O Chateau Wine Bar and Tastings in Paris

Ô-Chateau Wine Bar in Paris

Sometimes I go back into the archives and pull up a post to refresh it. Perhaps the hours have changed, they’ve moved, or something else prompted me to tweak the entry. But a lot has happened since I first wrote about Ô Chateau wine tasting programs. First off, since I wrote about them, they’ve moved – twice.

Ô-Chateau Wine Bar in Paris Ô-Chateau Wine Bar in Paris

Now in their third, and final, location, they’ve expanded their tasting areas, adding a smaller one for more intimate events, and expanding the main tasting room in the cave. (Guided tastings start at €30.)

Ô-Chateau Wine Bar in Paris ochateau

But the biggest change is that there’s now a full-scale wine bar and restaurant. So for folks that want to taste some wine with a trained French sommelier, perhaps with owner Olivier Magny (who is also the author of Stuff Parisians Like, where he casts a humorous glare at his fellow Parisians), you can do that. But if you’re just interested in having a glass of wine, along with something to eat, the wine bar allows you to do that.

Ô-Chateau Wine Bar in Paris Ô-Chateau Wine Bar in Paris

I’m by no means a wine expert but of the forty wines that are stocked in the cruvinet-style wine refrigerator, you can drink a €5 glass of whatever the house is pouring during their happy hour, or splurge on a glass of Yquem, which will take a big chunk out of your wallet, but you won’t be the same for the rest of your life after tasting it. I’m still reeling from a generous sip I had back around 1988.

Ô-chateau wine bar in paris

The kitchen is now under the direction of Campbell Whitman, a graduate of Cordon Bleu in Paris, whose family owns a small winery in California. But the food isn’t stodgy at all, and when I went with my recent tour group, we were all delighted to snack on wooden boards of excellent foie gras de canard, generous slices of nutty Bellota Spanish ham, and even house made desserts. I’ve been back a few times and the food at the wine bar is better than many of the restaurants in Paris, including mashed potatoes that will make you raise a glass to toast Monsieur Parmentier, the gentleman who prodded Parisians to eat potatoes by tricking them into swiping what they thought was a precious crop, which staved off famine.

(UPDATE: Campbell Whitman has moved from Paris and is no longer at Ô Chateau but the new crew in the kitchen is still turning out innovative fare.)

veal and mashed potatoesolivier magny at Ô-chateau wine bar in paris
Vintage Champagne at Ô-chateau wine bar in parisscallops at Ô-chateau wine bar in paris

Because Olivier speaks a variety of languages, with startling fluency, you’ll find the place staffed by people of various nationalities, as well as guests from around the world. So if you’re a lonely, solo (and timid) traveler – as I sometimes am – you’re like to find someone speaking your language here. And either Olivier, or one of his English-speaking sommeliers, will take you on a tour de France of wine.

At a recent tasting, I learned a few things about French wine, such as the average price that a person pays for a bottle of wine in France is €3.60, color doesn’t indicate sweetness in French wine – such as in rosé wines, and France has 150,000 wineries versus 1600 in California. And there are 800 wineries in Saint-Émilion alone, the same amount as in all of Australia.

Ô-Chateau Wine Bar in Paris

France makes 23% of the wine in the world, you can’t show people having a good time and enjoying a glass of wine in ads for wine in France, close to 47% of the women in France don’t drink wine, and because of global warming, the south of France will be producing less wine and northern parts of the country and Europe, such as Normandy and England, will likely become more important wine-producing regions.

Still, for most of us who live in France, and for folks coming for a visit, wine is an important part of French culture. And if you’d like to learn more, either by tasting with a trained wine expert, or just on your own, Ô Chateau is one of the few places in Paris which gives you the option of doing either.

Ô Chateau
68, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1st)
Tél: 01 44 73 97 80
(Map)



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27 comments

  • Funny you should mention the 5 Euro glass of wine…one of the things that always amazes me is how inexpensive really good wine can be in France. I understand that the French government offers some subsidies to wine makers, but I think that’s brilliant. Much as I love corn, I’d rather have a portion of my tax dollars going to grapes;).

  • Nice post, David. I haven’t tried the food yet, but I participated in two tasting classes at the old location and would recommend them – especially the introductory course which is a steal for ~30€.

  • Is that a little salad in the photo — with tomatos
    and scallops? Looks wonderfull…

  • Is that asparagus wrapped in what in the photo? Also I think the average I pay in the US for a bottle of wine is $10-15. Parmentier sounds like a fascinating guy — thanks for the history lesson. And MUST stop by O Chateau when I come to Paris.

  • I’m not a big wine drinker, but Olivier picked the absolute perfect wine for me the last time I was at O Chateau. With the right sommelier, maybe I will *become* a bigger wine drinker!

    I was surprised to read that 47% of French women never drink wine. I guess I’m not in such bad company when I normally pass then.

  • I know it wasn’t the thrust of the article, but I really appreciated the lessons in the last paragraph! As a non-drinker, that kind of trivia is perfect for small talk around a dinner table! Thanks for the education, David!

