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Which cafes in Paris you won’t want to miss?

Paris is considered to be a romantic city. On a cafe terrace, we always see Parisians enjoying the sunshine and talking with their friends. Easygoing and relaxed. If you want to behave like a Parisian, you must step inside the cafes in Paris while visiting the city.

Famous cafes in Paris

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

In fact, the first café in Paris appeared in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district in 1672. We can therefore say this is the cradle of Paris cafe culture.

 

Le Procopecafes in Paris

Although the first café in Paris had limited success and closed later, one of its waiter opened a café named Le Procope in 1689, which is still in business. More than 300 years later, Le Procope witnesses all variations of its clients’ life, but also all the changes in Paris. Nowadays, we can stil enjoy a meal at Le Procope but it is highly recommended that you book a table in advance.

 

Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots

Paris cafe, cafes in ParisSpeaking of cafes in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, every Parisian will immediately think about Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots. These two cafes are both celebrated for their famous clientele, especially writers and artists. Georges Bataille, Robert Desnos, Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso… they were all frequent patrons and completed many of their works here. After all the stories of joys and pains, pleasures and sorrows, written here, do you really want to pass by these places and not come in ?

 

Montparnasse

Montparnasse, as the heart of artistic and intellectual activities in Paris in the 1930s, prompted a lot of openings of literary cafes.

Le Dôme

cafes in ParisLe Dôme is the first café opened in Montparnasse and soon became a gathering place for visual and literary artists. However, in 2016, Le Dôme declared a bankruptcy. Even though the owner hasn’t officially announced any closure, you might want to plan a visit quickly and check out this location before your departure.

Today, seafood dishes are kind of its specialties but the prices are quite high (around €80 per person for an hors d’oeuvre and a main course).

Little tip: do not confuse Le Dôme, Le Dôme du Marais, Le Bistrot du Dôme

La Coupole

cafes in ParisIn the beginning, La Coupole has been established to outshine Le Dôme because of the great success of the latter. Located on the same avenue and just 1 minute by foot from the Le Dôme, La Coupole also succeeded to attract a mass of artists, including Sartre, Picasso, Hemingway… In 1988, this cafe was selected to be an historic monument.

If you want to have a meal in this district, we suggest you choose between Le Dôme and La Coupole since their dishes are almost identical.

L’Opéra

Café de la Paix

cafes in ParisSituated in front of the Opéra, Café de la Paix has a wonderful street view. On the terrace, you can relax with your friends and appreciate the splendid architecture in the meantime. If you step inside the café, you will notice that the whole café is decorated in Second Empire style.

Moreover, it is worth mentioning that Café de la Paix has a complete and carefully selected wine list.

 

A bit of glossary

cafes in Paris

The most simple coffee that you can find everywhere should be “café espresso”.

If you want to order an Americano, it is similar to “café allongé”.

“Thé gourmand” or “café gourmand” is always a cup of tea or coffee (usually an espresso) accompanied by a selection of small desserts.

“Café au lait” means a very milky coffee.

If you look for a coffee with less milk than a “café au lait”, you may choose a “café crème”.

Last but not least, by ordering a “noisette” which is very popular in cafes in Paris, you will get an espresso with a little bit of milk (less than a “café crème”).

Do you know… ?

  cafes in Paris

We notice that the chairs on a café terrace are almost all set face towards the street.

They say that people-watching is a national sport in France. So where better than a café terrace to do this “sport”? Hence Parisians enjoy observing the passer-by’s and also the street view when they sit on a terrace.

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10 Things to Do in Paris

When visiting Paris choosing from the various attractions and beautiful sights is the biggest task of all. From all the Parisian gems and experiences we’ve chosen the 10 things to do in Paris you should not miss.

 

1. Visit the Musée de l’Orangerie

Museums You've Never Heard Of, 10 things to do in paris

A must-see: Monet’s water lilies in the Musée de l’Orangerie. Situated in the Jardins des Tuileries, it is one of the favorite museums of Parisians and visitors. Built in 1852 as a winter shelter for the orange trees in the Tuileries Garden, it accommodates today the masterpieces of Monet and many other works of impressionists like Cézanne and Gauguin. From the 20th century you’ll find 12 pieces by Pablo Picasso as well as 10 Matisse and many others. A great way to spend your afternoon in Paris!

Musée de l’Orangerie – Jardin Tuileries 75001 www.musee-orangerie.fr (site in French)

 

2. Have Falafel in Rue des Rosiers

Self-Guided walking tour, 10 things to do in paris

For all food lovers Paris holds many attractions but one particular can be found in the middle of the famous area Le Marais. The Rue des Rosiers in the 4th district holds the most famous Parisian Falafel joint: L’As. A tasty experience to try!

