A wine bar in Paris. Yes! But then different. Chai Parisien seduces friends and wine lovers alike with “Le Bon JAJA”. It is the Paris we love.
I’m going to talk about Paris again. Not about the buildings, the churches, the monuments, but about un bar á vins. Located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, at 6, Rue Marguerite de Rochechouart you can find a wine and tapas bar, wine cellar and a shop all in one. When I visited Chai Parisien I did not make an inventory of the wines, nor tasting notes, but let myself be guided by Benjamin, one of the masters of the house.
Le Chai Parisien is not just a pastiche of words
Chai (pronounced “shay”) is the French word for wine storage or barrel storage room, Chai Parisien is both. Besides the cuvées on the shelves, there are two vats of 5 hl and two vats of 3 hl filled with natural red wine from the Côtes Catalanes region, a Sauvignon de Touraine from Cave Ackerman, a Côtes de Bordeaux Cabernet Franc/ Merlot blend from Château Pardaillan located in Blaye, and wine from Domaine Poujol near Montpellier.
A place where grapes are king
The Parisian cellar is above all an adventure for wine lovers and friends. And that’s how Chai Parisien came into being too. Childhood friends Camille and Benjamin – they were students at the same high school Lycée Français de Tokyo – imagined one beautiful evening in 2017 a place where the world of wine could be celebrated, where friends could drink a good bottle of wine munching on a plate of tapas. A successful crowdfunding campaign helped them realise their dream.
In the heart of the 9th district
The two friends found a small nugget of a place in Paris, a former bazaar spread over two floors, where they created a refined and unusual light and airy bar and cellar with exposed stone walls. The hundreds of bottles are displayed in a large wine library -with custom-made shelves by a cabinet maker – that goes up to the ceiling. The two friends asked the young chef Elena to create the tapas menu using fresh, quality products from artisanal producers. Charcuterie from Aveyron, cheeses from the Frescolet house in Paris, small truffled croque-monsieur, a juicy burrata from Italy, and more.
What makes Chai Parisien different from other wine bars is the idea of transporting a wine cellar -un cave ou chai- into the heart of Paris. In the cellar, you can tap the wine directly from the vat with a piston. These vats work with a thermoregulated tap system under nitrogen so as not to oxidize the wine when you tap it. The origins of wines in the vats change regularly and, once the returnable bottle has been purchased, you can come back to “refuel” and discover new flavours.
The atmosphere at Chai Parisien is friendly and warm. A light wooden bench runs the length of the establishment and takes your eye to the back of the room with the wine vats. Here you can taste wines from all French regions but also from the rest of the Old and New World. The spirit of conviviality and sharing is just as we like it.
PS On the point of leaving, Benjamin tells us that they also created a Parisian cuvée named Padam Padam to revere Paris and France’s great music star Edith Piaf.