Life in Paris revolves around the acts of eating and drinking. Complete strangers will strike up conversations about where to buy the best baguettes or the cheapest good wine. But where to go out to enjoy that vin rouge, that absinthe or that new craft beer? Here are our suggestions for cool places to drink in the City of Lights.
1. Moncoeur Belleville café
Both Elle magazine and Le Figaro newspaper have named this café as having one of the best terraces in Paris. And it does. Good food, good wines and possibly the best panoramic view of Paris. Untouristed (so far) with good coffee and cocktails.
2. La Belle Hortense
It’s a wine bar, it’s a bookshop, it’s a great place to relax with the locals. It’s a smallish space that can get busy at weekends but get there early, sit at the bar and soak up some culture, atmosphere and vin.
3. Aux Folies
With its cheap drinks and buzzy, unassuming atmosphere, this classic little Belleville institution sprawls onto the pavement and around the corner into an artfully graffiti-splashed alleyway. Not too many tourists here in the 20th arrondissement so brush up your French.
4. The Experimental Cocktail Club
The name says it all really. A low-lit speakeasy-style haunt full of dark, comfortable furniture where knowledgeable staff knock out, you guessed it, experimental cocktails using ingredients such as vanilla, cloves, balsamic vinegar and honey. Makes a mojito look positively passe.
5. Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
From the same bunch who started the Experimental Cocktail Club (above) this is the place to come if you like your vin (there are more than 300 excellent bottles to choose from) in dimly-lit, funky surroundings. Guess the week’s mystery wine, in its own question mark jacket, and you get a free bottle.
6. The Frog and British Library
The love child of a British pub and a French bistro, the Frog is leather sofas, giant screens and all the sport you can handle. It’s also a microbrewery. Dark de Triomphe, Maison Blanche, Inseine and Parislytic are just a few of their craft beers.
7. Les Deux Magots
A mecca for history and literature buffs this bustling café on beautiful Place Saint Germain-des-Pres is one of the most famous in Paris. Jean Paul Sartre, Camus, Brecht, Hemingway, Picasso and Wilde were regulars. The interior is stunning fin-de-siecle Paris and pretty much unchanged since 1885.
8. Café Coutume
For a city so in love with taste the coffee in Paris can be dire; just something warm to sip while watching the world go by. But things are changing thanks to an influx of Australian baristas. There are many to choose from but laid-back Café Coutume is up there with the best.
9. Novotel Paris Vaugirard Montparnasse
The rooftop bars at Le Perchoir, 43 Up on the Roof, Mama Shelter and Nuba are all so hot you’ll have to get there really early to snare a spot. Head instead to the little-known bar on top of the Novotel where there are panoramic views without the crush.
10. Le Perchoir
Undoubtedly the place to see and be seen this rooftop bar has a sort of hard-to-find unmarked door vibe about it but the views are worth it. It can get busy and the queues to get in start early.