A five-minute walk from Père Lachaise cemetery, this is one of Paris’s largest, most classically beautiful spaces among speciality coffee shops. Picture windows let in incredible light at all times of day. Other decorative features make it a warm and inviting place to linger over coffee: soft, rounded lines, varied floor tiles, massive mirrors, marble pedestal tables, Thonet bistro chairs, and well-placed plants. The menu covers all the heavy hitters, from filters to flat whites and golden lattes. The hot chocolate is worth ordering for anyone who keeps off caffeine. Food options are limited (but go well with the drinks!). The owner, Englishman Daniel Chapman, has wanted to serve light lunch fare and brunch but has yet to find the right chef. In the meantime, he serves granola, divine cookies (some of which are gluten-free), and a rotating selection of cakes.
Address: The Dancing Goats, 117 Av. Gambetta, 75020 Paris
Les Deux Magots
Yes, it’s a tourist honeypot, but it’s also a classic with its impressive Post-War literary history and write-home-about-it profiteroles. Once the drinking hole of Simone de Beauvoir, Ernest Hemingway and Albert Camus, the world-famous café took its name from a fabric and novelty shop on Rue de Buci’. Once fully ensconced in its red leather banquettes with brassy railings and chandeliered-and-pillared room, it’s easy to imagine the riveting conversation and debates in the cafés Post War heyday. While today, its traditional menu can but humour a writer’s salary, the morning pastry baskets, foie gras-on-toast lunches and extensive list of ice cream (that all typically arrive in tall glass bowls) are well worth waiting for. Or, for a savvy few needing an early caffeine fix, the morning sunlight, which Les Deux Magots claims to receive over its nearby rivals.
Address: Les Deux Magots, 6 Pl. Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris
For the decaffeinated contingent, tea salon Mamie Gateau in the Latin Quarter recalls a quirky village cake shop with boiled sweets and colourful crockery lining the shelves. Locals pour in at all times of the day for a large selection of teas (try the Darjeeling and Orange Pekoe), tarts and homemade cakes. These are the deft work of Japanese pastry chef and hostess Minako – expect scones, cream puffs, impossibly light and fluffy chocolate cake, fruit pies and crumbles, and her speciality: cherry pistachio cake. At lunchtime, a mix of chic Parisian Mamans, office workers and digital nomads descend on this storybook establishment for soup or quiche-of-the-day with hearty salads and a tourist-free local pulse.
Address: Mamie Gâteau, 66 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris