It has been over a decade since Paris began riding the steadily rising ‘troisième vague’ of the international specialty coffee scene. Here are 14 of the best new wave coffee shops the city has to offer.
Coffee-lovers and people-watchers have been flocking to Parisian terraces and filling the city’s cafés since the 1850s, when Haussmann first made boulevards wide enough to savor a coffee on. What most international visitors used to agree on, despite the charm of the outdoor wicker chairs and the rustic tiled floors, was that Parisian coffee was just bad, and no amount of local charm or sophistication could change that – after all, it’s hard to imagine Jean-Paul Sartre waxing philosophical at Café de Flore while complaining about being served soy instead of oat milk for his macchiato.
Parisian café culture has since evolved to cater to the demands of coffee snobs – both the expat and tourist varieties. It has only been a decade or so since a pioneering establishments began to forge Paris’ identity in the international specialty coffee scene. In a crowded and competitive industry, the Parisian ‘third wave’ movement confirms the arrival of a finesse in the art of coffee production that you might expect for cheese, bread or wine. The French may not have known the word ‘barista’ before, but now these leather-apronned coffee crusaders are becoming as much a part of the city’s fabric as writers, painters, or mimes. From the quirky to the revolutionary and everything in between, here are 14 of the best specialty coffee shops Paris has to offer.
Echo – Deli californien
This effortlessly cool brunch spot in the Sentier area is not a specialty coffee spot per se, but its brews have plenty of bite, bound to satisfy even the most discerning coffee epicurean. Guatemalan blends roasted in Marseille are tangier and punchier, perfectly complementing a ‘California dreaming’ menu by Los Angeles’ Gjusta and Gjelina alumni, Mailea Weger. The modern, colour-infused interior, poppin’ beats, and cortados that accompany every menu item make for a stylish Sunday Brunch – if you’re willing to brave the queue.
95 Rue d’Aboukir, 75002
Partisan Café Artisanal – the Fashion Week crowd
Less a locale and more an institution, Partisan is as cosmopolitan as the Fashion Week crowds that flock this industrial chic establishment in the stylish Arts et Métiers district. The atelier features both an in-house Italian blend and New Wave single origin beans roasted in situ, giving the consumer both the comfort of choice and the thrill of discovery. The full range of drink styles are prepared meticulously by expert baristas, to be enjoyed amidst a cacophony of traffic and chatter, either in the large and luminous indoor space on tiny tables and chairs, or on one of the outdoor terrace’s communal benches.
36 Rue de Turbigo, 75003
Boot Café – The veteran
It may be tiny, masquerading as an old cobbler’s shop, but the discreet Boot crops up in list after list of the world’s best cafés. this hole-in-the-wall Marais haunt demands what the founders see as ‘the only acceptable standard’ of truly ethical specialty coffee. While it’s safe to assume there’ll be a crowd and a queue at any given moment, don’t expect boisterous patrons or a frazzled barista. There’s both a cool and a calm to the energy, whether it’s at one of the eight tiny indoor seats or spilling out onto the pavement outside. The lone barista takes the time to craft the perfect Chemex pour overs, pulling Paris’ own Belleville Brûlerie espressos and even curating a range of matcha and hot chocolate options.
19 Rue du Pont aux Choux, 75003
Terres de Café – Viva la révolution
This award-winning coffee bar from humble beginnings can now be found in eight locations in and near Paris including Versailles and online. Founder Christoph Servelle, along with his team of aficionados and experts, is passionate and outspoken when it comes to revolutionizing the future of coffee production. Other than expertly roasted beans sourced for their purity and high quality, producing light to medium roasted, sweet and aromatic brews, one can expect to find a curated selection of equipment and merchandise for hardcore coffee enthusiasts.
Close to the historic Place des Vosges, Yellow Tucan is yet another rogue trader in not only specialty coffee but also roastery blends. With its sunshine yellow facade lighting up a quiet street in the Marais, banana leaf plants lining the facade window, turquoise splashback and jungle green upholstery, this tropical oasis nods to old-world Paris without shying away from an ever growing variety of premium blends ranging from medium roasts to tangy flavors.
20 Rue des Tournelles, 75004
ARTESANO – Mexican coffee, lifestyle and photography
Founded by artist and barista Arturo Valentino, the specialty coffee, lifestyle and photography store ARTESANO sits close to the banks of the River Seine in the charming Saint-Paul village. Both sleek and serene in its minimalist layout, the café is proudly devoted to Mexican specialty coffee and its production chain: from bean, to harvest, to extraction to cup. Admire the artworks on the walls and an eclectic selection of books to peruse, or soak up some sun on the outdoor bench. The boutique features take-home beans roasted in Paris.
