in town, where the owners know their customers by name and the bottles on the shelves will give you something to write home about. Whether you’re a seasoned oenophile or stem-swirling newbie, spend an afternoon at any one of these shops and you’re sure to discover something new.
Legrand Filles et Fils
This 18th-century wine shop and bar is tucked away in the beautiful Galerie Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement. The space has been owned and operated by the same family for more than 200 years. It was originally an exotic spice shop, where the owner would import spices from around the world. Today, stocking the most prestigious French wines, as well as some smaller producers, Legrand Filles et Fils is the kind of place where you can pluck a bottle from the shelves and enjoy it at the in-store bar over some charcuterie, cheese and olives. The staff is very knowledgeable and welcoming, and more often than not, you’ll end up in a friendly conversation with the other wine enthusiasts at the bar. The shop also offers courses in wine and champagne tasting at its wine school. 1 rue de la Banque, 75002 Paris; Monday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
La Dernière Goutte
For more than 20 years, Juan Sanchez of La Dernière Goutte (“The Last Drop”) has been forging relationships with both his customers and the best natural, biodynamic and prestigious wine producers in the world. He’s taken this passion for wine and developed his shop into a Parisian staple for fans of the vineyard drink, offering a large selection of bottles across all price ranges. One of the best things about La Dernière Goutte is that on any given weekend, the shop invites winemakers from around France to host free tastings. These tastings attract both wine aficionados as well as amateurs looking to learn a bit more from the producers themselves. Sanchez and his team — who also own nearby restaurants Fish La Boissonnerie, Semilla and Cosi — are not only some of the most unpretentious wine guys in Paris, but their welcoming shop is perfect for finding your favorite wine or discovering something you’ve never tasted before. 6 rue Bourbon le Chateau, 75006 Paris; Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-7p.m.
With two locations in Paris, one a wine cave and the other a restaurant and wine shop combo, Le Verre Volé has become the go-to place to find out what’s happening in the natural wine scene. Natural wines are a bit more raw and cult-coveted than the grand estates of Bordeaux, for example, which is the perfect analogy to describe Le Verre Volé. A bit off the beaten track and rough around the edges, the wine cave is on the market street, rue Oberkampf, in the young and trendy area of the 11th arrondissement, and it is filled with rows upon rows of natural wines, sparkling and still. Cyril Bordarier runs the wine cave, and he can help you pick just what you’re looking for, whether that’s a Poulsard from Jura or a Morgon by Foillard. The restaurant/wine shop is similarly tucked away, as it is located just next to the hipster area of Canal St. Martin. One of the pros of this spot is that you can buy a bottle of natural wine and enjoy it along the banks of the canal. Wine cave: 38 rue Oberkampf, 75011 Paris; Restaurant: 67 rue de Lancry, 75010 Paris; daily 12:30-2:30 p.m., 7:30-10:30 p.m.
Opened in 1850, Les Caves Augé is a top choice for iconic chefs such as Alain Ducasse for its beautiful selection of natural wines, ranging from prestigious grand crus from Bordeaux and Burgundy to smaller production wines, like cult favorite L’Anglore from Eric Pfifferling. The interior of the shop hasn’t changed much since it was originally built, and the walls are stacked high with bottles that only manager and owner Marc Sibard, former head sommelier of Fouquet’s, would be able to navigate. Les Caves Augé also hosts regular free tasting days — we’re fans of the small producer champagne day, which usually happens in February and includes eight to 10 natural or small-production champagne makers, such Jacques Selosse and Ulysse Collin, along with oysters on the half-shell. 116 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris; Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
You may recognize this shop from its multiple appearances on American food critic and Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Anthony Bourdain’s shows, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and Anthony Bourdain: The Layover. Popular with locals and visitors alike, this wine shop located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés is both a friendly and inviting place to discover some amazing natural wines. Encompassing both a wine bar and shop, Quincave encourages you to buy and consume bottles onsite, perhaps with a lovingly crafted plate of fine charcuterie and cheese, or to take them home to enjoy. Bottles are reasonably priced, from 15 euros (about $20) and up, as is the corkage fee of 5 euros. The staff at La Quincave is also recognized for catering to clients from around the world, a must when visiting Paris and looking to discover a new wine. 17 rue Bréa, 75006 Paris; Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 5-9 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of Legrand