For a city that’s perfected the art of sitting in a café for hours on end while reading a book or indulging in guilt-free people watching, you’d think Paris would have decent cafés. And they do, in many ways, but not as far as good coffee is concerned. If you’ve even so much as a guidebook on Paris in preparation for your trip, you’ll know that coffee here, as everything else in France most residents would argue, is no fuss-free affair. The city is filled with cafés with lovely terraces but nine times out of ten, coffee will not only be wildly overpriced, it’ll also be strong enough to scrape varnish off any floor. Save yourself the stomach ache and head to these hip, connoisseur shops — where baristas will happily discuss single-origin beans or roasting techniques — for the best coffee in Paris.
Perhaps the only places where you’ll get a proper, attitude-free latte!
Despite its enviable location down the street from Bon Marché and Musée Rodin, Coutume Café is almost the sole third-wave coffee shop in this part of Paris. Founded by Antoine Nétien — named best roaster in France back in 2011 — this light-filled and quiet spot is very serious about coffee. Can’t afford the time to stay in and grab a bite? Fret not. Take your java to go and enjoy it in nearby Jardin du Luxembourg.
Nestled on a quiet street near bustling Place de la République, this minimalist shop — with just a dozen seats — is known not only for its iconic mint-coloured sets of cup and saucer but also for its rather expansive terrace, which is a delight on the odd sunny day in Paris.
As one of the very first roasters in Paris, the Caféothèque was here long before white-washed coffee shops filled with plaid-clad baristas were ever a thing. The goal, here, is not to be trendy, but instead to serve a mean cup of coffee in one of the busiest parts of the Seine banks.
I always go back to this tiny coffee shop whenever I find myself in Paris, for three reasons: 1, for the enviable location right by Canal Saint-Martin, 2, for the amazing latte, and 3, for the alt-rock soundtrack curated by the Australian owner that sometimes makes it hard to leave. Ten Belles may be a household name in the world of hipster coffee in Paris, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. You can even get a bag of Ten Belles beans as a souvenir!
This being central Paris and this being the coffee shop of a rather high-end French clothing brand, there is no such thing as leaving the Kitsuné premises unscathed by the snotty Parisian Attitude. The coffee is worth it, though, as is the setting: the seating space spills out onto the elegant arcades of Palais-Royal and the countless – not to mention endlessly entertaining – fashion bloggers posing for yet another photo shoot.
In great contrast from the previous address, Loustic is nothing but friendly. The owners are very keen to strike up a conversation, be it about coffee or the Parisian weather — a universally relatable topic and one locals won’t shy from complaining about. The wood-heavy decor, complemented by lush pillows and warm earth tones, is also a nice change from the clinically white shops found elsewhere in the city.
This is the kind of place where the owner refuses to give out the Wi-Fi password for the sake of “customers talking to each other”. Frustrating to some, refreshing to others, the truth is that Fragments and its characterful black facade leave no one indifferent, especially not as far as coffee and nibbles are concerned. The space has strong artist workshop vibes, with exposed brick walls and luxuriant plants scattered everywhere.
Don’t let the “Cordonnerie” sign fool you into thinking that this is a hipster-approved cobbler’s shop. Perhaps the most minuscule of all Paris coffee shops, Boot Café and its now-iconic turquoise hue is indeed a place where beans and cakes are kings as opposed to shoes in need of fixing.
With its large windows right on lively Avenue Ledru-Rollin, Passager is an ideal place to people watch Parisians go about their business. Their coffee is sourced from esteemed Berlin-based roaster Five Elephant and their latte art is a creation of one of the world’s best baristas. Or, at the very least, the most creative.