Top Three Places for Champagne in Paris

Champagne is probably the most mythical of all French wines, that one does not drink every day but only on special occasions. One talks about Champagne while there are a great number of wines of Champagne, all very different from each other. And there is much to learn about Champagne so as to appreciate and love it even more… if that’s possible!

There are many wine shops or wine bars in Paris… but only few places dedicated to Champagne. I wish to introduce you to the best of them, all three very confidential but not to be missed by any Champagne lover.

The Champagne Bar Le Dokhan’s: The most refined
Champagne Bar Le Dokhan's - Paris - Intimate and refined
Champagne Bar Le Dokhan’s – Paris – Intimate and refined

The most ancient and remarkable Champagne Bar in Paris is located inside a charming boutique hotel in 16th arrondissement of Paris, Le Dokhan’s. It has an intimate and timeless atmosphere especially when it is simply lit by candlelight.

One can sit either next to the bar in a green living room with wainscoting from 17th century ; or next to the fire place in another elegant living room furnished with antiques and decorated with Matisse and Picasso drawings. Both are charming but my favourite is the one with the bar.

The Champagne list is awesome: 250 different references, including exceptional bottles that cannot be found anywhere else ; but also champagnes produced by independent wine growers unearthed by Arthur, the chief sommelier. One can order either a bottle, a glass or a tasting of 3 different champagnes of independent wine growers, which is in my opinion the best experience.

It is a real pleasure to listen to Arthur explaining you the different soils and grape varieties, showing you the various kinds of glasses to drink Champagne, telling you the history of their shape and helping you to choose the best one to taste the champagne that you wish to drink. And he could talk forever about the wine growers whose champagne you are tasting : Who are they? What is the story fo their family? How do they work?…

The armchairs are very comfortable, the atmosphere very relaxing, refined without being stilted… One leaves the place with regret thinking about coming back the next month to taste the new selection of 3 champagnes; or to attend one of the tasting of wine growers or jazz evenings regularly proposed by the Bar Le Dokhan’s. Before leaving the hotel I suggest you having a look at the elevator whose cage is unique: it is made with a genuine vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunk. Back to a time when travel was an art!

Dilettantes: A Champagne Shop… and more
Champagne Shop in Paris - Producers of the month
Dilettantes – The Champagne Shop in Paris – Producers of the month

To be a ‘Dilettante’ is to have just an amateur interest in something, to do it for pleasure. One could not have chosen a better name! Indeed since she opened the first and unique Champagne Shop in Paris five years ago, Fanny has made a lot of people happy. Her aim is to make people discover the diversity and quality of champagnes produced by independent wine growers in small and family-owned estates… and it works!

Fanny has selected 25 Champagne producers representative of the four different growing regions in Champagne. All of them work in a sustainable, organic or biodynamic way and make quality distinctive wines. Each Champagne producer proposes a selection of bottlings and in total Dilettantes sells about 150 different champagnes. Plus 50 references from the most famous Champagne houses, such as Ruinart, Taittinger,… but only rare bottles that cannot be found in supermarkets. Four huge wine fridges keep cool more than 1000 bottles!

Dilettantes is THE place to discover the diversity of champagnes, to taste them and to learn about them. When you buy a bottle, you get a card with a detailed description of the champagne… and a picture of its producer. And at any time during opening hours one can taste there one or several champagnes out of a selection of three which changes every 2 weeks. Many other tastings, either thematic or hosted by the wine growers themwelves are taking place in the shop… I should say under the shop, in a beautiful cellar from 17th century. Every tasting is the occasion to get explanations and advices and to learn more.

Dilettantes - Paris - The Champagne cellar and tasting room
Dilettantes – Paris – The Champagne cellar and tasting room

What could be better? Beautiful surroundings, high quality champagnes between 20€ and 40€ for any taste and cool at any time, and fascinating explanations given both in French in and English, exclusively by women. It is said that Champagne is the women’s wine…

Canard et Champagne: The most original
Canard et Champagne - Passage des Panoramas - Paris
Canard et Champagne – Passage des Panoramas – Paris

Some wines and food pairing do not come to mind spontaneously. Among them: Duck and Champagne, a wedding of two ‘terroirs’ which are so different. Nevertheless a Parisian restaurant opened two years ago with this speciality, and it works very well! The double name of the place, one very ordinary ‘Canard et Champagne’, and one more subtle ‘French Paradox’ shows well the daring of such a wines and food pairing.

Both tourists and local people seem to be fond of the idea to combine in a same meal two of the jewels of the French gastronomy: the restaurant has a great success and is very busy at lunch time. One is happy to discover the perfect harmony between a well balanced champagne -fresh and fruity in the same time- and a foie gras; and the interesting combination of a rosé champagne -served not too cool- with a duck breast perfectly cooked.

There are 35 references in the Champagne list, with a mix of small wine growers and famous champagne houses; six of them can be ordered by the glass, starting at 8€. And for the less rash there is also a short list of red wines…

I like the decor of the restaurant which also shows a search for a successful harmony. The historic panelling and inlaid work of the place, which used to be a Chocolaterie, have been preserved but modernized by the use of black and white, of light wood and geometric lines in the fitting out of the restaurant room.

