Paris is adored worldwide for its beauty, art, culture and fashion. So it’s no surprise that the City of Lights has consistently been one of the top travel destinations of the last century. And to anyone who follows my Instagram feed or who has read my “Top 10 must see places in Paris” blog post, it will also come as no surprise that I’m returning to Paris again in 2019!
Whilst yes, there are Boulangeries on every corner offering delish baguettes, croissants & pastries and you can always buy a “Le Mac” at McDonald’s… One of the things I love about the French capital is their vibrant café & restaurant culture. So, in no particular order (as they’re all amazing), let’s take a look at my top 10 favourite Parisian cafes & restaurants, which I visited last year and can’t wait to return to this year!
Cafe de Flore
Located in St Germain des Pres on the Left Bank, Café De Flore dates back to around 1887. It’s incredibly popular, definitely one of the cafes to see and be “seen” at. I was very fortunate to be able to find a free table out the front on my first visit there in 2018 – however upon returning the next day all tables inside & outside were taken, with people waiting for tables to become available.
It was at Café de Flore that I tasted the most delicious sandwich of my entire life. I ordered the club sandwich which had chicken, bacon, tomato, salad, hard-boiled egg and mayonnaise. The toasted bread was typically French – crusty with a soft centre and a side of potato chips were served. Of course, alongside this I ordered a glass of my standard favourite red wine – from the Saint Emilion region in Bordeaux. Tap water and afterwards a cappuccino to prepare me for more walking around the stunning Saint Germain area!
What I ordered:
Glass of Saint Emilion Grand Cru – Cost 10euros
Club Sandwich – Cost: 22euros
Cappuccino – cost: 7.40euros
Whilst the prices above will seem very expensive, I didn’t regret it at all. The quality of the food & drinks was amazing and I was sitting out the front of one of the Cafes I’ve always dreamt of visiting in my favourite city! Café de Flore is iconic– Ernest Hemmingway, Truman Capote, Brigitte Bardot and Robert De Niro have all been regulars here. They have an excellent offering or breakfast, lunch, dinner & dessert options, along with an extensive wine, coffee & tea selection. So whether you want to stop for a late lunch in the Parisian sunshine like I did or simply pop in for a quick drink, this is the perfect place!
Address: 172 Boulevard St Germain, 75006
Opening Hours – daily from 7.30am to 1.30am
Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés station, metro line 4
Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole
The prettiest café in Paris was where I decided to have breakfast for my birthday! Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole is situated on the Île de la Cité, very close to Notre Dame Cathedral. I first discovered this charmingly French café thanks to Instagram – the Parisian façade with sweeping wisteria flower vines (which turn purple during Spring), along with matching purple tables & chairs outside. The sign on the front notes this café dates way back to 1594, but the café was established in 1512 so this is located in one of the oldest buildings in Paris!
I’ve come to learn that the best places (which are often the very “Instagrammable” places) often get busy very quickly in Paris. As I adore sitting outside at cafes in Paris, I decided to get here just before they opened, so my friend & I were the first ones to arrive! I ordered a cappuccino, then the cheese plate and a glass of red wine. I don’t normally have red wine before lunchtime but hey, it was my birthday & I was in Paris, so I had no hesitations in ordering whatever I wanted to!
Address: 24 rue Chanoinesse, 75004 Paris, France
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday – 11am to 11pm, weekends – noon to 11pm
Metro station: Cité station, metro line 4
Les Deux Palais Paris
After visiting Saint Chappelle and Aux Veux en Paris café in the morning on my birthday, I walked past Les Deux Palais Paris. Situated on the Île de la Cité (an island on the Seine River in the heart of Paris, where Notre Dame Cathedral is located), I stumbled upon this charming bistro & restaurant just after lunchtime. And as it was my birthday I decided to go extra luxe and order a red wine along with my most favourite dessert in the world – chocolate mousse!
What I ordered:
Crozes Hermitage AOC Les Launes, Delas – glass – 7.80euros
Chocolate mousse with crispy gavotte crepe – 6.80euros
This is not just the place for tourists either – after my friend & I sat down, a trio of French women then arrived to order coffees and chat the afternoon away. What you might notice in the photo is that along with the wine and mousse, there is a jar or whipped cream with a single birthday candle. As soon as my waiter heard it was my birthday and my order arrived, I was so shocked that he had a candle and sang happy birthday! A few tourists sitting inside were smiling at this as well – it was the sweetest moment for me and just added to the entire lovely experience at Les Deux Palais.
