Paris Travel

A Guide to My Favorite Cafés in Paris + How to order coffee en français

When you think of a café in Paris, the iconic Café de Flore comes to mind. With it's vertical garden, trademark logo, and lively terrace on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, Café de Flore is one of the most recognizable, and instagrammable places in the French capital.

When you think of a café in Paris, the iconic Café de Flore comes to mind. With it’s vertical garden, trademark logo, and lively terrace on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, Café de Flore is one of the most recognizable, and instagrammable places in the French capital. I lived in Paris for a whole year and never once stepped foot in said incontournable establishment. The café is popular due to it’s history of being a hangout for philosophers and writers in the early 20th century. Is the food and coffee even good though? Or do people brave the busy joint just to say the’ve been there and take a pretty photo of their coffee? Have you even been there? What do you think?

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Photo by Valentin B. Kremer on Unsplash

As I mentioned before, I lived in Paris last year for my Master’s program in French. When I went to cafés in the city of lights I searched for ones that I could work on my thesis in, that had a friendly ambiance, and offered dairy-free milk alternatives. None of those things are particularly French, however Paris is a cosmopolitan city so I knew I was bound to find some home comforts as an American expat abroad. While writing my thesis and enjoying la vie en rose with my international friends, I acquired a list of go-to cafés for every occasion. Since I was a student at the Sorbonne and I lived in the 5th arrondisement, most of the cafés on my list are in the Latin Quarter.

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Studying/Working

In France, cafés are a place of relaxation and socialization, so there aren’t many places that allow you to bring your computer in to work, but nowadays co-working cafés are becoming more popular.

Jozi Café

  • Ambiance: Jozi Café is located on rue Valette, just left of the Panthéon and behind the Sorbonne. Small interior, but it’s usually never too crowded, as most students are probably working in library Sainte-Genevieve next door. My favorite place to sit is the bar which faces the street so I can people watch as I work.
  • Prices: €€ Average for Paris
  • Drinks: Coffee, tea, and juice. My favorites are the cappuccino and the mint tea.
    • Dairy Free Alternatives: Yes
  • Food: Breakfast, brunch, sandwiches, and pastries.
  • Work: You can work on your computer, but it is restricted  during lunchtime. They also have outlets to charge your devices. WIFI available.
  • Métro: Maubert-Mutualité (Line 10)

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Strada Café

  • Ambiance: On Rue Monge, close to the Jardin des Plantes and Paris 3 is the lively and work friendly Strada Café. Most people come here to work, have casual business meetings and eat lunch. This café can sometimes get crowded so you may not always find a table.
  • Prices: €€ Average for Paris
  • Drinks: Mostly coffee. My go-to is the cappuccino or the Mocha if I feel like treating myself.
    • Dairy Free Alternatives: Yes, for about 50 cents extra
  • Food: Traditional café food, pastries, and sweet breads. I always loved to try their cake of the day which was usually some kind of chocolatey banana or coconut bread.
  • Work: You can work on your computer and they have some outlets. WIFI available.
  • Métro: Cardinal Lemoine (Line 10) | Right bank location on Rue du Temple – Rambuteau (Line 11), Hôtel de Ville (Line 1), and Filles du Calvaire/Saint-Sébastian Froissart (Line 8)

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Meeting up with friends

What better way to catch up with friends than meeting them for coffee, especially in the usual rainy and gray Paris? Of course you can always have a moment for yourself and bring along that new book you bought from a bouquinist along the Seine or a journal for writing about your time in one of the best cities in the world.

Dose

  • Ambiance: Tucked away on the timeless rue Moufftard, is the trendy “coffee dealer” Dose. I found out about this cute café as I was looking for shade and air-conditioning during last summer’s scorching canicule. The outside had a small, but cozy terrace under a covered street. The interior gives off a hipster vibe with the use of wood and Earth tones in their minimalist interior design.
  • Prices: €€ Average for Paris
  • Drinks: This is the place to go if you are a coffee snob. As a dealer de café, this coffee shop puts an emphasis on their blends and brewing tools. You can even purchase coffee to make at home at their store or on their website. This is also one of the only places besides Starbucks that has iced coffee in Paris!
    • Dairy Free Alternatives: Yes
  • Food: Pastries, salads, brunch
  • Work: I saw other people co-working inside and I even wrote a blog post outside on the terrace.
  • Métro: Place Monge (Line 7), Cardinal Lemoine (Line 10) |Right bank location Batignolles – Brochant (Line 13) and Malesherbes (Line 3)
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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Judy Cantine Qualitarienne

  • Ambiance: Although more than a restaurant than a café, Judy, a “qualitarian cantine” is bubbly and inviting café filled with light colors, light wooden tables, and plants. A great place to eat lunch or have a coffee.
  • Prices: €€ Average for Paris
  • Drinks: Coffee and other “wellness” drinks like a “Golden Milk Latte,” herbal teas, juices and more! A classic coffee or chai latte was my usual order.
    • Dairy Free Alternatives: Yes
  • Food: They offer gluten-free and vegan breakfast and lunch items as well as healthy takes on desserts. They also serve some meat if the veggie lifestyle isn’t your thing. You can even pick up food to go if you’re having lunch in the office!
  • Work: I worked on my laptop there a few times.
  • Métro: Sainte-Placide (Line 4),  Rennes (Line 12), and Luxembourg (RER B)
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Photo by Megan Markham on Unsplash

Salons de thé

Okay, so the next couple of places, aren’t technically cafés, but I wanted to include them on my list for my non-coffee drinker readers out there. A salon de thé is the perfect place to get that insta pic or just to treat yourself to a fancy tea and pastry!

Angelina

  • Ambiance: Very fancy and somewhat touristy, you may be wondering why Angelina is on my list. It’s a classic, that’s why!
  • Prices: €€€ On the pricier side
  • Drinks: Coffee, tea, wine, and their famous Chocolat chaud à l’ancienne dit « l’Africain ». Get the hot chocolate! It’s rich and super creamy.
    • Dairy Free Alternatives: Only regular milk/cream.
  • Food: Breakfast, brunch, sandwiches, and signature pastries. Their claim to fame is the Mont Blanc, but I would recommend a Paris-Brest instead!
  • Work: No, this is a place to enjoy food and drink.
  • Métro: Palais du Luxembourg  – Odéon (Lines 4 & 10) |Rue de Rivoli – Concorde (Lines 1, 8, & 12) and Pyramides (Lines 7 & 14).
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A Mont Blanc and Hot Chocolate

Bread and Roses

  • Ambiance: A charming teahouse and bakery close to the Eastern side of the Luxembourg Gardens. Sometimes you just want to treat yourself to a fancy tarte aux framboises and rose herbal tea and feel like British royalty.
  • Prices: €€€ On the pricier side
  • Drinks: Tea, coffee, and juice
    • Dairy Free Alternatives: Not unless you just have tea!
  • Food: Fresh baked bread at the bakery and assorted pastries in the salon. You can also have lunch there.
  • Work: No, this is a place to enjoy food and drink.
  • Métro: Sainte-Placide (Line 4),  Rennes (Line 12), and Luxembourg (RER B)

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Honorable Mentions:

These are some other cafés that I’ve either just visited once, or were not my go to spots:

  • Coffee Spoune – Great study café – cute panda designs on their lattés
  • Café Mericourt – Brunch
  • Today Tomorrow – Vegan food
  • Neighbors – Bruch
  • 2 Bis Café – Cheap
  • VG Patisserie – Vegan pastries and coffee
  • Shakespeare and Company Café – It’s next to an iconic bookstore

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Chains

I wouldn’t recommend going to a chain in Paris when there are so many great cafés, but if you are in a rush these places haven’t failed me yet:

  • Paul – Classic French café food
  • Café Columbus – American style coffees and muffins
  • Starbucks – Do I even have to say anything?
  • Cojean – Healthy food and drinks on the go with veggie options

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On my list

These last few café are places I never got around to visiting, but plan to try on my next trip to Paris:

    • Café Kitsuné – Yummy looking matcha and beetroot lattés
    • La Grand Mosquée – Did you know there is a café inside where you can order fresh mint tea?
    • Café de Flore – Just to say I’ve been there and to get a pretty instagram picture of course!
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Photo by Valentin B. Kremer on Unsplash

Not sure how to order coffee in French? Check out this vocab list I made!

how to coffee

* In Paris you can even skip the “Je voudrais” and just say “un café s’il vous plaît” because “je voudrais” is very polite and somewhat formal! You could also say “je prends un café” – “I’ll take a coffee.” Don’t forget to say hello, please, and thank you – bonjour, s’il vous plaît, merci !*

Thanks for reading and I hope you get to try out these cafés when you visit Paris! Let me know which café you’d love to visit or if there is a café you would add to my list!

Bisous,

Camden

P.S. Save this guide to your Pinterest by clicking on the graphic below!

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4 comments

  1. I’ve only been to Angelina and la Grande Mosquée of the cafés you mentioned. I didn’t get into café culture until later in my stay in France, so it looks like I need some catching up! I also recommend Café Oberkampf and Ten Belles to check out; they were my favorites when I was still in Paris! Bonne dégustation chez toi!

    Liked by 1 person

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