Paris cafes are a vital part of french culture and society.
They are more than simply a place to have a coffee; catching up with friends, meeting a date, grabbing a quick bite for lunch or simply sitting with a book and reading, are all popular ways to enjoy cafes in paris.
When you are in Paris, you will never be far from a cafe – they are in every neighbourhood and virtually every street corner.
The Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots are two famous Paris cafes, both in the St-Germain neighbourhood (170 and 172 bd St-Germain).
Painters and writers used to come here – Picasso, Sartre, Oscare Wilde and Simone de Beauvoir were regulars. Victor Hugo, Balzac, Flaubert and George Sand all lived in the streets nearby.
Today, these Paris cafes are popular with celebrities and fashion types (Karl Lagerfield likes to come here apparently!) – as well as tourists. So, while prices for a coffee might be a bit hefty, it’s fun to go, just once!
Some of the best Paris cafes are the ones that aren’t listed in the guidebooks, though. Here are some of our favourites that we’ve discovered (don’t forget to bring a map!)
Charming and Cosy Paris Cafes
Enjoying a café creme and croissant
- L’Heure Gourmande is a cosy little cafe in the pretty covered passage Dauphine. This is a great spot for lunch or a hot chocolate (‘chocolat l’ancienne’) after shopping in St-Germain;
- Le Loir dans la Théière (the doormouse in the teapot) is a relaxed type of place with comfy sofas, in the Marais (3 rue des Rosiers). Good for Saturday and Sunday brunch; delicious quiches and cakes;
- La Fourmi Ailée is in the Latin quarter near Notre Dame (8 Rue du Fouarre). It’s very cozy, with a fireplace and bookcases on the walls. Great for cold autumn or winter days;
- A Priori Thé is an American-run tearoom in one of the prettiest covered galleries in Paris, Galerie Vivienne. Great coffee, teas, and light lunches; their desserts are excellent (extra large servings of cheesecake!). Good for a rainy day; near the Louvre (35-37 Galerie Vivienne);
- If you’re in Montmartre, there is a lovely garden café in the Musée de la Vie Romantique, a museum dedicated to George Sand (the café is open May-September only). Great for coffee, lunch and snacks (delicious cakes and tarts).
Paris Cafes: More Ideas
Paris cafes aren’t all about coffee. How about a luscious hot chocolate drink, or an exotic tea?
For something luxurious, you could try a Paris tea salon, such as Mariage Frères. Mariage Frères is the oldest tea house in France, with over 400 kinds of tea. It’s a great place to buy gifts, like tea-scented cookies and teapots.
The salon doesn’t just offer tea though. Lunches and snacks are on offer, too (such as gorgeous pastries), as well as Sunday brunch. Mariage Frères is a real treat (just be prepared, there may be a queue for a table). There’s one in the Marais district – 30 Rue du Bourg-Tribourg.
If you’re looking for something sweet to have with your coffee, Ladurée has some of the best pastries around, and is famous for its macaroons. These macaroons are probably different from the ones you get at home. They are made up of really light almond meringue cookies sandwiched together, and come in a huge variety of flavours and colours (try the divine rose petal or pistachio).
There are several Ladurée shops in Paris (and around the world – they have a shop in Harrods, London); we like the one in St-Germain (21 rue Bonaparte) with marble mosaic floors, wall murals and chandeliers.
Paris Cafes For Hot Chocolate Fans
The French are serious about their hot chocolate. A Paris hot chocolate is pure indulgence (and very filling). Not for the faint hearted! The legendary Angelina on 226 rue du Rivoli is famous for its rich chocolate concoction, the ‘africain’.
Angelina’s is decadent and over the top – gilt, mirrors and marble. Chanel and Proust used to be regulars; it’s now popular with tourists, and hosts fashion shows. Angelina is near the Louvre and Tuileries gardens.
Paris Cafes that are Funky and Different
Les Cakes de Bertrand is a boudoir, retro type café (in the Montmartre district, 7 Rue Bourdaloue), good for the girls! Yummy hot chocolate, not too sweet. Also sells accessories – little bags and jewellery. Great for Sunday brunch.
La Charlotte de l’Isle is a very charming café on the main street of the Île St-Louis, the little jewel of Paris. This café is great for tea, coffee, sublime hot chocolate and homemade cakes (but only open Thursday to Sunday…). It’s been around for over thirty years.