The Marais, once ‘the marsh’ of Paris, is now a hub of trend-setting creativity in fashion and design. It’s no surprise then that the best of the French capital’s café culture and brunch spots are found here, where you can enjoy far more than the standard café crème. Here’s our pick of the best…
Le Loir dans la Théière
You’d be hard-pressed to find this Marais institution without a snaking queue outside of its doors. Situated smack-bang in the middle of the Marais’ main artery – the Rue des Rosiers – the sought-after café is nonetheless worth the wait. The name is an homage to Alice in Wonderland’s teapot-residing dormouse and serves up a variety of sweet treats and savoury lunch dishes. The highlight has to be their homemade lemon meringue pie, which is unmatched in its sticky indulgence, boasting a tower of trembling meringue that’s a feat for even the most sweet-toothed.
Address: 3 rue des Rosiers – 75004 Paris
Le Café des Chats
Despite its quiet location and unassuming exterior, Le Café des Chats grabbed the headlines in 2013 when it opened its doors and quickly amassed a large fan base of cat-lovers who love a spot of feline therapy with their caffeine hit. Part of a wave of cat cafés around the world – a trend largely inspired by the ‘neko’ cafés of Japan – the low-key café is home to dozen cats who roam free and have all been rescued after a difficult start in life. Rules are in place to ensure the cats are left undisturbed, but it’s not long before a friendly face comes and joins you at your table. Address: 6 rue Michel Le Comte, 75003 Paris.
Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, the oh-so-cute Boot Café has to be one of the teensiest cafes in all of Paris. However what it lacks in space, it certainly makes up in character with plenty of quirky touches. A renovated shoe repair shop, Boot Café is now the place for a serious caffeine hit for craft coffee addicts, with brilliant baristas, delectable sweet treats and cosy tables (if you’re lucky enough to grab one). One trendy shoebox.
Address: 19 Rue du Pont aux Choux, 75003 Paris
Merci – Used Book Café
Nested in the heart of the Haut Marais (upper Marais), a few minutes’ walk from the stunning Place des Vosges, with its stunning 17th century peach-hued townhouses, the design warehouse Merci is a concept store that brings together the best in fashion, interiors and design. It’s also home to three
cafés, including the Used Book Café on the ground floor, with a library of 10,000 books that cover the entire wall space from floor to ceiling. The perfect spot for book worms to while away the afternoon with a coffee and a gourmet scone.
Address: 111 boulevard Beaumarchais 75003 Paris
Café Pinson in the Haut Marais was founded by two passionate, thirty-something foodies, Agathe and Damien, who are passionate about virtuous, organic food. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the cafe – now one of four branches in Paris – focuses on vegetarian and vegan cuisine that’s packed with flavour, as well as an array of gluten-free cakes, cold-pressed juices and, of course, coffee (here, it’s with served with almond milk). And, it’s not just the food that’s beautifully presented; the interiors, designed and decorated by the talented French designer Dorothée Meilichzon, also adds to the appeal.
Address: 6 Rue du Forez, 75003 Paris
An Italian café on quaint Rue Charlot, artsy Marcovaldo is a great place to chill out with a book or magazine in between exploring the many fashion designer boutiques nearby. With bookshelves adorning the walls and a selection of tables, decorated with pretty country flowers, it has a cute and homely feel. Come here for a light lunch – like organic ham and mozzarella sandwiches – or and a tasty cake of the day, with a proper Italian cappuccino or spiced cardamom coffee. The café also holds concerts, events and book readings.
Address: 61 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris
Rose Bakery, run by Brit Rose Carrarini and her French husband Jean Charles, has become a sought-after spot in the Marais and now has several branches across Paris, as well as internationally in London, New York and Tokyo. Known for its honest, homemade food, organic produce and quirky, minimalist interiors (think exposed pipes and shelves stacked with stacks of flour and homemade jam), it’s the perfect spot for Sunday brunch after a morning perusing the bustling Rue de Bretagne. The round carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting, is a must.
Address: 46 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris, France
Another of the new slew of specialist, independent cafés that are taking the Haut Marais by storm, this expresso bar is a minimalist space where the main attraction is the seriously good coffee. The owner and barista Chris Nielson (formerly of the Ten Belles coffee bar, another player in the coffee revolution in Paris) may be an Aussie and the interiors Scandinavian chic, but the coffee is traditionally Parisian. Indulge alongside a hearty slice of banana bread.
Address: 16 Rue Dupetit Thouars 75003 Paris
La Caféothèque de Paris
One of the pioneers of the French specialty coffee movement, La Caféothèque de Paris, on the cusp of the Marais across from Ile St. Louis, is well-known amongst the coffee-loving crowd, with a whopping 20 single estate coffees from around the world. However, this is far more a coffee shop. La Caféothèque styles itself as a true ‘coffee salon’, with a packed diary of cultural events and art exhibits taking place.
Address: 52 Rue de l’Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris
The Broken Arm
Founded in February 2013, The Broken Arm – a multi-brand concept store – was launched by three friends: Anaïs Lafarge, Romain Joste et Guillaume Steinmetz. It’s also home to a light and airy café
– the perfect spot to chill after some retail therapy. Expect a daily changing menu with hearty sandwiches and dainty cakes and great coffee in Scandinavian chic surrounds.
Address: 12 Rue Perrée, 75003
Got any to add to the list? Comment below!
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