Since slowly falling in love with Paris, the cafe culture definitely stuck. If you are in Paris during the week, head into a random cafe on a side street, any of the many, before the workday starts. Men in suits and women dressed to the nines (pretty typical) socializing, conversing with colleagues, sipping espresso (side of water), and reading the paper, all while the ‘bartenders’ are in sync with the morning routine, calling their customers by their first name. I highly encourage you to sit back and watch this magic happen if you find yourself in Paris next to a cafe.
Here are some of our favorite cafes in Paris, cafes with character, charm, and elegance. We were driven to discover the gems of the cafe capital of the world and share them with you here.
CAFE DE FLORE
I am a sucker for stories. Naturally, the history/story of a location plays a large part in my rankings. This café happens to be rich in history, actually, one of the oldest cafes in Paris and draws attention from others because of past clientele. In the heart of the city, off Saint Germain Boulevard, you can watch Paris go by. Although it is now a hotspot for tourists, the ambiance still requires a visit.
LES DEUX MAGOTS
While enjoying the newspaper and espresso, imagine you are where Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso rubbed elbows.
LA MAISON ROSE
Considered one Of the most photographed cafes in Paris. The unique pink building is neatly set on picturesque cobblestone streets and plays the role of the ‘redheaded stepchild’ nicely.
CAFE DE I’INDUSTRIE
Conde Nast Traveler
A cafe we didn’t get to, but have heard great things. A relaxed corner cafe is considered ‘quintessential Parisian’.
Le Recrutement is located in the 7th arrondissement and heavily known for its Effiel Tower views. As shown in this photo, the views do not come from the inside. In order to catch the Effiel you must step outside, but makes for some great Insta posts.
This is declared the oldest café in Paris. It started in 1686. Some say you go for the menu, and others say you’ll stay for the art and high chandelier ceilings.
Yet another café that gets their fame from the past famous persons that used to take their coffee and cig breaks. People like Picasso, Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
CAFE DE LA PAIX
We had a tough time figuring out if this was a café or a museum. Come for the ambiance, stay for the ambiance. This gourmet café is a great stop during the afternoon for a break after long walking. Some say dinner is great, but stop in and check out the Opera House, my favorite free “attraction” in Paris.
LE MOULIN DE LA VIERGE
This ‘bakery’ was the perfect place to stumble upon. Not far from the Champs de Mars (Effiel Tower area) is a neighborhood bakery in the 15th district. The decor and croissants were on point. In hindsight, this is a perfect spot to grab a small bite (sandwich/breakfast) before heading to the Effiel Tower. Knowing this was there, that is what we would have done.
CAFÉ-COFFEE Tip – Coffee is cheaper when you stand at the bar. Most cafes are bar styled, if you choose to sit, the coffee becomes more expensive with a service charge. Something I wanted to point out for the ones that haven’t been or did not know.