22 Cafes In France You Shouldn't Miss

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Paris (France), a.k.a. ‘The City of Love’ is home to the oldest running cafes in the world. Many dates back to the 18th century and are reminiscent of eminent figures like Picasso, Napoleon Bonaparte, Rousseau, etc. Typically, Parisian cafés were considered social institutions - places to meet friends, read newspapers, play checkers, and discuss politics over coffee. Many present-day cafes carry on the legacy, and the vibe in some will take you back to the days Ernest Hemingway wrote the masterpiece ‘The Sun Also Rises’. 

Here is a list of 22 carefully-curated cafes. Your visit to the country is incomplete if you miss out on these places. 

1. Café de Flore, Paris

Café de Flore, Paris

Opened during the Third Republic in the 1880s, Café de Flore is one of the oldest coffeehouses in town. It was a popular hub for renowned artists and philosophers, including Pablo Picasso, Eugene Ionesco, etc. 

To this day, it remains one of the most famed hangouts of celebrities and has even been in novels, music videos, films, and TV shows like Gossip Girl. Not to forget its spectacular vintage setting and ambiance of the outdoor seating during balmy weather - reasons good enough to visit the place. 

Café de Flore is the place - whether you want to pop in for a short coffee break, splurge on traditional French dishes, or unwind your week over a glass of wine. Just bear in mind that this is not a commonplace coffee house, and the prices can be a bit on the expensive side. 
Must try: French Croissant, Soupe à l'oignon, Welsh Rarebit
Location: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France
Timings: Monday - Sunday: 7:30 AM - 1:30 AM

2. Les Deux Magots, Paris

Les DeuX Magots, Paris
Les Deux Magots is a must-visit if you are a literary nerd. Since the 1880s, it was the closest rival of Café de Flore in terms of its reputation for its high-profile clientele. Till today, the cafe-restaurant maintains its literary legacy with the annual Deux Magots literary prize. The cafe regularly hosts meetings, cultural events, and musical concerts. If you are a jazz lover, hop in on Thursdays between 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM for a ‘Jazzy Thursday’.  

What stands out about the cafe is its overall dreamy ambiance. The terrace seating provides a lens to view the ballet of Parisian life and the Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the oldest churches in the country. Watching the panoramic view while sipping on a cup of the famous old-style hot chocolate, cocktail, a traditional Parisian cafe breakfast, or over a French brunch will transport you to the Paris of another era. 
Must try: Croque-Monsieur, Quiche Lorraine
Location: 6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris, France
Timings: Monday - Sunday: 7:00 AM - 12:00 AM

3. Le Procope, Paris

Le Procope
'Paris in its purest form’! Le Procope, the oldest cafe in Paris, was enlisted as a historical monument in 1962. It is the world’s first literary cafe and the most revolutionary cafe back then. To this day, the place still maintains the legacy it once held. With wallpapers dating back to the 1830s and interiors heavily influenced by the 18th Century French style, this is your ideal spot to experience the Paris of the 1880s. After all, this is where Napoleon Bonaparte left his hat as a pledge to pay off his debts. Make a visit if you want to see the table Voltaire once sat at. 

From a coffeehouse, the place has outgrown into a cafe-restaurant and now serves lunch, dinner, and other meals with traditional and refined French cuisine with an Italian twist. It even has a dedicated menu for children below 12 - the perfect place if you are with your little ones. The cafe’s idyllic outdoor seating complements the food. But do make it a point to avoid casuals like ripped jeans. 
Must try: Soupe à l'oignon, Coq au vin, Crème brûlée
Location: 13 Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris, France
Sunday: 11:30 AM - Midnight
Monday - Wednesday: 11:30 AM - Midnight
Thursday - Saturday: 11:30 AM - 1:00 AM

4. Hard Rock Cafe, Lyon

Hard Rock Cafe
Lyon’s Hard Rock is the cafe you must drop into if you want to take a break from French cuisine. It bagged the “Best Burger in the World” award at the Sirah World Burger Contest 2019. While you are at it, take a bite of the winning Lyon’s burger - where the notorious American burger meets Lyon’s fresh local products. 

The cafe is located right in the center of the bustling city. Whether you are on a solo trip or with your gang, Hard Rock is perfect for unwinding your day. With great rock music in the backdrop and the impressive bar setting crafted out of Bacardi bottles, Hard Rock Cafe is the ideal place to capture beautiful memories and Instagram-worthy pictures.
Must try: Hamburger, Fries
Location: 1 Rue du Président Carnot, 69002 Lyon, France
Saturday and Sunday: 11:45 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Thursday: 11:45 AM - 11:00 PM
Friday: 11:45 AM - 1:00 AM

5. Café des Deux Moulins

Cafe Des Deux Moulins
A trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to Café des Deux Moulins. Apart from the classic French cuisine and exceptional service, what draws customers to the cafe is that this was where the French blockbuster Amélie was shoot. Considering the number of Amélie fans the place attracts, it is no surprise that the menu even lists a salad named after Amélie.

The interior of Café des Deux Moulins is charmingly adorned with Amélie‘s posters and memorabilia as an ode to the movie. Besides the dining space and the pleasant outdoor seating, the cafe has an area dedicated to drinks. With live music playing in the background, the cafe exudes a festive vibe, especially on the weekends - perfect for late-night dining. 
Must try: Crème brûlée
Location: 15 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France
Timings: Monday - Sunday: 7:00 AM - 1:30 AM

6. Café de la Rotonde, Paris

Cafe De La Rotonde
Café de la Rotonde was where dadaism, surrealism, and cubism came to life. To this day, La Rotonde retains much of its bohemian charm and caters to the Parisian artistic intelligentsia and French cuisine lovers. 

The paintings of Modigliani lighting up the walls and the red and gold theme carried throughout the restaurant are enough to transport you back to the 1930s. If not for anything else, you must visit the place, at all costs, for the signatures of Picasso, Man Ray, Hemingway, and many others on the table placemats - to validate their regular visits during the interwar years. 

You can enjoy a cozy morning/ evening inside the cafe or ask for a table on the terrace for a breezy brunch. As for the food, you'll have access to some of the most authentic French dishes. And don’t be surprised to find food items named after the Lost Generation on the menu. Unlike similar establishments, Café de la Rotonde is a brasserie catering to customers with different budgets. In the evenings, you can access the built-in bar with an extensive wine list and be spoiled for choice.
Must try: Steak tartare, Chicken Caesar salad 
Location: 105 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75006 Paris, France
Timings: Monday - Sunday: 7:30 AM - 12:00 AM

7. Café de la Paix, Paris

Cafe de la Paix
In terms of decor, the iconic Café de la Paix falls nothing short of Chateaux de Versailles. It elegantly blends the Napoleon III decor with the contemporary spirit expressed in its glory with the natural tones.

You can enjoy a lazy Sunday breakfast on the terrace that looks out on the Opéra Garnier and watch as Paris goes on its way. The cafe serves classic French dishes - unmatched in taste. Be prepared to pay a hefty price, though. You can also hop in for a quick coffee, relish a light gourmet lunch, or succumb to the sweet temptation of homemade pastry. Whoever you are with, the elegance of  Café de La Paix is the perfect place to make memories. 

With matchless food, excellent service, and unrivaled decor - all enveloped in a pleasant ambiance, the cafe is rightfully called 'the soul of Paris'.
Must try: Foie Gras
Location: 5 Place de l'Opéra
Timings: Sunday - Monday: 8:00 AM - 11:00 PM

8. Carette, Paris

A trip to Paris without savoring Carette’s Viennese hot chocolate is a miss. Opt for the Carette version, and you’ll get a mountain of cream that melts in the mouth. Because of its reputation, you’ll have to wait in a queue to get inside. Not the best option if you're in a hurry. But once you step in and get a table, your sizzling hot chocolate will be before you in the blink of an eye. Their top-notch service is another of the cafe's highlights. Another of Carette’s specials is the Macaroons - the perfect gift to take back home for your loved ones. Besides it, you can also splurge on sandwiches and classic French pastries.

The creme de la creme is that it is close to the Eiffel Tower. Unlike many Parisian cafes, you can communicate easily with the caterers here because they speak good English. If you wish, ask for a window seat for a good view of the "La dame de fer". Just a reminder, the items here live up to the city's reputation and are pricey. But hey, you deserve a novelty treat once in a while!
Must try: The Viennese hot chocolate, Macaroons
Location: 4 Pl. du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris, France
Monday - Friday: 7:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 7:30 AM - 11:30 PM

9. Café Pascal - Clermont-Ferrand

Cafe pascal clermont
Café Pascal is a lovely little rugby bar with a cozy atmosphere - the regular meeting place of rugby fanatics. If you are into the sport, you’ll miss out on a lot if you skip this place. You can be a player or a mere supporter. Regardless, consider dropping into the cafe because this place is all things rugby. 

