oysters in a stack in paris

The 7 Best Places for Oysters in Paris

A Guide to Oysters in Paris

By Sadra Sumner

Oyster season in France runs from late September through April, following the classic rule of any month with an ‘R’ in the name.  You can still get oysters outside of these months (and at great prices) but the best ones will be found in the chilly season. Standing around a cozy bar table with some crisp white wine is our favorite way to taste these delicacies.  With autumn just around the corner, we thought we’d share our favorite oyster addresses with you. And we’ll even give you some tips and tricks on how to make the most out of it.

Our Favorite Oyster Bars

The Baron Rouge
This places kicks off the oyster season in mid-September on Saturdays and Sundays, but it’s a great bar to hit up any time of the week.  You can order your fare to eat sur place or have some shucked for you to take to nearby Bastille.  Bring your own bottle, no matter how big, and fill it up with their surprisingly good wine-by-the-barrel for an excellent off-the-premise picnic.  

 

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Le Mary Celeste
Known for their cocktails, the oyster game at this trendy Marais joint is equally on point.  Take advantage of in-season happy hour oyster prices.

 

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Avant Comptoir de la Mer
The gang over at AC knew exactly what they were doing when they expanded their already popular quick-bite bar into a seafood oasis.  Swing by this St. Germain favorite for a few oysters before your dinner reservation. Couple it with a glass of natural white to start your evening out right.

 

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Bulot Bulot
A lot of anglophones aren’t familiar with the less trendy whelk, the namesake of this hip new bar in the 18th.  But fear not; oysters are their true calling card. Fine, Speciale, and Papillon all hailing from Normandy grace their menu.  Not sure which one is for you? Keep reading!

 

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A Guide to Oysters

France is known for its western seaboard with three separate oyster growing regions: Cancale, Marennes-Oléron, & Arcachon.  The latter two offer types known as Fines and Fines de Claire, although they traditionally hail from the Marennes-Oléron region.  These are refined oysters, grown in marshes (claires) that allow for optimum production and a controlled growing environment.  Cancale offers the rare flat oysters (Belon) and the more traditional rounded oysters (Japanese).

While not comprehensive, this short-list of oysters most commonly found in Parisian bistros will help you decide what will be on your plate.

First for the numbers.  00-6: the smaller the number, the bigger the oyster.  6’s abound on shared platters while the 0’s & 00’s are usually reserved for high-end restaurants or as an ingredient among many others in an oyster-rich dish.

Papillon: the smallest you’ll find, these are great for sharing with a large crowd or as an apéro.  Creamy, smooth, and easy to eat a dozen.

Fines & Fines de Claire: very common in bistros around the capital.  These are smaller and make for a great choice if you’re just getting used to oysters or if you want a lighter, less intense flavor. They mature for two months and are usually cheaper because of their en mass production.

Speciales & Speciales de Claire: these will be larger with a bit more bite than the Fines; a great step up if you’re a novice oyster-eater.  

Pousses en Claire: these are the beasts of the Claire family; they’ll sometimes double in weight during their 4-month gestation period.  Richer and fleshier than their cousins.

A Few More Suggestions

If you’ve already pictured yourself getting your hands dirty with a full seafood platter, try out some of these places.

Huîterie-Régis
Pricer than most oyster places, this little gem is lovely for a special dinner.  They don’t take reservations so arrive early!

Clamato
This Parisian hot spot is simply the best when it comes to perfectly cooked fish.  It’s also pricier than most, but the atmosphere and wine selection make up for it.

Le Bar å Huîtres
Found at three different locations around Paris, this is where you want to go for those big seafood towers.  Charm is compromised for choice in this platter-heavy seafood oasis.

While we’re sad to see the summer fade, we’re always excited about diving into a big plate of these slippery lil fellas.  Only a few more months until the holidays, where oysters will be joined by foie gras, snails, cheese for days, and lots of bubbly to wash it all down at nearly every Parisian restaurant.  Check back then to see our favorite places for feasts during the fêtes!

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