Favorite Paris Cafes?
Since there is no central repository or even an easily-searched thread(s) about cafes in Paris, it would be lovely if those reading this thread who have visited Paris could name one or a few of their favorites, if so inclined.
Cafe in this context: A good, solid cafe - breakfast expresso, lunch plats, simple dinner and drinks - in the neighborhood a visitor is staying in or visiting. So any place you've visited is fair game, since that's probably someone's temporary neighborhood.
Phil D named Le Nemrod in the other thread where I mentioned this (thank you). Any others? I'm sure they would be appreciated by many people.
For the record, I like Saint Cirgues Cafe in the 7th (for the fresh food, opens early and closes in the mid-evening), and Le Zinc in the 15th (food and people watching, opens early, stays open late.)
I also like Café Suédois at the Swedish Institute in the 3rd. Open 12-6, I believe. Great place for a light lunch, but was very crowded on my last visit, probably due to the increased popularity of the area; before it was very peaceful. I'll try it again at an off-hour.
Any particular quartier ?
But let me get my shotgun out and blast some untargetted suggestions:
Café de l'Epoque near the Palais Royal
Le Select on the bd Montparnasse
La Rotonde in the bd Montparnasse
Au Petit Suisse on the rue Vaugirard near the Luxembourg
Le Rostand near the Luxembourg
Le Petit Café on the rue Descartes in the 5th
Café de l'Alma in the 7th
Le Petit Bar in the 1st
Le Bougainville in the 2nd
L for Liza (boulangerie for takeaway falafel and superior Lebanese nibbles) on the rue de la Banque in the 2nd
Cave Beauvau (wine bar/ cantine) on the rue Saussaies near the Elysée Palace in the 8th
Courtyard café at the Petit Palais in the 8th
La Maison on the place St Ferdinand in the 17th
Colorova on the rue l'Abbé Grégoire in the 6th
Le Flore in the 6th
La Palette in the 6th
La Rotonde in the 14th
Les Trois Garçons in the 15th
Carette (continuous-hours salon de thé, not café) in the 16th and 4th
Huré on the av Victor Hugo in the 16th
Le Français on the place Bastille in the 4th
Le Charlot in the 3rd
Le Progrès in the 3rd
Le Pure in the 11th
etc etc x 100
To Parn's list:
- La Bascule in Abbesses
- Le Progrès in Abbesses (18) also
- Marcel, on the corner of avenue Junot and Villa Léandre, which I consider the most beautiful intersection, even for Paris
- Tribal Café on the Cour des Petites Ecuries
- Bô Man in the 9th
- the café at the musée Jacquemart-André.
These cafés are nice places for meeting friends over a cup of coffee. The food is not the focus. It has what I call "do" food, as in this'll do.
One does not go to a café to eat unless one is stuck (1) working nearby, or (2) staying in a hotel with no access to a kitchen.
A couple more : le Fumoir behind the Louvre, la Tartine on rue Rivoli, le Petit Vendôme in the 2nd.
The last may not be continuous hours but in the right mood, the cuisine and boisterous ambience can be just right. Otherwise I'm with Parigi on cafés and what to expect food-wise (and have no idea why this statement from an internet stranger is shaming or otherwise).
But good for you GetLucky for putting up this thread. Light a candle instead of raging against the dark. Or both if you prefer.
We particularly like the Cafe des Beaux Arts on the quai, corner of Rue Bonaparte. Fabulous view of the Seine, great for seeing people (not sure what qualifies as people watching), good coffee and drinks, excellent service. Food ordinary.
What needs to be said in this thread is that a favorite cafe is something that is personal. It is a place that you visit a few times and make your own. Another person may or may not find the same ambiance that you do, nor might you find much special from his favorite. There is a different set of parameters involved in attraction to a cafe and a bistro or restaurant. This is why, perhaps, not much wordage has been addressed on Chow France recommending specific cafes.
"What needs to be said in this thread is that a favorite cafe is something that is personal. It is a place that you visit a few times and make your own. Another person may or may not find the same ambiance that you do, nor might you find much special from his favorite."
