At this point, after an academic year in Paris, followed by one 10-day trip, and two one-month trips afterward, I can now say…coffee shops like American coffee shops just aren’t a thing in Paris – despite me really trying to find them. You have Starbucks and Costa Coffee, but you don’t really have independent coffee shops that were made for people like me who love to sit in coffee shops for hours. Remember Lisbon? Yeah, Europe isn’t the best for freelance, Wi-Fi hoggers who want filter coffee (but it is the best for tiny cups of strong espresso and sitting street-side people-watching).
On the other hand, Paris does have a few note-worthy American-like coffee shops that have everything an “American coffee shop” would have, just without ample space, plugs, or Wi-Fi to work. Nonetheless, check out these cool cafés in Paris:
Bob’s Cake Shop
12 Esplanade Nathalie Sarraute, 75018 Paris
A bit of Americana in the northernmost arrondissement of Paris, Bob’s Cake Shop looks like a 50s diner in the middle of Oklahoma. I actually came here because I wanted a filter coffee, but come to find out, they’ve got bagels, carrot cake, cheesecake, and even wait for it, wait for it….iced coffee.
Le Comptoir Général
80 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris
Le Comptoir Général used to be on my list of Places I’m Pissed I Never Went To In Paris, so I made sure to not make the mistake of not going this time. When you walk in, you’ll be a bit confused as to what it actually is, and that’s because it’s not just a coffee shop. Le Comptoir Général is huge and they use their space as a hipster bobo coffee shop, a trendy bar, a coworking space, an exposition hall, a thrift store, and probably more things I’m missing.
Les Pères Populaires
46 Rue de Buzenval, 75020 Paris
I’m a big fan of the 20ème. It’s not got much apart from apartments and cafe terrasses, and that’s why I like it. It’s the Paris that tourists don’t visit. It’s not on anyone’s tourist radar and retains much of its working class vibe. With that being said, you’ll almost always find space in here to post up with your laptop on one of their vintage couches. This coffee shop, along with Le Comptoir Général is perfect for those who love a colorful, kitsch-y vibe…and €1 espresso.
24 Rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 Paris
CRAFT is a coffee shop dedicated to “creative freelancers” and works on a unique concept: pay €4 per hour, and you get unlimited food and espresso drinks. Also can I mention the black and white tile is super retro. Anyway, people in the reviews tend to say the same thing that I’m trying to get across here: “Good news for the laptop army – THERE IS ENOUGH SPACE TO PARK YOUR ARSE HERE ALL DAY AND NOT RUN OUT OF BATTERY…” – Channa G, Craft Coffee Reviews
83 Boulevard Ornano, 75018 Paris
I originally came here because I thought I could find a cheap filter coffee for €1 (I don’t need super strong espresso drinks every day, Europe!). In my mind, that meant a Tall coffee for €1, but what it really meant was the half-full cup pictured above. The coffee shop doubles as a restaurant and is located in what used to be an abandoned train station. Clearly it’s been repurposed and you can find many hip Parisians ordering espressos, sitting for lunch in the main room overlooking the train tracks, or just smoking outside…near the chicken coop.
Are there any coffee shops I should know about in Paris? Let me know in the comments below!
In the meantime, check out Good Coffee in Paris for a map of some of Paris’ coolest coffee shops.