Oh so fun at Ô Chateau

By Kathryn Holland Besser

At a recent ‘petit week-end’ in Paris, we happened upon an open secret among Parisian oenophiles: Ô Chateau Wine Bar. The brainchild of Olivier Magny (who helped the outside world discover the ‘quoi’ in ‘je ne sais quoi’ via his blog-turned-best-selling-book “Stuff Parisians Like“, a wry and witty primer on how to affect French cool), Ô Chateau offers a stellar selection of wines by the glass, delectable food pairings, beautiful decor and ultra-chill music capped by a friendly (and bilingual) staff. There’s a reason Ô Chateau has been named “Best Wine Bar in Paris” and received two Wine Spectator “Awards of Excellence”. Their primary focus is to serve the best possible offerings and give guests the keys to confidence in approaching wine. They strive to make wine more fun and its culture more accessible.

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This is immediately evident by the cheerful greeting we received streetside. The most notable aspect of Ô Chateau is its relaxed, casual environment and helpful staff. They have a zero snobbery/zero jargon policy and it’s not hyperbole. After all, their motto is “Taste. Drink. Enjoy.” Everyone is passionate about matching customers to wines and will take the time to delve into preferences before suggesting a number of options. It’s clear they love what they do.

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Born and raised in Paris, Olivier Magny (above, right) eschewed a desk job after graduating from a French Grande École and chose to work in wine, initially employed by the venerated Hotel de Crillon. At the tender age of 23, he founded Ô Chateau as a wine bar that featured private tasting classes. Over a decade later, Ô Chateau has become a wine lover’s landmark in Paris. Since its inception, it has grown to become France’s Premier Wine School (hosting over 100,000 students from all over the world) and the Paris’ largest wine bar. From their collection of 1000+ premium wines, 40 bottles are offered by the glass each week. We were lucky enough to catch two weeks’ worth of tastings by visiting on a Saturday and then a Monday (yes, it was definitely worth a repeat visit!).

In person, Olivier is as charming as you would imagine. We spent a delightful half hour in deep conversation on topics such as wine (naturally), the purpose of hashtags and his passion to show the world that French people really are just like everyone else. Perhaps a bit more stylish though!

In addition to his many hats as wine entrepreneur, teacher and author, Olivier hosts a television show and occasionally blogs about his adventures at www.oliviermagny.com. His latest venture, Les Caves du Louvre, opens this month.

Ô Chateau
Wine Tasting & Wine Bar
68, rue Jean-Jacques Rosseau,
75001 Paris
www.o-chateau.com

The Wine Bar is open Monday through Saturday, non-stop from 4pm to midnight (and until 2am on Friday and Saturday). Reservations are not required, unless dinner is desired. Photos courtesy of Ô Chateau; used with permission.