Natural wine is the drink of the moment, and nowhere is that more true than Paris.
Using only natural, endemic yeasts for fermentation and eschewing filtering and sulfites, natural wine—known as vin nature or vin vivant (living wine) in French—tends to boast a lighter, fruitier flavor than most conventional vintages. Its aromas occasionally veer towards barnyardy or animal-like, and it’s sometimes susceptible to light effervescence. When done properly, natural wine is a delightful discovery for any oenophile.
That said, making natural wine correctly is not an easy task. For every fantastic bottle of natural wine, there are nine subpar bottles that could turn you off of these living wines for good. To make sure you’re only getting the best, here are five natural wine bars and restaurants in Paris where it’s always a beautiful thing.
Where to Drink Natural Wine in Paris
1. Le Saint-Sébastien
The 400-bottle-strong cellar at this 11th arrondissement bistro is filled with a variety of bottles, some natural and some not.
The expert front-of-house team at Le Saint Sébastien will be happy to point you in the right direction of a glass or a bottle that pairs perfectly with Chef Robert Mendoza’s plant-forward, internationally inspired plates. Regions not often seen on other wine menus, including Jura and Alsace, are the stars of this wine list.
2. Septime La Cave
Elbow your way up to the bar to sample one of the ever-changing by-the-glass selections, and choose a simple cheese or charcuterie dish to accompany it. Don’t miss the selection of vin orange: these skin-contact wines made from white wine grapes offer a unique umami funk.
3. Martin Boire et Manger
This spot on boulevard du Temple is a local favorite where the crowds regularly spill out into the street, like one big block party.
If it’s so popular, it’s perhaps for the multi-page wine list and chalkboard menu of inexpensive, locally sourced small plates. (Resident dog Saucisse may have something to do with it as well!)
We love the way that sommelière Julie Brenet offers a few words about the character of each wine right on the menu. Even if you’re unfamiliar with a specific bottle, you’ll have a bit more of an idea of what you’re getting yourself into before taking a sip.
So far, natural wine bars may seem like a Right Bank trend, but there are a few spots to the south serving up these fragrant wines as well. Naturellement is one of them.
Italian owner Giovanni Napolitano naturally skews more towards the wines (and dishes) of his native land, with wonderful Italian bottles and glasses to pair with cheese, charcuterie and more. An expert in all things Italian wine, Giovanni has something for everyone—including fans of robust reds, which can be harder to come by in the natural wine world.
Located just next door to the nightclub of the same name, this contemporary French restaurant has a phenomenal selection of natural wines. Order yours by the glass or by the bottle, and pair it with the creative small plates designed to share.
The food here is unsurprisingly wonderful, thanks to the team from Les Enfants du Marché. Plus, the nightlife ambiance from next door spills over into the dining room for a good time guaranteed.
Want to get a crash course in French natural wine from one of our very own experts? Our Paris by Night: Evening Food & Wine Tasting Experience is calling your name. You’ll spend a night out on the town eating and drinking like a local, enjoying bites perfectly paired with some of the best wines the City of Light has to offer.
Emily is a bona-fide turophile who gets a kick out of researching urban legends and folk stories related to French cheese (and other French food, bien sûr). She’s also a natural wine evangelist and a 19th century French literature nerd.