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On Natural Wine and Where to Drink It in Paris

Natural winemaking in France and where to drink in Paris

Le Siffleur de Ballons, Palmyre Roigt

There are a ton of things we consider when choosing where to eat out: the ambiance of the restaurant, the chef’s specialties, price, and proximity are a few aspects often that affect my choices. While the quality of the food served is probably the first thing that occurs to us when reserving a table, I would argue that the wine menu is equally, if not more, important when choosing where to dine while in France.

Ever since discovering natural wine in 2012, I have begun to seek it out as a sign of quality and good food and drinks to come when choosing where to eat, and this method rarely lets me down. It also often brings welcome surprises, such as encounters with inspiring food industry professionals and the discovering of off-the-beaten-track addresses.

Natural winemaking in France and where to drink in Paris

Le Siffleur de Ballons

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Bistrot Meets Beaujolais: Natural Wines and French Fare at Café de la Nouvelle Mairie

HiP Paris blog. Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie. Natural light and natural material decor.

One of my favorite memories of Café de la Nouvelle Mairie in the 5th arrondissement is from Beaujolais Nouveau night in 2014. Tucked away on a quiet street just behind the Pantheon, Café de la Nouvelle Mairie only claims a small sidewalk terrasse as its outdoor space, yet when things get lively – and many an evening they do – wine drinkers and bons vivants spill out into the street and onto the small, tree-lined island that separates the occasional two-way traffic.

Traditional bistrot fare paired with an extensive list of natural wines make the Café de la Nouvelle Mairie a recommended addition to your Paris itinerary any night, but for Beaujolais Nouveau I can’t think of anywhere else in the city I’d rather go. The annual event, which is held on the third Thursday of November, celebrates the first wine that is bottled from that year’s grape harvest. The young wines are enjoyed as an extended celebration of the harvest season and all the wine to come.

HiP Paris blog. Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie. Counter decor.

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Heimat: Chef Pierre Jancou’s New Paris Restaurant

Heimat Restaurant: Pierre Jancou's latest gastronomic bistro near Paris' Palais Royal

I knew we were in for a treat at Heimat the minute we walked in the door. For one of Paris’ most anticipated new restaurants, located in the swanky Palais Royal neighborhood, my expectation was to encounter that certain form of snobbery that increases the closer you get to the center of the city. But the greeting at Heimat is just the opposite; despite being housed in a stony cellar space on rue de Montpensier, the welcome is warm, as is the lighting and the conversation that fill the cavernous yet cosy dining rooms.

Pierre Jancou, the man behind Racines and Vivant, seems to have stepped back from the pretense of his earlier exploits in opening Heimat. It offers a legit list of natural wines, but clearly has an interest in making these wines, and the food they are paired with, accessible to a curious lunch crowd. Heimat joins a handful of comfortable dining spaces – Café de la Nouvelle Mairie and Le Siffleur de Ballons also come to mind – that prove that natural wines have found their home in Paris, and the restaurants that serve them no longer need to have an achingly cool aura or inflated prices.

Heimat Restaurant: Pierre Jancou's latest gastronomic bistro near Paris' Palais Royal

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