Cafés are main components of Parisian culture and social life for so long. In fact, the very first Café of Paris was opened in 1686 and still in service today. So when you are in Paris, It is your duty as a traveler to stop by at the best cafés in Paris and watch passerbys.
But what you have to know is there are 2 types of Cafés in Paris; touristy cafés with amazing location & decoration and local coffeeshops with great coffee. It will be completely hypocritical to suggest “oh, avoid really famous touristy ones” because even though coffee they serve is not that great, they are so pretty that it makes you even forget about coffee. So I decided to make a two category list of best cafes in Paris and leave the choice up to you if you wanna visit a charming place or get amazing coffee.
Touristy But Charming
In this cafe, you can find neither best coffee nor best croissant. Also it is quite overpriced and be prepared not to get best service. But still… against all odds, it is easily the best café in Paris for many reasons such as;
*Being best spot to watch people passing by in fashionable district of Saint Germain des Pres.
*If you sit outside, you can enjoy smell beautiful flowers decorating the café.
*Inside of the café, interior is smoking hot, too. Imagine red seating, mirrors and mahogany; true art deco ! It remained the same since world war two.
*It is one of the most famous literary cafés in Paris. Famous regulars of the café was Pablo Picasso, Albert Camus and many others…It was even favorite dating spot of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.
*If you are into celebrity watching, this is probably the best café for that .
So all in all, you are paying for the experience… not the coffee. Its up to you to decide…
172 boulevard saint germain, 75006 Paris | Métro Saint Germain des Près
Three words; best interior ever ! It was built by the same architect as its neighbor Opera Garnier in 1858… So the two really resemble each other 🙂 Think about fantastic frescos, moldings, paintings, big columns, sumptuous draperies, luxurious red leather chairs… In short, it feels like you are inside the opera house and if you are seated ideally, you can enjoy good views of the famous Opera, too. It is not only good for coffee and deserts but also it is a renown restaurant.
It is a must visit place for classical old charm that is still alive !
5, Place de l’Opera, 75009 Paris | Metro Opera
The first Café in Paris… It opened its doors in 1686 which led to birth of French Café Culture. Many historical figures and legends like Rousseau, Denis Diderot, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson sipped their coffee and hang out with their friends at this very café. It is believed that even many ideas of enlightenment such as tolerance, fraternity was first discussed here as well. I think I said enough… even due to its historical importance and ambiance you have to visit this lovely café.
13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris | Metro Odeon
Les Deux Magots is historically the biggest rival of Cafe de Flore… They are located almost next to each other and famous intellectuals such as Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce chose one over the other depending on the day. Today this rivalry continues about who gets the most tourists 🙂 Recently, Café de Flore seems to be on the winning side thanks to the article “A Tale of two Cafes” published in New Yorker.
But still like Cafe de Flore, Les Deux Magots offers the same experience and is one of the best Cafés in Paris for people watching.
6 Place saint germain des pres, 75006 Paris | Métro Saint Germain des Près
In every tourist guide, you can see the following suggestion; “Drink hot chocolate in Angelina Paris”. And it is not without a true reason, hot chocolate here is truly delicious !
Angelina Paris is also historical establishment which opened its doors in 1903. Its most famous customer was Coco Chanel who was seated at table number 10 regularly. She used to drink famous hot chocolate everyday. It was also Audrey Hepburn’s favorite café in Paris, too.
Is the hype for real ? I would say yes…
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris | Metro Tuileries
After Jean-Pierre Jeunet shot very famous French movie “Amélie” , this cute little cafe turned into major tourist attraction. In every Montmartre tour, guides make sure to stop at Café des 2 Moulins for sure… But i think, although it is very touristy it worths stopping by because it truly reflects what classical neighborhood café is like… comfortable, cozy and great to watch lively street market.
15 rue Lepic, 75018 | Métro: Blanche
I included Ob-La-Di Café to list of touristy cafés because it is the most instagrammed café in Paris ! But differently from fellow cafés on the list, Ob-La-Di Café serves amazing high quality coffee, too. In addition, most of the bakery products they serve is vegan, gluten free and homemade.
54 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris | Metro: Saint-Sébastien – Froissart
This small coffeeshop is rather somewhere you can grab a delicious coffee to kickstart your day. There are 4 small tables inside, great work getting some work done or reading newspaper. It is not a spot for people watching or to be seen. In Cafe Oberkampf, its all about coffee…
3 Rue Neuve Popincourt, 75011 Paris | Metro: Parmentier
La Caféothéque aka The Coffee Library, which was opened by Guatemalan Gloria Montenegro, undoubtedly serves one of the highest quality coffee in Paris. Even when you enter the store smell of amazing coffee just hits you. They do not only serve Guatemalan coffee but coffee from all around the world… I read in many blogs here you can even get small briefings about the coffee all around the world… but unfortunately I wasn’t greeted with such kindness. In fact, I would say they were even rude ! It might be due to the fact that place was overcrowded.
Even though service was questionable, coffee was amazing ! So if you want to get great coffee with good service, I advice you to go there early, avoiding rush hours.
52 Rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville, 75004 Paris | Métro Pont Marie
This café opened its doors in 1880 and since then it is known for good coffee. They offer more than 20 varieties of coffee beans , served freshly roasted. And atmosphere of the Café is pure French… The cosy seats in upstairs are my personal favorite.
256 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris | Métro Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre
This is one of the new wave coffee shops in trendy Le Marais area. They serve amazing coffee but look where you would drink your coffee… under the lilies… Even though they serve amazing organic coffee, they are most famous for their teas, this is rather a tearoom in fact. The stuff is very friendly, too.
So if you are looking for nice place to make a pause, this place is just for you…
12 Rue Dupetit-Thouars 75003 Paris | Metro Republique
This bicycle-friendly place became a gem of Le Marais area recently. They serve amazing coffee and it is also good breakfast spot, famous for its avocado toast.
If you are looking for neighborhood vibes and see some true Parisians sipping their coffee, make sure to stop by here…