L’As – 34, Rue des Rosiers 75004 Tel.: 01 48 87 63 60 

 

3. Stroll through Shakespeare and Company

Paris Facts, 10 things to do in paris

The famous American bookshop in Paris is located on the left bank next to the river Seine and opposite of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Its great history originates from the gathering of famous expat writers of the 1920’s like Hemingway, Stein, and Fitzgerald. Today it still accommodates one of the largest English book collections in Paris and is itself an interesting place to visit.

Shakespeare and Co. – 37, Rue de la Bûcherie 75005 Tel.: 01 43 25 40 93 www.shakespeareandcompany.com

 

4. Enjoy an evening in Le Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse, 10 things to do in paris

Besides the well-known Moulin Rouge a second cabaret has become all the rage: Le Crazy Horse. In 1951 the cabaret opened its doors at the prestigious 12 Avenue George V and has continued to dazzle visitor with their creative and glamorous shows up until today. You can enjoy the show with champagne or dinner before hand. In any case a fabulous evening entertainment is guaranteed!

Check out some more information about Le Crazy Horse here.

Le Crazy Horse – 12, Avenue George V 75008 Tel.: 01 47 23 32 32 www.lecrazyhorseparis.com (site in French)

 

5. Check out the Jazz clubs of Paris

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For all Jazz lovers Paris holds some precious gems. In the area of Saint-Germain-des-Prés you can still experience the ambience of the days of Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, and Kenny Clarke. Three of the major Parisian Jazz Clubs include Le Caveau de la Huchette, Le Duc de Lombards, and Le Sunset.

Le Caveau de la Huchette – 5, Rue de la Huchette 75005 Tel.: 01 43 26 65 05. www.caveaudelahuchette.fr (site in French)

Le Duc de Lombards – 42, Rue des Lombards 75001 Tel.: 01 42 33 22 88. www.ducdeslombards.com (site in French)

Le Sunset – 60, Rue des Lombards 75001 Tel.: 01 40 26 46 60. www.sunset-sunside.com (site in French)

 

6. Spend an afternoon in Montmartre

Montmartre, 10 things to do in Paris

The vibe of the artist “village” in the north of Paris still lies in the air. When visiting Montmartre you can check out the main touristic attractions like the all-white Basilica and the Place du Tertre with the caricaturists and the crêperies, but Montmartre also holds other beautiful corners like the Allée des Brouillards or the rue Lepic where you will pass by charming bars and cafés with the very special Parisian touch.

 

7. Sunday shopping spree in Le Marais

Place_des_Vosges_14,_Paris_29_March_2013, 10 things to do in Paris

A typical Parisian Sunday includes an after-brunch shopping spree in Le Marais. This area comes most alive on Sundays with all shops and cafés open and joyful Parisians and visitors walking the streets of the popular Jewish area. In this old part of the city you can discover romantic places like the Place de Vosges and all the small side streets with little shops and restaurants. Definitely a must on the list of 10 things to do in Paris!

 

8. Have a drink on one of the amazing rooftops of Paris

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To truly feel the Parisian vibes it is a good idea to look at the city from above. We have gathered for you the three of the most special rooftop experiences in the French capital. Georges in the Centre Pompidou offers a high-class restaurant in a modern setting with a beautiful view over the city. For a French “Aperó” we suggest Le Perchoir on top of the BHV mall in Le Marais. A less crowed rooftop with a Brooklyn-like vibe can be found on the 7th floor of the Terrass” Hotel in the 18th district.

Find more rooftop bars in Paris here.

Georges – Palais Beaubourg, Place Georges Pompidou 75000 Paris Tel.: 01 44 78 47 99 www.restaurantgeorgesparis.com

Le Perchoir – 33, Rue de la Verrerie 75004 Tel.: 09 77 40 14 00 www.bhv.fr/actus/perchoir-du-bhv-marais/ (site in French)

Terrass” Hotel – 12-14, Rue Joseph de Maistre 75018 Tel.: 01 46 06 72 85 www.terrass-hotel.com (site in French)

 

9. Spend time at the Eiffel Tower

What Not to Miss on a One Day Tour of Paris, 1 day in Paris

The main Parisian landmark is always worth a visit but instead of the obvious viewpoint at place du Trocadero you can have more private views on the romantic Tower from places like the Rue Saint-Dominique in the 7th district, Pont de Bir-Hakeim connecting the 15th and the 16th district, or the rooftop of the Galleries Lafayette in the 8th district.