  • We visited in July, after I became a regular reader of Olivier’s blog and added O Chateau to our “must do”s. We expected great wines, but were unexpectedly thrilled to discover the food. It’s a great experience all around–we loved the open atmosphere, too. You’re making me regret not splurging on the Yquem! Next time…

  • Olivier is also funny as h*ll. His book “Stuff Parisians Like” is a great read if you love all things Paris.

    I’ve been to two of the O Chateau’s locations and can’t wait to see the new location. I wonder if it will be their last?

  • What an neat place! And some great wine facts- especially the amount of wineries in France vs. California.

  • I too have been to the different O Chateau’s locations, or shall we call it the company’s evolution. This wine bar is definitely the best one yet.

    On a recent visit to Paris, my friends and I started there for drinks, followed by more drinks, then moved across the room to a table for dinner(fantastic duck), dessert(mmmm, chocolate!), and finally a nightcap of my very first glass of Yquem.

    And then I went back a night later for another nightcap of Yquem! Truly heaven. If you have the opportunity, do not dare to pass it up!

  • What do the 47% of French women that don’t drink wine drink?

  • The new O Chateau wine bar has become one of my favorite places to relax in Paris. I’ve spent a fair amount of time there with friends, basking in the gorgeous ambiance, savoring all varieties of wines and champagnes, along with their incredible charcuterie. Olivier and Nico have outdone themselves!

  • Nena: Coca Light and Coca Zero (two diet versions of Coke) have become pretty popular and I see a lot of women drinking them in cafés, likely because many are concerned about their ligne. On the other hand, beer seems to have become the drink of choice – with alcohol – in a lot of places.

    Margaret: They’re green beans. Parmentier is a fascinating figure and important to France. So much so that there’s a métro station in Paris named after him..as well as a dish, Hachis Parmentier, which is a meat casserole/pie topped with…what else? Mashed potatoes!

  • Well, I for one would up the price paid per bottle…. I think I’ve not yet bought any wine at that low sum; but maybe that’s including all the ‘vins de table’ in plastic containers etc.?!

    The other info standing out is the fact (statistic… which is not the same thing!) that 47% of French women don’t drink any wine – well, that’s rather shocking news. :)

    Yes, Ô Chateau IS without any doubt THE best known wine bar in Paris; everything is just so wonderful and as one would see more places being run – truly recommendable. As a maybe interesting side remark: When I want to know more about a place I tend to look up TripAdvisor. Out of nearly 400 comments, only 2 are in French, so it looks as if it were a place where mostly English speaking people go to… And it’s true, it’s a very international scene, relaxed, friendly, smiling!

    Never had any Yquem…. shall I put it on my birthday wishes list????

  • Wow, I was there … last night !! I had those scallops – they were awesome, as was our tasting before that and the rest of the meal afterwards :) !!! What a wonderful place, and you are so great to review it !! Love your books, your site, I’m loving Paris :)
    merci, David !

  • David — you and your blog are so interesting…thank you! You give us so much free information — glad you are finally getting $ from new pastry app.

  • That scallop, tomato, cucumber dish looks amazing!

  • I’ve just booked dinner for 2 for our visit to Paris at Christmas, can’t wait. But which wine should we start with – looks like there’s too much to choose from!

  • I really enjoy seeing Olivier and participating in his wine tastings each time I am in Paris. His newest place is beautiful and welcoming!

  • David-

    My husband and I visted “the cave” during on our first night in Paris in ’09. Oliver was awesome. It was the perfect way to kick off our visit to the city – by helping us to learn how to navigate a French Wine Menu (a task I’m pretty good at in the states)! He also gave us amazing restaurant recommendations and a GREAT wine tasting. Defintely a highlight of our trip…I cant wait to go back.

    Dreaming of Paris,

    Fallon

  • They can’t show people enjoying wine in ads??? really? Why?

  • Fun read…I’m forwarding it on to my oldest daughter. She resides in northern CA; employed by a lovely, local winery. She’ll enjoy this post, just like her mum. :)

  • I was at O Chateau this summer with my sister and we loved it! We didn’t have Oliver, another equally handsome frenchman, but he was great too. What a cool space.

  • I’m with the others above. Why can’t you show people enjoying wine online and what do the women of France drink instead of wine?

    • I’m not sure about the advertising, but I think there is likely some law in place that is intended not to glorify drinking or alcohol consumption. (The government also lowered the permissible amount of alcohol allowed for driving due to an unfortunate number of accidents.)

      As for the percentage of women who don’t drink wine, it likely has to do with them not wanting to gain weight. So many people here drink Coke Light and Coke Zero instead. Also beer has become a popular drink of choice in cafés as well.

  • Okay skip the question about what they drink. I saw you answered that above. My apologies

  • I will sure visit next time I will go France. As you wrote lot of wine shops/wineries/winemakers…and very high quality like in Spain, It’s difficult to know which one choose once you are there, then it’s good to know about them first and then go directly. Thanks for sharing!