Select from a full range of 13 beers on tap as you watch and chat away rugby talks with fellow rugby lovers. Not a beer person? Not a problem! They also have a wide range of whisky, rum, gin, fruit juices, syrups, and cocktails. You name it. The cafe also has outdoor seating if you want to get away from the group. 

You can drop in the mornings for coffee or a full breakfast. If you are looking for a posh cafe to dine in, skip this place because Café Pascal is more about the vibe and less about the looks. 
Must try: Beer 
Location: 4 Pl. de la Victoire, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
Saturday and Sunday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Monday - Thursday: 7 AM - 7 PM
Friday: 7 AM - 6 PM

10. Le Select, Paris

Le Select
With small round tables and red-leathered booths with touches of gold, Le Select exudes an ‘old-world Parisian’ vibe - “the soul of Montparnasse”, as Hemingway put it. The authenticity of the place effortlessly transports you back to the days of Hemingway, Miller, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Opt for the glassed terrace or the windowless dining area for a tete-a-tete far into the night. Or bask in the outdoor seating if you want to observe the hustle and bustle of the Parisian streets in real time. 

You'll be spoilt for choice, from traditional French comfort food to a wide range of cocktails. Compared to its neighboring cafes, Le Select has more depth of flavor. And the quality of the food and prompt service definitely live up to the billing.
Must try: Croque monsieur, Roasted chicken, Crème brûlée, Steak tartare
Location: 99 Bd du Montparnasse, 75006 Paris, France
Sunday - Thursday: 7:00 AM - 2:00 AM 
Friday and Saturday: 7:00 AM - 3:00 AM 

11. Le Grand Café, Moulins

Le Grand cafe
During her prime, Coco Chanel frequented the historic restaurant of Le Grand Café in the charming town of Moulins. With high mirrored walls that reach up to ‘infinity’ and frescoed ceilings, the extraordinary decor of the café will definitely take your senses back to the 18th Century. It also has outdoor seating - no less spectacular than the interior. 

Whether you want to grab a coffee or relish a hearty meal, Le Grand Café is a must-visit, especially if you love meat. It is a typical Parisien brasserie on the way to Fontainebleau palace that serves exceptional French food at reasonable prices. If you are in and around Moulins, include this place on your list because it is too good to miss. 
Must try: Steak tartare
Location: 49 Pl. d'Allier, 03000 Moulins, France
Sunday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday - Thursday: 8:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Friday and Saturday: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM

12. Le Consulat, Paris

Le Consulat
Le Consulat is a cafe that retains the vintage charm and the vibe of the bygone era. In addition, the friendliness and hospitality of the staff make the place even more welcoming. 

The cafe serves delicious mussels and has a bar with a wide selection of beer. If you have some time on your hands, take an outdoor seat. You can bask in the warm weather while watching the world pass by over a glass of beer with local artists playing guitar in the backdrop. What can be more Parisian than that?
Must try: Steak au Poivre avec pomme frites (steak and fries), Onion soup
Location: 18 Rue Norvins, 75018 Paris, France
Monday - Friday: 12:00 - 7:00 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 - 10:30 PM

13. Au Petit Bonheur Café-Bar-Bistrot

creme brulee
Often called ‘The Place of Happiness’, Au Petit Bonheur Café-Bar-Bistrot is a tiny cafe that serves authentic French cuisine. Apart from breakfast and other meals, the place also serves a variety of beverages and even has an on-site bar serving wine, beer, cocktails, etc. 

Whether you are with your family or with the love of your life, Au Petit Bonheur Café-Bar-Bistrot will not let you down. If you want to enjoy your meal with light music playing in the background, visit on a Saturday. 

If the Parisian life, hustle, and bustle delight you, you can take a table outdoors and enjoy your meal/ drink, watching the delightful charm of Paris in real time. 
Must try: Parfait
Location: 58 Rue du Marthuret, 63200 Riom, France
Sunday: 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM 
Monday - Thursday: 8:00 AM - 11:00 PM 
Friday and Saturday: 8:00 AM - 1:30 AM

14. Café de Paris Châteauroux

Cafe de la chatearoux
Café de Paris is a charming little cafe in the heart of Châteauroux town. One of the best places if you don't speak French. The staff here are good at English, and you wouldn’t have trouble communicating with them. Besides the lip-smackingly delicious food, the friendly staff and the top-notch service continue to draw customers. 

