For years, Paris was the brunt of any specialty coffee joke. While you can easily get a café au lait and some excellent Parisian people-watching at any corner bistro, if you came to Paris in search of a quality cup of joe, you would have been disappointed, until now.
Thanks to an upswing in specialty cafes and roasters in the last few years, the tide is quickly turning. Specialty coffee in Paris is by no means the norm, but if you know where to go Paris can compete with any other major coffee-loving capital.
While espresso still reigns, filtered coffee has become the predominant coffee choice amongst local coffee drinkers—each with their favorite place for a good pour-over.
As the numbers of great java spots continue to grow, it can be hard to keep track. Don’t fret, we’ll do it for you.
1. Fondation Café, 16 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 3rd arrondissement
Hailing from Australia—the coffee capital—and with many years as a barista under his belt, Fondation owner Chris Nielsen knows a thing or two about good coffee. In his small espresso bar in the historic Le Marais district, you’ll be treated to skillfully pulled espresso served in the cafe’s memorable light-green cups. Serving Belleville Brulerie beans, at Fondation (pictured above) the focus is on coffee but there are always a few sweets on hand to keep you salivating.
2. Coutume Café, 47 Rue de Babylone, 7th arrondissement
One of the first specialty coffee shops to hit the Paris scene, Coutume is both a roaster and cafe that has been sourcing other cafes with its coffee for several years. It’s also one of the few specialty cafes on the Left Bank. The baristas are well trained, the brunch menu is solid and there’s a special coffee concoction monthly to spice things up, like a cold brew mixed with house-made cola syrup. Pro tip: another Coutume venture to check out on the Left Bank is the café Coutume Instituutti, housed in the Finnish Institute.
3. Ten Belles, 10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles, 10th arrondissement
Always packed, Ten Belles has been a hub for coffee lovers in the Canal Saint Martin neighborhood since it opened in late 2012. The team behind Ten Belles went on to open Belleville Brulerie, a respected roaster that sources many of the specialty coffee shops in town. At Ten Belles, there is often a cheeky quote written on their blackboard outside like, “Drinking good coffee is sexy,” and if you buy one of their thermoses, you’ll be treated to inexpensive filter coffee for life. Yes, please.
4. Holybelly, 19 Rue Lucien Sampaix, 10th arrondissement
Having spent time in Melbourne, Nico Alary and Sarah Mouchot brought some Australian inspiration into their cozy space, Holybelly. Since opening in fall of 2013, they have become well-known for the good coffee, made using Belleville Brulerie beans and Nico’s barista prowess. In the summer, they bottle up their house-made cold brew so you can stay refreshed while on the go. Not sure what the difference between a flat white and a cappuccino is? All you have to do is turn over the menu, where coffee drinks are expertly explained. The popular Agent Cooper special will get you a mug of dark filter coffee and a slice of the cake of the day.
5. KB Caféshop, 53 Avenue Trudaine, 9th arrondissement
If KB feels a little like a coffee shop out of Australia, that’s because owner Nicolas Piégay spent time working in Sydney. When he opened his Parisian cafe in 2010, it was one of the first coffee shops to serve something besides the industrial, over-extracted coffee that Paris was known for. Similar to many cafes in town, they serve locally roasted Belleville Brulerie beans, but they often have coffee for sale from other roasters around Europe. Because of its revolutionary coffee-making ways and wide variety of java, tourists and locals alike have come to love KB.