Paris has long been a destination for food and culture. Today we take a look at some of the city’s most chic cafés.
BY TANYA NANETTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT
Photos by Tanya Nanetti
The French capital can welcome anyone interested in specialty coffee. Thanks to a broad and differentiated offering of cafés, there’s something for everyone in Paris, from locals to tourists. We covered a portion of the city in the December 2022 + January 2023 issue, but there’s always more to discover in the City of Light. Here’s a list of five more Paris cafés perfect for satisfying even the most persnickety coffee lover.
Substance Café, for the Coffee Connoisseur
Picture an unusual coffee shop—a white interior, a U-shaped bar that seats 15 people, and minimalist décor that includes the perfect choice of coffee tools. There is colorful origami on the wall. There’s no space here for takeaway cups or sugar. There’s only a simple menu listing a dozen coffees to be brewed as espresso or filter coffee.
Behind the bar is Joachim Morceau—barista, roaster, and Q Grader. Substance is his dream; it’s a showcase of the beautiful coffees he chooses to roast and brew. Even more, Substance is an experience. Joachim explains each coffee he brews, while customers suddenly become friends by sharing their own knowledge. Just grab a spot, and in no time a couple of hours will pass. You could chat with a stranger who is a famous barista, a coffee roaster, or someone new to specialty coffee.
Coutume Café @ Galeries LaFayette, for Art (and Shopping) Lovers
One of the most famous department stores in the world, Galeries LaFayette, is famous for being a shopping mecca. It’s also known for its stunning Art Nouveau architecture. Here, in one of the internal balconies overlooking the magnificent glass dome, stands a busy coffee shop that, miraculously, doesn’t belong to a big coffee chain.
Unlike shops in most department stores, the coffee is supplied by a local specialty-coffee roaster, Coutume Café. Experienced baristas pour delicious lattes in one of the most stunning locations in all of Paris.
Hexagone Café, for Off-the-Beaten Track Explorers
If you dare to wander, you won’t regret it. This may be true in life, but it’s definitely true if you’re on a coffee trip around Paris. Hexagone Café, in the 14e arrondissement, is half an hour by metro from the central Île de la Cité, but definitely worth the detour.
A delicious specialty-coffee roaster in a quiet corner, Hexagone is the perfect place to take a little rest away from the madding crowd. Here you can drink a good coffee, chat with friends, or flip through the pages of one of the shop’s books.
Novels, coffee magazines, coffee books … there’s something for all tastes. Even if you can’t read French, don’t forget to have a look at Le café, c’est pas sorcier (which translates to “coffee is not rocket science”). This book was co-written by Sébastien Racineux and Chung-Leng Tran, two of the four friends who founded Hexagone.
Loustic Café, for Those Looking to Feel at Home Away from Home
Not too far from the famous Centre Pompidou sits a small coffee shop called Loustic Café. Open for almost a decade, Loustic is the place to visit when homesickness kicks in.
Here, the interior décor wisely mixes colorful wallpaper with exposed walls and mirrors. Couches, small tables, and mismatched chairs blend in perfect harmony.
Behind the bar, Channa, the owner, serves up a carefully curated menu. Alongside specialty coffees (extracted both in espresso and Chemex), she offers a long list of teas, soft drinks, and perfectly crafted warm-flavored lattes (rooibos, turmeric, and many more).
Here, it’s easy to find a couple on their first date, someone reading a book, or strangers chatting in a corner. This is the magic behind Loustic: The small café has established itself as one of the warmest in Paris, perfect for fighting the blues on a rainy day, and for feeling at home when you need it most.
Motors Coffee, for Explorers Who Want Coffees from Afar
Motors Coffee, despite its location in the touristy area close to Les Halles, has managed to become the reference point for all specialty-coffee lovers looking for something different.
Instead of offering quick, cheap drinks to satisfy the casual customer, Motors Coffee does the opposite. The beans for pourover and espresso come from some of the coolest roasters from around the world, with a preference for lightly roasted beans, bright and funky in flavor. Skilled baristas, focused on both brewing the perfect coffee and sharing coffee knowledge, work behind the bar with a warm smile and a friendly attitude.
A small offering of delicious homemade pastries wins over even the hardest of hearts, while the cool industrial interior and a lovely (occasionally) sunny terrace create a welcoming space. Motors Coffee is a special place, perfect for the curious coffee drinker.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.