The menu covers a wide range of delicacies that caters to different palates - from fresh salads to traditional French dishes made from local meat. If you have a sweet tooth, Café de Paris has desserts that literally melt in the mouth. You can also choose from a wide selection of local wines.

You can lounge inside the cafe or take a table outdoors to indulge in people-watching. The cherry on top of this cafe is that it is reasonably priced, unlike other Parisian cafes.
Must try: Profiteroles
Location: 18 Pl. de la République, 36000 Châteauroux, France
Sunday: 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM 
Monday - Saturday: 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM

15. Le Tambour, Paris

Le Tambour
Le Tambour is an authentic French café that primarily serves beef-based Parisian dishes - a funky little cafe in a rustic setting. Besides the great food, it also has beer on the tap. Talking about drinks, this gem of a place serves wine from across the country - all at reasonable prices. No wonder the place is always bustling with customers. 

If the sidewalk tables aren't your thing, you can ask for a table in the dining area - away from the noise and traffic fumes. This place is another great choice if you struggle to speak French. The friendly staff and their enthusiasm to guide the customers throughout their short visit to the cafe are noteworthy. Probably, one of the best in Paris for a casual meet-up. It'd be a mistake if you walked past this cafe.  
Must try: Risotto, Salade de croton de chèvre ever
Location: 41 Rue Montmartre, 75002 Paris, France
Timings: Monday - Sunday: 7:00 AM - 2:00 AM

16. The Caféothèque of Paris

Paris’s Caféothèque, the laid-back San Francisco-inspired cafe, is a paradise for coffee junkies. It is one of the few Parisian cafes that roast and brew its own coffee from beans imported from 31 different countries. Caféothèque even has a cultural space and a small shop selling top-quality beans. 

Don't miss out on this place if you have a weakness for carefully roasted and brewed coffee. You can lounge in the comfy interior and soak in the ambiance while sipping a cup of freshly-brewed coffee. If you don't mind the noise, you can take a side table outside overlooking the Sein river.

Occasionally, the service is not as prompt as you would like it to be. But no worries! The quality and the rich flavor of the coffee compensate for it all. If you plan to stay back in the city for a while, you can even take their coffee courses and learn to weave the magic yourself. 
Must try: Flat white, Three-layered cheesecake
Location: 52 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, 4e, Paris, France
Timings: Sunday - Monday: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

17. KB CaféShop Paris

KB Cafeshop
Around the corner of Rue des Martyrs stands KB CaféShop, an independent budget-friendly coffee shop and a sweet haven for coffee connoisseurs. It may not be the typical hideout for a romantic evening with your partner. But the place is perfect for a quick catch-up with your friends over a cup of steaming-hot coffee. Even better if you want to read or get some work done. 

The cafe remains packed most of the time, which isn't surprising considering its rich coffee varieties. For a little me time, you can hit the patio for a peaceful evening. If your visit falls during the colder months, try their hot chocolate and homemade cakes and scones, another of the specialties. The charming servers do their best to make customers feel at home, making the cafe a complete package. 

The place is close to the Louvre Museum. So, if you are planning a trip there, you can drop in KB CaféShop on your way to or from the museum.
Must try: Spiced chai lattes, Hot chocolate, Carrot cake, Apple crumble slice, Flat whites
Location: 53 Avenue Trudaine, Paris
Monday - Friday: 7:45 AM - 6:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM 

18. Café Français Paris

cafe francais
Facing the Opera Bastille is Café Français, a modern Parisian brasserie. With its elegant bar and spacious terrace with large rattan armchairs overlooking the Place de la Bastille, the cafe is perfect both for a quick meal and relaxing weekend brunches. 

On top of the regulars, the menu also includes “Beaumarly Signature” dishes. Pick your choice from a wide selection of wine and cocktails to complete your meal. The cafe hosts events regularly. And we bet you'll fall in love with Café Français if you love jazz. The prices here tend to be higher than most of the cafes nearby. But the taste and ambiance say it all. It is indeed a true blessing for Paris, as visitors put it. If you are in a large group (12 or more), book a table ahead to avoid inconveniences.
Must try: Chocolate moelleux, Omlette
Location: 1-3 Place de la Bastille 75004 Paris, France
Timings: Sunday - Monday: 8:00 AM - 2:00 AM

19. La Fontaine de Belleville

Caption Link
La Fontaine de Belleville is a typical French bistro located about 50 meters away from Colonel Fabien Metro Station. The coffee here is no less than divine, especially the filler coffee. Talk about food, and it has the best burger. Maybe not the best in the world but in the country for sure. Instead of the typical burger and fries, you'll get a burger with perfectly roasted potatoes. An unusual combo that blends right and tastes heavenly in the mouth. 