Address: 3 Boulevard du Palais, 75004 Paris
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday – 6.30am – 9.00pm, Weekends – 7.30am – 9.00pm
Metro station: Cité station, metro line 4
La Maison Rose
The pretty pink house with apple green coloured window shutters, tables & chairs is a hotspot for photographers & Instagrammers and it’s not hard to understand why when you see it. Located on a street corner in magical Montmartre, La Maison Rose is a great place to people watch and to take a break from walking the steep & winding cobblestoned streets. Again, another café I discovered thanks to Instagram, and one where you will most likely need to wait for a table out the front.
I was again lucky enough to only have to wait about 10 mins until a table became available outside, right under a very cute window. Ordering a glass of red wine plus some share plates of olives, bread, charcuterie (deli meats) and cheese, a few photos then sitting back to relax. Tourists, cars driving along the winding road, locals walking their dogs and the Parisian midday light all combined to create an air of contentment.
Address: 2 Rue De L’Abreuvoir, 75018 Paris
Monday – Noon – 11.30pm
Tuesday – Wednesday – Closed
Thursday – 6pm – 11.30pm
Friday to Sunday – 11am to 11.30pm
Metro: Anver station, Metro line 2 and Abesses station, Metro line 12
Le Consulat Restaurant
Also located in Montmartre very close to La Maison Rose, is possibly the most Instagrammed restaurant in Paris, Le Consulat. Located on the corner of an intersection in the tourist hotspot area, surrounded by souvenir shops and other cafes, it seems to beckon you to approach. With postcard perfect red blooms in window flower boxes, a colourful awning, wicker chairs & tables out the front and the menu on display… it’s difficult not to become enchanted with the scene! The whole exterior oozes Parisian restaurant style and the ever full front tables support this aura.
When I first saw this restaurant on Instagram a few years ago, I knew I absolutely had to visit here. Getting there before lunchtime was a great idea and although the tables were full out the front, we were able to find a spare table just to the left which still had a great view. It was at Le Consulat that I tried my first ever Croque Monsieur which is the traditional baked French sandwich with ham and tasty cheese.
As we were finishing our meal the tables behind us on the left were completely full. Again, I felt so grateful that so far on my second visit to Paris that I was able to get a seat outside at a place I had dreamed of visiting. Le Consulat to me is Montmartre’s equivalent of Café de Flore – the place to see and be seen, and to take a few photos!
Address: 18 Rue Norvins, 75018 Paris, France
Opening Hours: daily – 11am to 10pm
Metro: Anver station, Metro line 2 and Abesses station, Metro line 12
Website/Social Media: None available
Shakespeare & Company Café
Possibly the most famous bookstore in the world and my personal favourite – Shakespeare & Company also have their own café to the left of the bookshop. Before wandering inside the bookshop we made sure to order some brunch and in one way it was the most unusual brunch experience I’ve ever had! There were picnic style benches out the front and most of them were empty to my delight. I was looking forward to sitting there in the mid-morning sunshine and people watching.
However the reason most people were sitting inside on a sunshine filled day was because of the local bees! I was visiting at the start of Autumn-time in Paris so it was very surprising to me that I was literally chased away from a seat in the sun by bees – there must have been more than 15 and when I would try to move tables they would follow me to the next table. It became impossible to eat outside so we ventured inside to a bar style seat at the window – and watched a couple more tourists try to sit outside to no avail!
Bees aside, I do have to say the food at this café was delicious – I ordered the yoghurt, fruit & muesli bowl with an iced coffee. The food also came served on a tray with a paper liner featuring the “Proust Questionnaire” – very interesting questions which inject fun & debate into any discussion between people. So if you’re after a coffee or tea and a place to relax whilst you read your new book purchased from Shakespeare & Co, this is the best spot. They also have plenty of books inside the café that you can pick up and read whilst you are there as well!
Address: 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 7pm,
Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 8pm.
