On the hunt for good coffee in Paris

On the hunt for good coffee in Paris

Release Date: Sep 18, 2015

Although Paris doesn’t quite have the coffee reputation that cities like New York and Melbourne have, in recent years specialty coffee has been quickly gaining popularity and an ever increasing number of good coffee shops has been popping up all over the French capital.

A couple of things to note when going on the hunt for good coffee in Paris: a ‘café’ usually just means a shot of espresso, if you want a pour-over, ask for a ‘filtre’ and a ‘creme’ is something between a latte and a cappuccino. However, most specialty coffee shops will adhere to the more familiar international coffee vernacular.

Also, when visiting Paris in summer be sure to first check the cafes’ websites or better yet, call ahead to make sure they are actually open, because many shops are closed in August. For example, some renowned shops like Télescope, Holybelly and L’Arbre à Café were unfortunately closed when we were there. Well, c’est la vie, at least there’s more coffeeshops to look forward to next time we visit Paris.



1. Coutume Café

A beautiful spacious cafe / lunchroom on Rue de Babylone. We made the mistake of coming here at lunchtime. The place was packed with people having lunch and the only seats left were at the counter. Mistake is a relative term though, because the bustling vibe of the cafe added to the experience. And Coutume is busy for a reason. The food is great and the house-roasted coffee is heavenly. Knowledgable and friendly baristas will help you make the right selection from the impressive coffee menu.

In the back is the “Slow Bar” where they roast the beans and make siphon, pour-over and AeroPress coffees. We order a Coutume Cold Brew which is delicate and refreshing and a double espresso which is an Agua Dulce from Guatemala. Strong and fruity, it packs a punch! Ready for more explorations of Parisian cafes!

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2. Fondation cafe

At the time of our visit, Fondation Cafe has been open for about 20 months. Located in the trendy Le Marais district, Fondation Cafe is a stylish small coffee shop, popular with locals and visitors alike, basically everyone looking for a more serious coffee fix.

The Australian owner / barista makes the espressos on a beautiful steel Kees van der Westen Spirit coffee machine. We have a smooth ice latte and a drip coffee with beans from Belleville Brûlerie, the city’s most venerable roaster. They also have some cakes and cookies to go with your coffee. Great place for a quick coffee or stay longer if you can get a table. They have 3 small tables inside and there’s a small terrace in front of the shop.

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3. Strada Cafe

Strada Cafe actually has two shops. The first of the two (and the one we went to) opened in 2012 and is located in Le Marais. A bit unassuming from the outside but a serious little coffee joint on the inside with a comfortable interior and international hip clientele.

They have an extensive coffee menu on offer, even including flat whites. We order a French press with Rwandan beans from a local roaster, called L’Arbre à Café. The coffee is hot, fruity and delicious. Too bad we just ate, because they also do some really nice breakfasts and lunches here.

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4. Cafe Kitsuné (Palais Royal)

Maison Kitsuné is a French / Japanese fashion and music label with stores in New York, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong. Equally popular are the brand’s cafes or coffee stands that all go by the name ‘Cafe Kitsuné’. Most of the cafes are inside or near the clothing shops and, as you may know, we are big fans of the Cafe Kitsuné in Aoyama, Tokyo. The blend of fashion, music and design is impeccable, so it was clear that we had to visit Cafe Kitsuné in Paris while we were there.

In January 2014 the label opened their first Cafe Kitsuné in the heart of Paris, just around the corner from its flagship store. Charming and stylish, it’s actually more a coffee stand as there are no tables inside. However, the cafe is situated beautifully along the Palais Royal Gardens and there is a cool and quiet terrace with about 10 tables diagonally in front of the cafe.

We order two americanos and like many others can’t resist to take place outside in the shade of the palace trees. Slowly sipping our wonderful coffees, we unwind and can’t help but be amazed by how peaceful this spot is, despite being smack bang in the middle of busy Paris. Without a doubt the most beautiful terrace to have a cup of coffee in the center of Paris. And as always, the beans are from Workshop Coffee Co. in London.

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5. Cafe Kitsuné (Le Marais)

While strolling through the fashionable Le Marais district we actually stumbled upon another Cafe Kitsuné. About three months ago, a new Maison Kitsuné opened on Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire and behind the clothing shop is the Cafe Kitsuné (the entrance is on Rue Amelot).

Matching the clothing shop, the interior of the cafe is stylish, minimal and modern. We have a splendid iced americano and sit down on one of the colorful chairs. A nice place to take a break and regain a bit of energy before venturing out into more unexplored Parisian territories.

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6. La Caféothèque de Paris

Opened in 2005, La Caféothèque was one of the first pioneers in the specialty coffee scene of Paris. Both cafe and roaster, the smell of freshly roasted beans permeates the air near the corner where La Caféothèque is located. Upon entering the shop we are greeted by friendly staff expertly preparing the next batch of beans to be roasted. The front is for roasting and buying beans, the cafe is in the back.

With a surprising laid back feel to the interior, there are comfortable benches and there is another spacious section on the corner with big windows and wooden tables and chairs. The whole place oozes coffee expertise and a kind of Latin homey ambiance. We have a subtle and delicious home-roasted Ethiopian pour-over and an immensely satisfying iced coffee. As it says on the menu: “Welcome to the coffee temple!” La Caféothèque de Paris, a coffee temple indeed!

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Other shops worth mentioning:

Belleville Brûlerie (cafe / roaster)
10 Rue Pradier

Fragments Paris (cafe)
76 Rue des Tournelles

Holybelly (cafe)
19 Rue Lucien Sampaix

L’Arbre à Café (cafe / roaster)
10 Rue du Nil

Télescope (cafe)
5 Rue Villedo




by Nik van der Giesen


Nik van der Giesen

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