Though I was hopeful for spring with my last post, this week’s on-and-off flurries of snow have officially confirmed that winter is not yet over.
In fact, this has been the strangest, coldest winter I’ve experienced in Paris so far. Today, alone, has been proof of divine indecision: one minute, unbelievably large snowflakes are floating in the air; the next, the sky is clear and blue; and, then, it’s masked in grey, bone-chilling cold.
Whether you’re just visiting or actually living in Paris, one of the coziest escapes from the weather is shelter in one of the capital’s endless array of wine bars. Just recently, we discovered one that was especially inviting- and hidden away from any tourist crowd.
Le Rouge et le Verre is located in Paris’ 9th arrondissement, not too far north of the Palais Garnier opera house and right near the church Notre Dame de Lorette. This area may not get the same attention as the neighboring 1st and 2nd arrondissements (home, for example, to the Bibliothèque Nationale, Place Vendôme and the Louvre), but I enjoy walking around its somber streets and stepping into its cafés/bars for the unexplored, authentic atmosphere I always feel.
Soon as you walk in this cave à vin, your eyes roam the rows of wine bottles lining the walls (arranged by region and identified with rustic wooden signs, of course). The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly- with most customers coming in to ask for pairing advice and purchase a few bottles. In the evenings between 5pm and 8pm, however, you may enjoy a glass of wine and a plate of cheeses or charcuteries. This is where I was introduced to a monastic cheese from Brittany called “Timanoix.” A semi-hard cow’s milk cheese, it’s made with nut liqueur which gives it a pleasant, almost smoked and nutty flavor.
As for the wine, Sébastien and I each ended up with a glass we’d now recommend. With my cheese, I took a 2005 Margaux, Les Gondats de Marquis de Terme (the young man helping us said this hearty red wine would go well with the meat plate as well). Sébastien opted for a 2007 Irancy, Domaine Heimbourger, a light and refreshing white wine.
For anyone who likes oysters, it’s the season to enjoy these, too. You can either take them to go (sold out front) or sit and eat them with a glass of wine.
Address: 8, rue Maubeuge (9th)
Telephone: 01 48 78 68 43
Metro: Notre Dame de Lorette
It’s snowing again, by the way…