3 Rue Saint-Paul, 75004
Noir – Coffee shop & torréfacteur
With an ever-growing number of locations and pop ups in and around the city (the most impressive, on the Île Saint-Louis, boasting a spiral staircase and a secret room), Noir is another café and roastery chain with no end to their expansion in sight. Selections of the world’s best Arabica offerings are gathered and brought together to be roasted at the workshop in Saint-Ouen before being distributed to Noir baristas, producing some of the finest flat whites, espressos and filter brews in town.
63 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 and other locations
Le Compagnie du Café – single origin
On a busier stretch of hip South Pigalle, dubbed by locals as SoPi (there’s even a SoPi blend for you to take home), La Compagnie du Café has found the sweet spot as both a bruncherie and an in-house roastery. Reminiscent of a New York diner in its menu, music choices and laid-back vibe, the back of this surprisingly roomy space is reserved for its hard-working roastery and haphazardly stacked bags of fragrant beans bursting at the seams. Here, traditional roasting methods are tailored in an attempt to highlight specific flavours and notes of each and every single origin gathering sourced.
19 Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, 75009
Residence Kann – Scandinavian by Design
Tucked away from the lively Canal Saint Martin, the Residence Kann café is an offshoot of parent furniture brand Kann Design. On the crowded terrace, neighborhood locals exchange pleasantries and compare their dogs in a space that fuses the conviviality of old-world Paris with the functional simplicity of Scandinavian Design. Follow the narrow corridor lined with books and magazines to a co-working area where you can settle in with a Smørrebrød tartine and a perfectly balanced cup of Stockholm’s award-winning Drop Coffee brew.
28 Rue des Vinaigriers, 75010
Câlin Matin – Parisian hygge
Cosily nestled in a calmer part of the up-and-coming 11th arrondissement, Câlin Matin (meaning ‘morning cuddle’) focuses on seasonal food and organic coffee. The simplicity of its offerings is matched by an inviting interior made up of wooden tables, fairy lights and comfy armchairs in reading nooks. The coffee is robust and just sharp enough, served in hand hewn ceramic mugs for a deliciously warm hygge experience – that Scandinavian concept of plush, indoor comfort. A darker roast that doesn’t overpower but rather perfectly encompasses cosiness and a feeling of overall contentment.
9 Rue Auguste Laurent, 75011
The Beans on Fire – The collaborative
The first of its kind in Paris, this collaborative roasting facility offers much more than just high quality coffee. With roasting classes, barista training sessions, and the facilitation of trade relationships for new micro roasters, both the Montmatre and 11th arrondissement locations are not just hubs but also platforms for up-and-comers in coffee production. The 11è emplacement looks out onto the neighboring small park of the sunny Square Maurice Gardette.
7 Rue du Général Blaise, 75011 / 61 Rue des Trois Frères, 75018
Café Tabac / Cafe Genovese – Aussie-owned Italian espresso bar
This Australian-owned Italian espresso bar with an authentically Parisian shopfront perches nonchalantly on a hillside in Montmatre. In their own words, ‘Music, magazines and newspapers replace wifi’, with locals and tourists gathering in the spacious but minimalist interior or on the 20-seat outdoor terrace. Expect excellent coffee by Italian roaster Genovese, light savory bites, homemade pastries and the incomparable energy of Paris’ most artistic neighborhood on a weekend morning.
1bis Rue Ravignan, 75018
Clove – Coffee, chocolate and ceramics
This locally owned Montmatre café is more an atelier bringing together a multicultural array of artists and their crafts. The spacious and beautifully designed interior boasts beans by Amsterdam’s Dark Coffee Roasters and Belgian Independent roaster The Picky Chemist, tea by Artefact Marais, chocolate by Nicolas Berger, and ceramics by Afghan-American potter Ella Fatima. This fine curation works beautifully in tandem, creating a uniquely calming experience with coffees of varying flavors, scrumptious pastries and light bites.
14 Rue Chappe, 75018
Two Doors – The New Yorker
Get ready to be transported to the boroughs of New York in this Montmartre haunt complete with distressed walls, LED lighting, white tiled countertops and hipster merchandise. Hip-hop beats soothe a younger crowd inside, with chatty terrace-dwellers taking their coffee al fresco. Excellent brews are accompanied by a range of crisp pastries and deli-style sandwiches.
27 Rue Francœur, 75018 Paris