Before I moved to Paris, I created a bucket list of places to see, things to do, and yes, coffee to drink. Granted, good coffee is not hard to find in Paris. I’ve spent many an afternoon channeling my inner flâneuse as I savor a café at a typical French brasserie, enjoying the sights and sounds of Paris.
Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with enjoying a café crème at a traditional brasserie. But I harbor an inner hipster who enjoys cafés with kitschy mismatched dishes, eclectic music, and quirky decorations. I love spending time in these cafés reading, writing, or just daydreaming (although this is considerably more difficult to do with the smaller and more popular cafés). Unlike American cafés, many Parisian cafés ban customers from using laptops in their store, especially during the weekend. This prevents customers from monopolizing tables and also encourages actual conversation (quel horreur!).
Despite visiting dozens of cafés, my list continues to grow as I discover new places through friends, Instagram, and recommendations. Below is a list of my current favorite cafés (in no particular order), which I hope will continue to grow as I pursue the never-ending quest for great coffee.
- Chat Mallows Café – I’m an unabashed cat person, and anywhere that combines cats and coffee will always be one of my go-to places. There are other cat cafés in Paris, but Chat Mallows is my definitely my favorite. Their menu is cat-themed, and each item is named after one of their adorable cats. I’ve tried everything from a simple café to the Délice Yoda (photo below). The menu is delicious and creative, and there are props and toys to play with the cats and take pictures. Chat Mallows Café is a unique place to simultaneously enjoy coffee and feline companionship.
- Le Loir dans la théière – This bohemian café is in the heart of the Marais and is themed after Alice in Wonderland. The coffee and tea is great, but let’s be honest – the real reason I come here is for the impossibly large slices of cake and pie (I have no photo evidence since I usually can’t be bothered to take a picture before I dig in to the heavenly goodness). This café doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared to queue, especially on the weekends.
- Café Kitsuné – This café is an Instagrammer favorite, and for good reason. The small café in the gardens of Palais Royal is always crowded with locals and tourists alike. I recommend the cortado or matcha latte (to be enjoyed as you stroll Rue de Rivoli).
- La Chambre aux Oiseaux – Canal Saint-Martin is a mecca of sorts for the hipster café scene. I love the art déco/art nouveau interior of La Chambre aux Oiseaux, and I’ve spent a few afternoons curled up on their cozy banquette reading and writing. (Other great cafés/boulangeries/restaurants by the Canal: Holybelly, Lily of the Valley, Du Pain et Des Idées, and my favorite Mexican restaurant in Paris, El Guacamole).
- Merci – If you love Anthropologie, you will love Merci! Part café, part concept store, this is the perfect place to enjoy your coffee and shop all in one place. You shouldn’t feel guilty about splurging on their luxurious clothes, interior decorations, or stationary, because Merci donates part of its profits for educational development in Madagascar. Don’t forget to take the obligatory picture with the red car in the courtyard before you leave!
- Boot Café – Boot Café is conveniently located near Merci. This is by far the smallest of the cafés I’ve visited, and I had to walk down the street three times before I finally found the place. The café only has three tiny tables, so if you’re looking for somewhere to work, this is not the place. Despite its size (which only added to the twee factor), the coffee is delicious.
- Fragments – Vintage decor and saturated geometric tiles create a cozy atmosphere at Fragments. The drink selections includes iced tea (which will always be a favorite of this southern girl) and a variety of coffee drinks. Fragments is larger than many Parisian cafés and has more work space, so it’s easier to snag a table for you and your laptop.
- Loustic – Retro decor and ambient lighting create a kitschy atmosphere here. It goes without saying that the coffee is great and there is free wifi if you’re lucky enough to snag one of the few tables.
- Café Lomi – If it takes more than kitsch, quirk, and bohemian decor to sell you on a café, Café Lomi is the place for you. Coffee connoisseurs can geek out over the large selection of coffee beans and paraphernalia at the boutique, and the café offers a huge selection of drink options for even the most discerning coffee-drinker.
- La Caféothèque – Like Café Lomi, La Caféothèque is great for coffee aficionados. In addition to enjoying a drink in one of their many rustic-chic rooms, you can also buy coffee beans to enjoy chez toi.
- Ob-La-Di – Ob-La-Di is a small café near République. The blue tiles and fresh flowers create Mediterranean vibes, and the drinks are made with beans from Café Lomi (who also distributes to other cafés in Paris). Also, Ob-La-Di is conveniently located next door to Candelaria, a delicious Mexican taqueria.
I’m always on the lookout for more Parisian cafés, so share your favorite places in the comments!