The cafe does not serve a wide range of delicacies. But from the organic ingredients to the dishes, it's safe to say that much attention goes into serving the best possible version of the few items.

The interior is spacious and pretty, with blue tables and chairs. If you are not in a hurry, you can spend a lazy Sunday afternoon peacefully on the terrace, basking in warm weather and the charms of Paris over a coffee. The cafe is never too crowded, and you won't have to wait hours for a table. Also, their service is nothing like the other Parisian cafes that stall you for hours without food. Another thing: the items on the menu will not dig a hole in your wallet like most other Parisian cafes. 
Must try: Croque monsieur, Flat white, Espresso
Location: 31-33 Rue Juliette Dodu, 75010 Paris, France
Sunday: 9:00 AM - 12:00 AM 
Monday - Wednesday, Friday: 7:30 AM - 1:00 AM 
Thursday: 7:30 AM - 2:00 AM
Saturday: 8:00 AM - 2:00 AM

20. Cravan Paris

Tucked in the pleasant residential area of the 16th arrondissement is Le Cravan, a cocktail bar with an avant-garde spirit. It is named after the boxer-poet Arthur Cravan, the famed dadaist, and nephew of Oscar Wilde. Designed by the “Pope of Art Nouveau”, the interior is gorgeous with mirrored walls, round tables, and rattan chairs. But those are definitely not the highlights of the place. 

Cravan bagged the Best bar d’auteur in 2019 and serves the best cocktails in the world. It's not an exaggeration to say that you’ll be spoiled for choice with their wide selection of tempting cocktails. In the words of Jeremy Auger, Cravan’s head bartender, "the goal is to break the code of the cocktail bar,” 

Cravan does not focus on fancy tableware but serves its cocktails in vintage glassware. Instead, the sole focus is on crafting refreshingly- balanced cocktails using carefully-selected ingredients. The interior is tiny, yet sophisticated and peaceful - a great choice if you want to feel the coziness of the place. But we recommend you hit the terrace if you visit during the colder months.
Must try: Tunnel, Yellow, Royal Basilic
Location: 17 Rue Jean de la Fontaine, 75016 Paris, France
Sunday - Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday - Saturday: 6:00 AM - 11:00 PM

21. Café de l'Industrie

Café de l'Industrie
Café de l'Industrie is a two-part cafe just 5 minutes away from Place de la Bastille. On one side of the street is a conventional bar with sidewalk tables. And on the other is an African-themed restaurant, with a 1930s-era industrial feel - not an ideal choice if you are looking for a posh restaurant to dine in. 

But definitely not a miss, if you want generous portions of quality French food at reasonable places. Its value for money constantly attracts different types of customers. And you'll almost always find a queue outside. If you have any health issues and need a personalized meal, you can let the staffs know and they will whip up a hot meal for you without any hassle - and no complaints, either. In other words, you can say Café de l'Industrie is a home away from home. 
Must try: Duck confit 
Location: 16 Rue St Sabin, 75011 Paris, France
Timings: Sunday - Monday: 8:30 AM - 2:00 AM

22. Café du Coin

Café du Coin
Cafe du coin is a charming cafe near the Atelier des Lumieres. Modest as it looks, this little cafe is an absolute find serving generous portions of home-cooked French dishes. The excellent wine, paired with the delicious, plentiful dinner, makes this place a total winner. Not to forget, the professionalism of the staff!

The food is fairly priced, considering the quality, ambiance, and location in general. All in all, a perfect place for a casual meal and worth a stop, when in the area!
Must try: Pizzetta, Fondant Baulois, Veal
Location: 9 Rue Camille Desmoulins, 75011 Paris, France 
Monday - Friday: 8:00 AM - 2:00 AM
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 AM - 2:00 AM
Parisian cafés have existed since the 17th century. Café culture is deep-rooted in Paris' identity as its iconic architecture. It's difficult to go more than a few feet without stumbling upon a café. They are not just places to dine in but rendezvous spots where Parisian citizens and tourists can relax and refuel, over social, political, and culinary life discussions.

This post was published by Mayengbam Tommy

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