Canard et Champagne is located in the beautiful Passage des Panoramas: Do not miss a walk in the Passage either before or after your meal. Thanks to the next shop one will learn that people do not collect only stamps or coins, but also foils of champagne. This kind of collection is called: ‘placomusophilie’. I am afraid that there is no English translation for such a word!

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog

Practical information : Bar Le Dokhan’s 117 rue Lauriston 75116 Every day from 6pm till midnight – Dilettantes 22 rue de Savoie 75006 From Tuesday to Saturday: 11am till 7.30pm (9pm on Thursday) – Canard et Champagne 57 passage des Panoramas 75002 Every day from noon till 3pm and from 7pm till 11pm

The Parisian Market of the Month: Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

Le Marché des Enfants Rouges is one of the most unusual markets in Paris… for several reasons. First of all this is the oldest food market in the capital. Its creation dates back to 1628 and it used to be a wooden covered market built with sixteen oak pillars and called ‘Le Marché du Marais du Temple’. At the end of 18th century it became ‘Le Marché des Enfants rouges’ referring to the eponymous orphanage located in the same area and that had just been closed.

In the mid-1990s the market had almost been destroyed and turned into a car park. But the inhabitants of the Marais area and many tourist guides had mobilized to avoid its disappearance. After six years of restoration ‘Le Marché des Enfants Rouges’ reopened in 2000.

The market has kept its originality: Thanks to its numerous stands of cooking and take away food it is still rather a place where to eat than a traditional market where to buy fruit, vegetable, fish or meat as any other Parisian food market. Its atmosphere is very special and friendly; I felt as if I were in a village square, not in a food court. And although there are many tourists it remains very authentic!

Marche des enfants rouges-Rue de Beauce
Marché des Enfants rouges – Entrance Rue de Beauce

All the meals are cooked on the spot and at lunchtime many people -whether local, working or visiting- are queuing in front of each stand. The length of the line may depend on the season, on the time (peak hour between 1 and 1.30pm on weekdays) but of course also on the popularity of each cooking stand… or of the cook himself!

Marche des enfants rouges-Queue at Alain
Marché des Enfants rouges – Queuing for a crêpe at Alain

My favourite: Alain, for his gourmet pancakes… and his eloquence! A generous and tasty pancake stuffed with cooked onions, premium ham -rostello or san daniele- and premium cheese -comté or cantal- costs 9€. Moreover it is a true delight to attend its preparation and listen to the chef while queuing. Alain takes his time and talks a lot. So if the queue is already long and if you are in a hurry, you had better choose another meal!

I can also recommend ‘Le Traiteur Marocain’ held by Ahmed: good food, very efficient service and an impressive choice of couscous and tajines, under 15€. I have been attracted by the spicy scents and the lively atmosphere of this stand, which is very popular among tourists in winter. Not forgetting the Japanese stand, Taeko, which is much appreciated for its efficiency and delicious bentos and is about to reopen after a very short closing for renovation.

And if you do not feel like eating a couscous or a bento, one can also find Creole, Italian or Lebanese home-cooked meals; two stands of burgers, whether organic or not, both cooked on the spot and served with French fries (12€); and one stand of bistronomic French cooking whose menu depends on the season -oysters or capon for instance at this time of year-.

One can also choose the Estaminet des Enfants Rouges, a traditional French bistro with a small dining room and a terrace, which serves good food at reasonable prices.

And if you are in the mood for cooking home you can also buy fruit and vegetable, fish or cheese. But while the cooked meals are all value for money, the fruit and vegetable are really expensive… especially the organic ones sold by the greengrocer ‘Chez Wagner’ : they look very beautiful and appetizing but cost much more than in any other Parisian food market. One is in the heart of the Haut Marais, a trendy Boho chic area!

If you leave the market through the main entrance on the rue de Bretagne do not miss the little shop of photographies: Collected. They have a wide choice of beautiful ancient photographies, B&W views of Paris or portraits of Parisians, pictures of actors or taken during movie shootings, … Most of them are from unknown photographers and not too expensive. The ones which are signed or framed cost more. And even if you do not buy anything the shop itself is worth visiting. A pleasant way to end a tour at the Marché des Enfants Rouges.

Marche des enfants rouges - Photographies Shop
Marche des enfants rouges – Photographies Shop

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog

Practical information: Marché des Enfants Rouges – 39 rue de Bretagne 75003 Paris – Tuesday till Saturday: 8.30am-8.30pm (9.30pm on Thursday) – Sunday: 8.30am-5pm – Closed on Monday


Les Vignerons Parisiens: Wine Made in Paris

Paris is not only the city in the world where one drinks the highest quantities of wine. Paris is not only the capital of the most famous country which produces wine, France. Yet Paris is THE capital of wine, THE unique place where to find everything from the vineyards to the glass of wine. Last week I discovered by chance that Paris also has its Winery. It is called Les Vignerons Parisiens and is located near the Metro way out Arts et Métiers. There, since April 2016, wine is Made in Paris. I love Paris and I love wine! So I am happy to share with you this unexpected discovery.

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