Nothing says “Paris” like the beloved French Cafe…
Cafe de Flore or “Flore” as the locals call it, is one of the most iconic cafes in Paris. Along Boulevard St. Germain on the Left Bank, the simple interiors are little unchanged over the years, as is the meeting of friends gathering at a table on the terrace. This cafe is probably one of the most beloved in the city, and the first place I go when I hit Paris. While curious tourists now awkwardly rub shoulders with regulars, its important to remember to keep it casual, order a coffee or glass of wine and just sit back and people watch.
Cafe Saint Regis When one dreams of Paris and sitting in a cafe in the most picturesque part of Paris you’d be sitting at Cafe Saint Regis on the pretty Ile St. Louis, With many cafes it is all about sitting outside but here the inside is just… France. A small zinc bar, hanging newspapers, a bread wrack with fresh baguettes, white tile and wooden trim is a perfect place to stop for coffee or a light lunch.
Cafe Nemours has a wonderful location next to the Palais Royal and a stone’s throw from the Louvre. When in the 1st, or before or after a trip to the Louvre, this cafe is perfect to sit and people watch so get an outside table and order a glass of wine.
Les Deux Magots St. Germain’s other literary cafe right in front of the church of St. Germain des Pres is no less popular than Flore, though Flore does have a bit more popularity with the locals. It must be said though that Deux Magots has the nicer location right on the church square and in my opinion better food options with Polaine bread and Pierre Hermes pastries. When I meet friends for drink, I head to Flore, but for a bite to eat I go to Deux Magots.
Cafe Louis Philippe Crossing the bridge from Ile St. Louis to the Right Bank on the edge of the Marais is a quaint ittle cream with green trimmed cafe. There is something about it that looks more village cafe than city with wine barrels and a vine trimmed terrace. Quite charming inside as well and worth a stop.
Le Petit Fer a Cheval This very small cafe is a vintage in the best sense of the word. A local favourite in the Marais with Art Nouveau signage outside and a gorgeous horseshoe shaped zinc bar with mosaic floors and old clock is just perfection. There is also a small dinning area in the back which if there is room is a perfect lunch spot.
Any cafe in Paris is rarely disappointing and an authentic French experience. From a cafe counter in a small neighbourhood Tabac to a stylish outdoor terrace for a glass of rose, a cafe is worth taking time to linger. Dare I say you will see more of Paris in a cafe than going to the Louvre or Eiffel Tower.