Frenchie, Wine Director, Sommelier, Restaurant, Paris, France, Where to eat, Where to drink, Where to shop, Wine Bars, Winemakers, Chefs, Sommeliers, Paris, Montreal, QC, Quebec, London, UK, United Kingdom, Influencers, Canada, England, Best Places to Drink Wine, Best Restaurants, Wine Lists, Favorite Wine Lists, Wine Producers, Winemakers, Insider Recommendations, Where to insiders drinks, Industry Crowd


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Q & A


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Paris, France





2nd Arrondissement


5-6, Rue du Nil

75002 Paris, France

T: +33/(0).



Mon - Fri: 7pm - 10:30pm

Frenchie Bar A Vins

2nd Arrondissement

Wine Bar

6 Rue du Nil

75002 Paris, France

T: +33/(0)


Tucked away on the quiet rue de Nil in Paris, chef Gregory Marchand’s restaurant Frenchie is a beloved neighborhood hangout for locals, as well as a coveted destination for travelers. Every week, this quiet street buzzes with activity as people pile into both Frenchie and Frenchie Bar à Vins, which is directly across the street.

Laura Vidal is in charge of the wine program at Frenchie. Originally from Montreal, Laura first moved to Paris to work for a Quebec ice cider producer and hasn’t looked back. The successful collaboration between Vidal and Marchand has drawn approval and accolades from both the French and American press, and most importantly, the clients.

Q & A with Laura Vidal

Q. What is it like to work as a sommelier in Paris? Tell me about the clientele, the expectations, and the vibe.

A. I think that in France there can be a tendency to get quite French-centric when it comes to wine. The French clientele want to drink what they’re most familiar with, and tourists want to drink French when in France. However, Frenchie has developed a loyal regular clientele and they trust me to find them something that corresponds with their taste, no matter where it’s from. As for the tourist clientele, I’m fortunate; it seems as though people are willing to let me guide them, most of the time.

Q. How did you end up working at Frenchie? 

A. After a few months of living in Paris, I went to Lyon for a wine tasting where I met Catherine Breton, a natural winemaker in the Loire (Chinon, Bourgueil and Vouvray). We really hit it off and she hired me to help her work at the AVN (Association des Vins Naturels), as well as to help her sell the Breton wines in Paris.

Frenchie was one of the places that I contacted in order to sell the Breton wines. The phone there is constantly ringing and it’s rare that Greg [Marchand] answers. Luckily, he did answer the day I called. He was looking for someone to take over the wine duties. I was looking for something more permanent in Paris, so I jumped at the chance.

Q. What is your philosophy for the wine program?

A. Gregory’s cooking and his perspective on wine have been profoundly impacted by his extensive travels and having worked in both London and New York. So alongside the selections from France, I make a point of including wines from countries like Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, New Zealand and the U.S. I also strive for a good mix of classics and gems that may be lesser known, but that are worth discovering.

Q. How do you collaborate with the chef?

A. We’ll taste things together to see what works best with new dishes. I change the wine list anywhere from daily to weekly, depending on my mood and how the menu evolves.

I try to have 15 to 20 wines by the glass at any given time, including sweet and sparkling, which gives me some freedom for pairings. When I have challenging elements such as pickles or a smoky flavor in a dish, I often find myself turning to high-acidity Riesling or Chenin to save the day. I also like opening things like skin-macerated white wines in order to encourage people to try things they might not be as familiar with.

Q. Tell us about the food and wine at Frenchie Bar à Vins.

A.The menu format of the wine bar revolves around several small plates, around 70 selections on the wine list, and instead of a by-the-glass list, Aurelien Massé, whom we hired to take care of the wine bar, will just open whatever anyone is interested in tasting. The international theme is very much present on the wine bar side.

Q. What are your thoughts on the natural wine movement?  There’s a lot of strong debate about it these days.

A. I like clean wines. Natural or not, I don’t want my wine to be full of additives. I also don’t want my wine to taste like horse manure or be fizzy for 3 hours when it’s not supposed to because of bacterial problems. Wine has to be delicious and it should be stable -- some wines with no added sulfites succeed in being stable, because they have the tannins or the acidity to keep them in shape.

Many of my favorite producers make clean wines without additives that don’t turn within an hour. In the same way that you can’t just leave the vines in the vineyard to grow haphazardly without any calculated intervention and expect to have good grapes, you can’t leave the wine alone to make itself. It takes a lot of work to make good wine, natural or not.

Q. How important is it to you to travel and to visit winemakers?

A. To be honest, I don’t see how I could do my job in the same way if I didn’t travel to visit winemakers. I feel privileged to meet these people who work so hard to create beauty out of what nature gives them every year. There’s no way I can separate that from how I make my selections or how I communicate with my clients about wine.


Recommendations | Paris

Find | Markets

Shopping at Marche Aligre

Photo Credit: Byron and Tamara [flickr] | ntoper [flickr] | ntoper [flickr]

Marché d'Aligre

For fresh produce and the incredible feeling of the place, especially on Sunday mornings.

[See details.]


Find | Cavistes (Wine Stores)

La Quincave | Les Caves Augé

Photographs courtesy of La Quincave | Les Caves Augé

La Quincave

A charming wine shop full of eclectic and well-priced finds.  There’s lots of great stuff from smaller producers.

Les Caves Augé

It’s kind of an institution; you can’t skip it. It’s one of the best cavistes in Paris.

[See details.]


Eat | Restaurants

Chef L’Ami Jean | Au Passage

Photographs courtesy of Chef L’Ami Jean | Au Passage

Au Passage

The atmosphere is convivial and boisterous, and the food is satisfying and delicious.


I love to stop by here when I want a quick bite and a good glass of wine. The menu is all tapas and small plates, with a compact and well-chosen wine list, and the atmosphere is festive and crowded. Everyone stands at the narrow counters and talks to each other.

Chez L'Ami Jean

Chef Stephane Jego is amazing. Filling food, an extraordinary culinary team, and overwhelming generosity.


The Japanese chef is super talented. It’s a modest little place, but the food is amazing. Whenever I go there, I give her carte blanche and let her cook for me.


Great decor, cuisine d'auteur, very natural & world-curious wine list, friendly service.


This is my favorite restaurant in Paris, hands-down. A couple owns it; she’s French, and she does the cooking. He’s Chinese, and he’s a master of tea. The tea/ food pairings are mind-blowing.

[See details.]


Drink | Coffee

Coutume Cafe

Photo Credit: David Foessel for Cut Architectures

Coutume Café 

For the great welcoming feeling and awesome coffee. For true coffee lovers and the best latte in town.

[See details.]


Drink | Wine Bars

Le Garde Robe | Les Fines Gueules

Photographs courtesy of Le Garde Robe | Les Fines Gueules

Les Fines Gueules

I love, love, love Arnaud Bradol. He is the hilarious and knowledgeable owner of this charming bistro/ wine bar. As far as I’m concerned, this place has the most incredible wine cellar in Paris.

Le Garde Robe

One of my favorite wine bars in Paris, with a solid selection of great natural wines. Helene’s knowledgeable and does a great job.

[See details.]


Drink | Cocktails

Candelaria | The Menu At Experimental Cocktail Club | The Old Havana Cocktail At Experimental Cocktail Club

Photograph courtesy of Candelaria | Photo Credit: naiserie [flickr] | Bex.Walton [flickr]

Experimental Cocktail Club

Perfect for after work drinks on Fridays or random pop-ins on Sunday night. It’s open 7/7.


During the day, it looks just like a taqueria from the front; at night it turns into a crazy party!

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Recommendations | Montreal

Eat | Restaurants

Le Comptoir De Charcuteries | Les Trois Petits Bouchons

Photograph courtesy of Le Comptoir De Charcuteries | Find. Eat. Drink.


It’s a complete experience. The food is flavorful, abundant and simply prepared; the service is attentive and sincere. As a client, you feel that all of the details are taken care of without it feeling fussy or contrived.

Le Comptoir De Charcuteries

Chef-owner Ségué Lepage’s food is great. The service is professional, and Jack Jacob’s wine list is very reasonably priced with tons of interesting finds and great by-the-glass choices.

Le Filet

The sister restaurant of Le Club Chasse et Pêche. Claude Pelletier and Yasu Okazaki’s menu is outstanding. The food is amazing, and the atmosphere is lively. Philippe Boisvert, the wine buyer and sommelier for Le Club Chasse et Pêche and Le Filet, has been one of my mentors.

Les Trois Petits Bouchons

The wine list is awesome. This is where I first discovered natural wines; it was a baptism of sorts.

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Drink | Wine Bars

La Buvette Chez Simone

This is my hotel. I am always there when I’m in Montreal. I think there’s probably a banquette somewhere in there with my name on it.

[See details.]

Recommendations | Wine

Drink | Winemakers

Vines at  Mas Del Perie | Panevino Alvas

Photograph courtesy of Mas Del Perie | Panevino

MAS DEL PÉRIÉ | Fabien Jouves

Fabien’s one of my favorites right now. He’s a young up-and-coming vigneron in the region of Cahors. In a region known for inky, thick, and sometimes searingly tannic reds, he manages to maintain freshness and a mineral character in his wines. He has also started making a number of small-production cuvées without added sulfites, using some ancient grape varieties of the region such as Jurançon Noir. He is an audacious, energetic man, and I think that with time, he could really make an impact on image of the region. 

Az. Agr. Panevino | Gianfranco Manca

I adore Gianfranco’s wines made on the island of Sardinia. He’s a baker-turned-winemaker, and makes beautiful, minimal-interventionist wines from indigenous varieties of the region. The wines are complex and amazing.

[See details.]


Details of Laura Vidal’s recommendations on where to eat and drink in Paris and Montreal.

City Guides

- Paris: Download

- Montreal: Online | Download


Recommendations | London

Find | Wine

Vini Italiani | Caroline Loiseleux

She’s been a mentor. She previously worked at Le Club Chasse et Pêche in Montreal and Itineraires in Paris.

[See details.]