Metro Station: Saint Michel station, metro line 4
Café de la Paix
Dating back to 1862 and with spectacular views of Palais Garnier (the traditional Parisian Opera House building), Café de la Paix exudes old world glamour. Always busy and another place to see and be seen, you will feel luxurious just sitting here enjoying a sip of coffee or wine. I visited here on an afternoon and again was lucky to only need to wait 5 minutes for a table en terrasse.
I ordered the Opera Cake, a delectable creation of chocolate biscuit, buttercream, coffee & cocoa seeds, chocolate & coffee icing and coffee praline – it was divine and absolutely worth the 15 euros! This type of cake is meant to be savoured slowly with each bite, whilst you admire the Palais Garnier views and people watch everyone inside & outside Café de la Paix. Definitely somewhere I’d return to again for a quick drink or dessert – you will find locals frequent here as well as the tourists.
Address: 5 Place de l’Opéra, 75009 Paris
Opening Hours: daily – noon – 11.30pm
Metro station: Opera station, metro lines 3, 7 & 8
Oh so French and an absolute must-see, at least once whilst you’re in Paris. Ladurée is home of the ever popular dessert, le Macaron! For the uninitiated, a Macaron from Ladurée is a light as a feather biscuit filled with a flavoured soft centre filling. The amazing thing about Laduree is that no matter where you visit one of their stores or restaurants in the world, the service & quality is always consistent.
I’ve visited in Sydney, Moscow and Paris numerous times and adored each experience. If you want the best macarons, no where does them as well as this place! So when in Paris meandering down on the Champs-Élysées, I always visit their store & restaurant here. It was at Ladurée that I had my “birthday” dessert of a glass of champagne and cake! Whilst pricy, it certainly is worth it if you’re in the mood for a luxe moment or need to rest between shopping.
Address: 75 Ave des Champs-Élysées, 75009 Paris
Opening Hours: daily – 7.30am til late
Metro Station: George V station, metro line 1
Possibly the tiniest café in Paris, Boot Café in the Marais district was once home to a cobbler and the “Cordonniere” sign can still be seen on the building to this day. With the capacity to seat no more than 12 people (6 seats inside & 6 seats outside), it was here that I ordered an iced coffee one morning. Boots Café doesn’t strike me as one of the usual Paris touristy cafes, although that may change as they gain popularity via social media.
Lots of locals walking past and no rooms for tables out the front on the sidewalk. It’s quaint, cosy and a sort of “hole in the wall” styled café. Unpretentious and a great place for a quick sip of caffeine before you’re on your way to explore more of Paris.
Address: 19 rue du Pont aux choux 75003 Paris
Opening Hours: daily, 10am to 6pm
Metro: Saint-Sebastien-Froissart station, metro line 8
Website: None available
Au Cadex de Gascogne
The tastiest crepes I tried in France, Au Cadex de Gascogne in Montmartre is in the busy café & restaurant section on the hill where you can find all the tourists swarming around. But don’t let this deter you as the food & drinks were amazing! I stumbled upon this gem of a place tucked away amongst surrounding cafes & restaurants – the service was great and food was delivered quickly.
I ordered the Crepe with Nutella, banana and cream – the crepe itself was cooked perfectly. They also have other options on the menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner. If you don’t mind dining in the presence amongst fellow tourists and are after delicious traditional French crepes then please give Au Cadex de Gascogne a go!
Address: 4 Place du Tertre, 75018 Paris, France
Opening Hours: daily – 7am to 2am
Metro stations: Anver station, Metro line 2 and Abesses station, Metro line 12
Whether you’re in vibrant Montmartre, the beautiful Île de la Cité, upscale St Germain, shopping on the Champs-Elysee, partial to the Left Bank or a fan of the Right Bank… Paris has no shortage of incredible cafes, bistros and restaurants to visit. A passionate love & appreciation of food & wine are entrenched in the French culture. Combined with artistic flair, style and steeped in history, a visit to any of the above cafes or restaurants will no doubt imbue your visit with Parisian glamour!
I hope you have enjoyed this guide to my top 10 Parisian cafes & restaurants! Please let me know what you think in the comments below. Have you visited any of these before or do you have any suggestions for different places?