Before you’ve even got your feet on French soil, your mind will be dancing through vineyards and wondering just how much space in your suitcase a wheel of cheese will occupy. Yes, it may seem a tad cliche, but Paris really is the city in which to indulge your wine and cheese paired fantasies. Wine and cheese tasting in Paris takes on many forms. Classes walk you through everything from aromas and ages to vintages and varieties. Wine bars of course focus on their cellars – but they’ve also got light bites and hearty cheese boards to tempt you into staying a while. Fromageries are well-stocked, dairy-crammed cheese palaces. In short, Paris is a wine and cheese lovers heaven. We’ve picked out some stellar spots – but by all means follow your nose. It’ll likely serve you well.
Best Wine Bars
If you’re a fan of the very French, and very well patronised, apéritif hour in France, you’ll know these things rarely stick to the 60 minute window. Wine tasting in Paris can quite feasibly stray into the small hours – and, with that, you’ll need to be somewhat nourished. Wine and cheese tasting is all well and good – but the best wine bars tend to offer up fromage-filled platters to pair well with their wines.
Simone La Cave
If you’ve only got one day in Paris, and you love your wine, trot along to Simone. Part wine merchant, part wine bar, it’s a place to rifle through a more than diverse 120 bottle selection – with some notable by the glass choices too. On your stroll along the rues to get here, you might notice there’s a Simone bistro. The only reason we’ve not sent you there? You can rarely get a seat – not ideal for nipping by on the off chance. No matter, the small plates here are the same standard. But you’re here for the wines – which are largely organic, natural and pair rather nicely with their cheese boards. Flirtatious scamps could plump for the organic oysters.
Where to find it: rue Pascal – 13th arrondissement
La Point Du Grouin
If wine bars bring on a severe case of ‘meh’, look no further than La Point Du Grouin. They do things differently here. They have their own currency – helpfully 1 Groin is exchanged for 1 Euro. You can’t call to make a reservation – or indeed reserve a table in any way. The menu is in regional French – so Google’s going to struggle. And, you’re often left to snuffle around their wine cellar to sort your Chablis from your Shiraz. Mingle with Parisians. Play food roulette with the menu. And expect loud music, a lively atmosphere and something akin to a best-kept-secret in the largely touristy Gare du Nord area. Did we mention the cellar is stocked with only magnum-size bottles?
Where to find it: rue de Belzunce – 10th arrondissement
Cheese is abundant in Paris. But for the best – we’re talking oozing, ripe, aged and pungent wheels of joy – you’ll want a Fromagerie. Here, sellers expect you to eat your chosen cheese on the day. Planning to hoard it for a bit? Tell them, and they’ll pick out something less ripe for you. And, lastly, Parisians rarely queue in an orderly fashion. Expect to vocally assert your turn in some of the busier cheese outlets.
Yes, fromageries are everywhere in the city – but ones with reasonable prices, friendly staff and a credible cheese selection? Rare. Prepare to be wowed. These guys know their fromage. Not least because Clément Brossault (the owner) cycled his way to various regional producers for a chat about their cheeses. It took him two months – but boy was it worth it. His chic little shop stands apart from some of the more rustic – in THE best way. Clément will even vacuum pack your haul for the trip home … if you can resist tucking in beforehand.
Where to find it: rue Abel Rabaud – 11th arrondissement
If you’re in any way indecisive, you’ll struggle at Fromagerie Beaufils. Before you even get started on the cheeses, there are eight different types of butter to deliberate over. We’re partial to the Beurre de Baratte Demi Sel… if that helps at all? Your true selection test will be among the cheeses. Yes, you’ll spot plenty of French stalwarts, but Caerphilly cheese and Red Leicester share the shelves. We haven’t even started on their Dutch, Swiss, Italian and Spanish picks. You might not be in the market for international cheeses – but this is a great spot to put together a diverse cheese platter. The year-round festive platter isn’t a bad shout for a Joyeux Noel in July.
Where to find it: rue de Belleville – 20th arrondissement – with smaller shops in the 9th and 14 arrondissement.
Best Cheese and Wine tasting
If you know your stuff, and have passable French skills, you could argue the best wine and cheese tasting is to be had in Paris markets. But if you’re new to the brie game or want to elevate your pairing knowledge, we’ve got some wine and cheese tasting options to tickle your tastebuds.
Food snobbery and haughty types often put beginners off launching themselves into the artisan food world. If you’re keen to really get into cheese in a big way – look no further than Le Cheese Geek. Leader of the class, Fabrice has scientific knowledge of French cheeses few could match. Happily he’s broken it down into something we can all get to grips with. Very much the Brian Cox of the cheese world. You’ll chomp your way through a well-stacked cheese board with their Tour de Fromage, enjoy a blindfolded taste experience – to enhance your senses. There’s plenty of wine to hand too. Plus, you’ll come away perfectly equipped to talk shop in any Paris fromagerie and crucially, pair your cheese and wine.
The folks at Original Food Tours have elevated a bar crawl to something far more sophisticated. You’ll be in a small group (8 or less). So plenty of chance to quiz your guide. Flitting from wine bars to wine cellars and bistros, you’ll sample fine wines in Montmartre – as well as cheese platters, charcuterie and revel in the aperitif hour. It’s essentially a really relaxed way to ramp up your grape knowledge and delve into one of Paris’ most celebrated regions – with an insider for help with the wine list.
Best Cheese and Wine spots
If a cheese and wine tour itinerary leaves your Paris-street addled feet in need of a sit down, treat yourself to a perch in a restaurant. Leave your FOMO at the door and trust in the good people at the following places to treat your tastebuds to the best wine and cheese Paris can muster.
It’s nigh impossible to get a table at Frenchie’s restaurant. Which matters not a jot, because those in the know pop along to the wine bar where reservations aren’t needed, provided you pitch up early. There’s a global feel to the wine list – ideal if you find anything French a little too bold. And it all pairs well with creations presented beautifully on small plates. If the word small pings your large appetite radar, don’t worry, they rate as reasonably substantial by Paris standards. Try a dessert wine with their cheese board to really delve into sommelier levels of notes, aromas and nose.
Where to find it: rue Du Nil – 2nd arrondissement
Before you’ve even taken a seat here, you know what you’re in for. Better still, it’s all done incredibly well. Our pick has to be the raclette. And, unlike some other raclette restaurants in Paris, you’ll not find any twee Alp-vignettes or faux Swiss chalet shenanigans. We’d label it wine cellar-chic if anything. The wine list is extensive but not intimidating. And, for any who’ve long forgotten their GCSE French, there’s an English menu. Melting your own cheese over a small burner and slathering it on cold cuts doesn’t perhaps conjure up Parisian sophistication – but you’ll eat well at Pain Vin Fromages. And, really, can you ask for much more?
Where to find it: rue Geoffroy-l’Angevin – 4th arrondissement
Orbzii tips: Any vegans or lactose intolerant types in your travel party? Pop into Jay&Joy in the 11th arrondissement on rue Paul Bert. Fauxmage that may not fool a cheese purist, but the herby soft ‘cheese’ is a creamy treat on any picnic. For a vegan wine and cheese experience in Paris Le Faitout Vegan Restaurant’s French classics are top notch.
Hungry for more? With the Orbzii app on your phone, you can dream, plan and book your way to a seat at a Parisian bistro. Always be sure to leave room for the cheese course.