Paris: A short list of cafés that actually serve good coffee
By Bryan Pirolli in Paris—
Paris is known for its café culture – lounging on a terrace all day long with a good book, some writing, and fantastic people watching. But when it comes to the actual café, the consensus among coffee-enthusiasts is that Paris doesn’t really brew the best cup of joe in Europe.
Blame the beans, blame the roasting, blame the machines, but the Parisian café takes a back seat to powerful and delicious Italian ristrettos or perfect Scandinavian lattes (who knew the Danish were so good at making coffee to go with their own national pastry?). It’s not that Parisian coffee is undrinkably bad; but, honestly, it wouldn’t take much to make it better.
Coffee snobs, however, fear not. In the past few years, there has been a coffee revolution with the opening of coffee shops selecting better quality beans, roasting locally, and properly pulling shots from some serious equipment. Whether you’re pining for your favorite New York coffee shop or a proper flat white from London, you can now find the cure in Paris without breaking the bank – too badly, at least. Here are some of the addresses to test.
Related: Also check out this 2014 post that lists new cafes in Paris that also serve great coffee.
52, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75004
Metro: Pont Marie or Hotel de Ville
If you’re in the Marais, stop in at the Caféothèque, a shop that has been roasting beans in Paris since 2005. A cup of the café du jour will set you back €3, not the cheapest by Paris standards, but it’s sure to please. The seating area can get quite cozy on the weekends, but they are expanding next door, so keep an eye out for more spots soon. They also have some pastries, but maybe stick with the coffee.
62, rue des Martyrs, 75009
Metro : Pigalle, Notre Dame de Lorette or Anvers
Kooka Boora, by trendy rue des Martyrs, is a relative newcomer to the coffee scene. With outdoor seating and superb people watching, their coffee is serious business. Their filtered brew is fantastic and flavorful, unlike anything you’ll find at the corner café, and at €2.50 for an espresso, it’s not that much more expensive. If you’re hungry, the cakes aren’t bad and worth a splurge.
47, rue de Babylone, 75007
Metro: Sèvres Babylone
During a brunch at the newest place to obsess over coffee, I fell for Coutume Café and their rich café allongé. Tucked away in the 7th arrondissement it’s not in the center of activity, but for a weekend brunch it could be worth the venture. The pastries and brunch burrito goes down fantastically with one – if not three – of their house-roasted coffees.
Le Bal Café
6, Impasse de la Défense, 75018
Metro: Place de Clichy
If you’re looking for good coffee off the beaten track, just head west of Montmartre towards Place de Clichy. Just north of the bustling square is Le Bal Café. Stop inside or on the terrace with a friend and split a small pot of locally-roasted filtered coffee for €5. They even have photo exhibits for culture-seekers or scones and pastries for, well, the rest of us.
Hopefully more quality coffee spots will open up in more arrondissements, in the near future, but the choices remain limited at the moment. If you’re an even bigger coffee snob that imaginable, you might just want to save yourself the pain, pack some beans, and buy a souvenir French press for your hotel.
Or just drink tea.
Your favorite shot?
Do you have a favorite café to add to our list? Do you disagree with our entire post and find the coffee served in Paris’ cafés to be perfect as is? Share your thoughts in our comments section.