 

10. Have French Pastries

Paris Food

Last but not least on the list of 10 things to do in Paris: have French pastries. If there is one thing you cannot leave Paris without then it is tasting the delightful pastries in one of the Parisian “Boulangeries”. The Pâtisserie Stroher exists since 1730 in the Rue Montorgeuil and won a price for best éclairs au chocolat. Who would like to taste the delicate macarons should try Ladurée on the Champs-Élysées or in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. A very special pastry shop is La Pâtisserie des Rêves (several in Paris, one in the 16th district). They have specialized in bringing childhood memories alive and making your (pastry) dreams come true.

Pâtisserie Stroher – 51, Rue Montorgeuil 75002 Tel.: 01 42 33 38 20 www.stroher.fr (site in French)

Ladurée – 75, AV. Des Champs-Élysées 75008 Tel.: 01 40 75 08 75 / 21, Rue Bonarparte Tel.: 01 44 07 64 87 www.laduree.com

La Pâtisserie des Rêves – 111, Rue de Longchamp 75016 Tel.: 01 47 04 00 24 www.lapatisseriedesreves.com (site in French)

 

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Saint Germain des Prés

Saint Germain des Prés

Saint Germain des Prés is a neighborhood located next to the Seine river, in the very heart of Paris. It’s one of the most historical districts of the city, famous for being the center of the intellectual world in the 40’s-60’s with the existentialist movement. It also hosts the National School of Fine Arts, deeply linked with artists like Monet, Delacroix or Moreau.

WHAT TO VISIT?

More than a place juste to visit, Saint Germain des Prés is a place to experience! You could spend several days wandering in Saint Germain to discover it…

Saint Germain des Prés

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The neighborhood takes its names from the St. Germain des Prés church, at the center of the district. One of the oldest churches in Paris, it dates back from the 6th century. After the Vikings burnt it in the 9th century, the church was rebuilt a second time in 1014 and still stands nowadays. It’s public and open to visits.

What really gives its atmosphere to the district are the numerous cafés and restaurants, some of them with funny names such as “L’Enfance de Lard” (which is a pun in French), where you can sit at the terrace in summer to watch the lively district, or take a hot meal in winter to contemplate the night falling on the Parisian streets. In the 40’s-50’s, there were also a lot of jazz clubs in Saint Germain des Prés, but most of them closed in the 60’s when jazz began to be replaced by rock n’ roll.

Saint Germain des Prés is also home to numerous art galleries and fashion designer stores. Wandering in the streets, you will also discover a lot of trendy and upscale shops for food (the famous macarons brand Ladurée among others), and for fashion and jewelry (Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin…).

You can also visit the Saint Sulpice church, second largest church of Paris after Notre Dame cathedral. This church became worldwide famous following the publication of the Da Vinci Code novel, in which some of the clues to follow the treasure hunt are supposedly hidden in this church. The book was such a hit that after its publication, the diocese had to display a note in the church to explain to tourists that the novel was a fiction and that they should stop asking the priests about the fictional pagan origin of the church and other literary inventions of the author!

Saint Germain des Prés

Photo Credit: ParisByM

If the weather allows, do not miss a visit to the beautiful Luxembourg Garden (Jardin du Luxembourg) that fixes the limit of the district. This park covers 23 hectares and includes a pond where children can have wooden boats floating, tennis courts, ponies and the marvelous Medicis fountain… Statues are all over the place, as in an open-air museum, and a small version of the Statue of Liberty even used to stand there before it was transferred to the Orsay museum for greater protection. And for those who remember their reading of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, you might just feel like Marius and Cosette, who met and fell in love for the first time in this park…

Lastly, if you like to experience the Parisian gastronomy, don’t miss a walk in the St. Germain market, where you will find gourmet and specialty shops.

HOW TO EXPERIENCE IT?

Saint Germain des Prés

Photo Credit: ParisByM

As mentioned, a visit to the St. Germain church is really worth paying to begin your visit, as it’s part of the Parisian history. Since the district was one of the world’s main literary centers around the 50’s, with the existentialist movement, cafés like “Les deux Magots“, “Café de Flore”, “Le Procope” or the “Brasserie Lipp” are among the most popular places to go get a drink as many writers and intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Hemingway or Picasso used to go there.

Saint Germain des Prés

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

But keep in mind that when taking a coffee or a tea there, you will not only pay for your drink, but also for the fame of the place… Some less known brasseries and cafés might just be as nice options.

Walking guided tours of the neighborhood are available in order not to miss any detail. But keep in mind that it will tell you about the history of the district and what used to be, so don’t expect to take thousands of pictures as most of the places nowadays do not show anything from the outside. That’s why we recommend you just relax and take time to feel the energy of the streets.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

  • Hours: Lively during day and night
  • Price: Free
  • Access: Metro line 10, “Mabillon” station, metro line 4 “Saint Germain des Prés” station. Various busses.

 

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