True, which is why it is nice for visitors to have a varied list to investigate. People may also establish a rotation of favorites for different reasons. The food may be quite good at one; the food may be fine but not as good at another - but the more bustling atmosphere and people-watching potential may be worth the slight dropoff in food quality, if one is in a certain mood. Or some may have one favorite each in several districts, all different. For me, Saint Cirgues is about eating or coffee; Le Zinc is more about fun, though overall the food is pretty good IMO.
I like L'Autre Cafe in the 11th. The food, other than the plat du jour (usually good), will set off no fireworks. But the drinks are good, and the atmosphere is appealing. It's big and airy (though no terrace) with lots of people using the Wifi or reading for hours during the day, and it's rather energetic at night.
There's a cafe that we've often used for breakfast, as we've rented the same apartment a few times. A juice, cafe, baguette/butter - the perfect start to a day.
Of course, I have no idea of the name, but from it, you're looking at Place Leon Blum, and it's fairly quintessential. Wait, it looks like Le Rey on Rue de la Roquette, according to google maps. Not the one directly across from the Voltaire Metro exit.
A tearoom that serves breakfast/tea/lunch/brunch is Aux Cerises on Suffren in the 15th. A few blocks from the Eiffel Tower- kind of closer to Motte-Picquet, though. I believe the owner used to work in fashion, so the decor is very cute and charming. Prices slightly on the higher side, but good, fresh, food (love the cakes) and coffee/tea. I liked it much better than the more well-known and older Les Deux Abeilles in the 7th.
To say you've been there and done that while not breaking the bank, order oeuf mayonnaise at Cafe Voltaire, the quai at rue du Bac.
Some fondly-remembered places need to die a natural death, sadly, and they are living off their reputations. Alec Lobrano wrote a nice essay about that in his book. That's why a board like this is needed to warn people away from the venues riding on (extremely long and often prestigious/historic) reputations and suggest other options.
I would now classify Le Relais Odéon as a tourist trap... still okay for a cuppa on the terrace but otherwise pretty blah. With the Café des Editeurs on the other side of bd St Germain, the splendid terrace of the Café de l'Odéon (part of the theatre) just down the street on the place de l'Odéon and the delightful Au Petit Suisse just a few minutes more, there are easy alternatives for better café grub.
Yup. Cafe de l'Odeon is hard to even get a seat at.
I've had good times at the Pub St. Germain <facepalm>. I just checked their website and cracked up at their intentional tourist trap effort. I should be banned from the Latin Quarter, but I'd probably just hit Maxim's half a dozen times....
We've tried to let the other thread about the reaction to tourists go, but this needs to not become another one of them, please. We'd ask that everyone stick to actually discussing cafes here.
No you don't need to be a trillionaire. But equally you must also recognise that Paris streets are not paved with restaurant gold. So do as much, if not more research, than you do when you look for good food anywhere.
Your food radar won't be tuned to Paris so it needs more work, and Paris is full of tourist trap places aimed at the mass market "food is fuel" tourist. So lots and lots of dangers for the unwary - and its no coincidence they look like all those cute places in the movies, books photos etc.
I do not wander about stumbling into cutesy places. I did go by guide books, which were useless and out of date. Hound recommendations may be the way to go, or local food sites if can find them. 40 years ago in Belgium or Paris it was impossible to eat bad food. Frites and crepes on the street were wonderful. Now it's impossible to get good food without research, and luck.
"I did go by guide books, which were useless and out of date." - guidebooks no doubt aimed at the very food is fuel tourists.
Tourism grown exponentially and has changed over the past 40 years as has food. So it isn't any wonder things are different.
I bet the same is true in your home town - forty years ago diners and bars would do decent food. Now its all fast, mass produced and chains.
Forty years ago I had less choice but the quality was better, these days there is far more choice but quality is more elusive.
The danger with Paris is the romantic notion that it is stuck in a gastronomic time warp. Full of pretty cafes and bistros run my a husband and wife that has been in the family for generations....the reality is very different.