When you think of France, you likely think of wine. And when you’re in France, do what the French do: drink wine. Sure, you could have dinner with wine or visit a wine bar (“Bar à Vins”). But most likely you’d just get your glass of wine and maybe with some nuts on the side. A more interesting thing to do is go to “Un Cave à Manger” or “Cave à Vin”. Think of it as a place to have a little wine plus some small plates of food, charcuterie, and cheese. I went to such a place on the left bank and it is now one of my favourite places in Paris to drink and to eat: 5e Cru.
5e Cru (Cinquième Cru). It is a wine bar aptly named as it is located in the 5th arrondissement in the Latin Quarter near Boulevard Saint-Germain. There are two times in the day to have a good visit at 5e Cru: for lunch or before dinner (L’heure de l’apéro).
L’heure de l’apéro
The French love having an apéritif before dinner. This is called “L’heure de l’apéro (aka “happy hour”) and it starts at about 5 pm. Typically an apéritif is a drink such as a kir (cassis liqueur and white wine) or pastis. But what makes 5e Cru unique is the enormous selection of wines (over 300) and the opportunity to have your wine paired with cheese and charcuterie (meats such as ham, sausage, terrines, or pâtés).
For my visit, lunchtime was more convenient and my waiter recommended the Petite Ardoise mix which consisted of charcuterie and cheese because this is something that might be served during l’heure de l’apéro. The plate presented to me had 3 cheeses, 4 meats, a paté, and gherkins. One of the cheeses was so soft I thought it was butter.
I paired this little feast with white wine from the Angers area of France. It was named “L’Echalier”, from Domaine Bertin Delatte and it was a delicious organic wine. Usually there are about a dozen wines available by the glass. To finish my lunch I had a wonderful pear caramel dessert. Including a tip, the meal came to 25 Euros (about $37). The cost of wine was only 4 Euros a glass!
At the end of my meal owner/chef/sommelier Jean de Rotalier was nice enough to come out and talk to me about his establishment. He was extremely personable and modest……and certainly has created a great environment for locals to gather, drink and eat.
Produits du Terroir
At 5e Cru, you can also buy wine and regional gourmet products (“produits du terroir”) so even if you don’t have time for some wine and food (shame), you should check out what 5e Cru has to offer.
5e Cru is located at: 7 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine