It is hardly impossible to find a place that feels more Parisian. In the vibrant heart of the Marais lies a little oasis of peace where one can quietly read a book while savoring a good glass of wine.
Its walls lined with bottles and books, La Belle Hortense combines a bar, a bookshop and a restaurant. The books, selected for their literary value, cover a wide range of styles and topics; both classic collections and new releases about currents events are on display, side by side. The waitress will do her best to divide herself between the bar and giving clients advice on the bookshelves. When she's too busy, the books make for a handy pretext to open conversation with other customers. The library bar's reputation as being a popular place for tourists and locals to intertwine is not unfounded. Its crowd international and intellectual, this is a good place to meet local novelists, film-makers, artists, visiting poets, vagabond alcoholics with style and maybe your next boyfriend. The space is intimate, but quite lively and the energy often spills onto the street where people take their glasses and their cigarettes and chat the night away.
On a regular basis, readings and book signings take place at La Belle Hortense. And the room at the back functions as exposition space; every month, a different artist gets the opportunity to exhibit his or her work, which at times, can be of provocative nature. This unique setting, with calm music playing in the background, is also the best for settling down with a good book and a nice wine.
There's a good range of wines on offer, many of which are biological and come from small producers. It is possible to order by glass, carafe or bottle, but knowing that a glass costs 4 to 8 euros, it is much better value to go for the carafe or bottle.
It is also to eat here, but don't be suprised when the bartender runs across the street to pick up your food. As the bar doesn't have a kitchen, the neighboring restaurant Les Philosophes from the same owner supplies catering.
Fun fact: Did you know that the wine bar is named after a book from Jacques Roubaud? In his book La Belle Hortense, he writes about the Marais neighborhood and the writers living here.
- - Open every day from 17:00 to 02:00
- - In Winter, it already opens at 13:00
- - Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Belle-Hortense/132302596816723
- - Address: 31 rue Vieille du Temple, 75004 Paris