The Best Places To Play Chess In Paris

Chess: a game spanning over 1,500 years of history │
Chess: a game spanning over 1,500 years of history │ | © ABW174
Paul McQueen

Is there a better way to spend an afternoon or evening with friends than silently plotting their imminent and colossal demise? No, if you’re honest with yourself, there isn’t. Which is precisely why the game of chess has survived for more than 1,500 years and why it is played regularly by a 10th of the planet’s population. To help you satisfy your intellectual bloodlust, here are seven trendy places to play chess in Paris.

Jardin du Luxembourg


Luxembourg Palace in Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France.
© VogelSP / Alamy Stock Photo
There is no chess battleground more legendary, or for that matter picturesque, than the Jardin du Luxembourg. Any day of the year, come rain, hail, or shine, a band of faithful players and spectators will be gathered around its numerous tables – which are free to use and open to everyone – and, in the actual event of inclement weather, under its wrought iron pavilion. Tournaments are regularly organized and the locals are usually happy to be challenged by newcomers – just don’t expect them to go easy on you. The park opening hours shift with the seasons but, usually, if it’s light out then it’s open.

People Drug Store


Not so long ago, you wouldn’t have stepped foot on Rue des Martyrs – now you can hardly move on it for all the new bars, restaurants and shops in need of your immediate inspection. People Drug Store is, without question, one of the coolest of the bunch. It stocks more than 500 varieties of beer, a fine selection of organic wine, and the best ciders from Brittany and Normandy. But, more to the point, it is literally overflowing with avid chess players who, when the inside tables are all taken, set themselves up on crates all along the street outside the bar.

Open every day, 12PM to 12AM.


Cafe, French

L’Anticafé has four locations in Paris: Beaubourg, Louvre, Olympiades and République. Each of these popular co-working spaces operates a pay-by-the-hour policy in return for unlimited snacks and drinks. The atmosphere is cozy and relaxed, truly a place to make yourself feel at home while you tap away on the old laptop. But the cafés have another side: they are also the site of some of Paris’ most intense chess showdowns. Details of upcoming tournaments can be found on their website.

Open Monday to Friday, 9AM to 10:30PM, and Saturday and Sunday 10AM to 9:30PM.

Quai d'Orsay


There is more and more to see and do along the river Seine and, with the recent announcement that a great swathe of the right bank could follow in the left bank’s footsteps by becoming pedestrianized, that trend seems to show no sign of slowing down. If you have a chess set of your own, there is no shortage of spots in which to play. However, towards the Quai d’Orsay there are a number of tables with boards painted on them. So, if you have the pieces but no board, you can head there and share with everyone the hilarious anecdote that led you to such an unusual state of affairs.

East Bunker

Bar, French

In addition to being an all-around great bar, with live jazz music on weekends no less, and located in the happening neighborhood of Canal Saint-Martin, the East Bunker is also an official meeting place of the Fédération Française des Echecs. The organization runs a competition here every Friday night and entry is 6€ for adults and 3€ for juniors. If you think you’ve got what it takes to enter and win, fire an email in the direction of Xavier Rubini.

Open every day, 6:30AM to 12AM.

Teddy's Bar

Bar, Pub Grub

What Teddy’s Bar lacks in looks and sophistication (unless stuffed toys hanging from the ceiling and Formica tabletops are your thing) it more than makes up for in warmth and charm. Popular with students of La Sorbonne, it is in the heart of the Latin Quarter and more often than not packed with locals and tourists alike looking to soak up the jovial atmosphere and cheap drinks. Add a spirited game of chess into the mix and it’s a guaranteed good time.

Open Sunday to Thursday, 3:30PM to 1:30AM, and Friday and Saturday, 3:30PM to 5AM.

Le Fumoir

Restaurant, French

At the opposite end of the style spectrum is Le Fumoir. This 1920s-era bar, restaurant and lounge by the Louvre is the perfect place to curl up on a Chesterfield sofa with a friend, coffees (or cocktails) in hand and a chessboard between you, and while away the afternoon. The victor can also treat the loser to a delicious meal and a bottle of something special from the extensive wine list. Or vice versa, depending on how cruel you are.

Open every day, 11AM to 2AM.
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.