experience - Parisian Cafés
Written by Marilane Borges
Nothing beats a conversation tête-à-tête around a good cup of coffee in a bistro located in the historic tourist district of Paris.
The café is a true historical institution of the country; every corner of Paris is filled with them and the French are culturally passionate for espressos – strong, full-bodied, and fragrant – one of the most requested drinks. These places were once marked by the presence of writers, revolutionaries, intellectuals, and artists from the past, leaving deep marks in French culture, and yet they still convey a certain romantic air to the regulars of these historic cafés.
When the weather warms and the sun shows its rays, the famous café tables that line the pavements become the busiest places in the city. The challenge is to literally get a table under the sun.
If you are a tourist tired of strolling and want to people-watch, the legendary Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés (one of the most philosophical districts of the City of Light) is a great option, with its glazed bays that create little hideaways.
Once frequented by writers such as Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, who used to say that the paths of liberty pass through Flore, these two cafés located next to each other are amongst the most famous in the world.
Not far away, the Café Les Éditeurs is unforgettable thanks to its comfortable sofas in red velvet, and its collection of over 5,000 books, which can be read in situ – a true haven for intellectuals and lovers of reading. Still in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, La Jacobine is tucked away in an old gallery near the Metro Odéon, a hidden gem that has a dessert menu with names that evoke delicate delights.
You can spend the whole day in a Parisian café between alcoves and elegant glazed bays, just enjoying the toing and froing of customers and enjoying a round of coffee, invariably served with mini-macaroons or mini-croissants.
The Café de la Paix, which dates from 1862, had regulars such as Toulouse-Lautrec and Oscar Wilde. Everything in this place breathes history. It is said that Wilde would sit according to his mood of the day. One side of the Café de la Paix gives rise to the Theatre Opéra Garnier and the other to the Boulevard des Capucines, one of the most classical locations of Paris. The Café de la Paix is the ideal place to have a coffee under shelter and enjoy an array of elegant pastries.