Cafes in Paris
June 6, 2011 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Looking for the best cafes in Paris.

I'm in Paris for a week (hooray) and I have to do a fair amount of work while I'm here (semi-boo). I don't really speak any French. I'm looking for some fun cafes to sit outside (or inside) and drink coffee while I work on my laptop. Free wifi (or wifi access for a fee inside the cafe) is a must.

I'm in the 15th arrondissement but would be happy to travel. I'd like to hit a few different cafes while I'm here. The quality of the coffee is less important to me than the ambiance. Help me feel like a Parisian!

Also, I've read through the other threads on Paris, but any tips for fun things to do (especially ones that don't take up a lot of time) while I'm here would be nice as well. Thanks very much.
posted by k8lin to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoyed Point Ephemere, right near the Jaurès metro station on the 2, 5, and 7. Free wifi and relatively good prices on coffee and beer. It's a concert venue and art gallery, as well as a café/restaurant, so the atmosphere and crowd are fun. You can sit outside, too, along the canal. Note: the music inside is pretty loud, which may be a distraction if you're trying to work.
posted by Comic Sans-Culotte at 8:37 AM on June 6, 2011

I like La Ferme near Opéra/Pyramides. Everything is fresh, delicious and healthy, and there is plenty of space and free wifi that works well. I second Point Éphémère as well; it's a great atmosphere to work in.
posted by helios at 9:12 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Albeit not your standard Parisien cafe, the Café Suédois in the Marais is in my opinion one of the best spots in Paris; on a quiet street across from a park, with a big courtyard and plenty of places to sit. It's also impressively tourist-free, for the most part young mother's with their babies during the day.

It's one of the few places in Paris where you can get actual drip coffee, and the quality of the brew isn't bad at all. 2 euros for unlimited refills (also unprecedented in Paris).

The sandwiches and particularly the cakes are incredible. A little expensive, but worth it and, hey, you're in Paris. Gateau carrotte is excellent, and if you get any kind of tart be sure to ask for cream.

I've never used their wi-fi, but I believe you have to ask. There are also several parks nearby and most (if not all, by now) Paris parks have free wi-fi. The info is posted on a board at the entrance.

It's open 12-6 every day but for Monday.

If you want a more authentic, down-home Parisien café, le Square Trousseu is one of the best. It's got good coffee, free wifi and lots of periodicals to leaf through (albeit in French). Mostly a neighborhood spot and very beautiful inside and out. There's an excellent boulangerie, blé sucré, right up the block along the park. The only catch is this: like any real French café, the waitstaff is very particular about when and where you can sit. You can't show up at 1pm and expect to be able to sit in the prime exterior real estate outside without having a full lunch as this is rush hour. But during the mornings, and between about 3:30pm and 7 or 8pm, buy a coffee and sit wherever you want for as long as you like.

Also the marche d'Aligre is right around the corner on rue d'Aligre. The last daily open-air market in Paris, I think, with some really good produce, and great prepared food in the covered market at the bottom of Rue D'Aligre in the place (like the plaza, is there a word for this in English? Living in Paris I feel like my hold on the English language is degenerating). Market goes from some ungodly hour of the matin until 1pm, and the covered market is open until 1pm and the again from 4 to 730pm, I believe (the French are not known for the sanity of the hours they keep). Like much else in Paris, closed on Mondays.

Final word of advice, walk up Rue Vieille-du-Temple and wander into what ever place looks enticing: les Philosophes, the bookstore-wine bar la Belle Hortense, the excellent meat-centric restaurant Robert et Louise (likely my favorite place to eat in the city).

And finally, sorry the weather is so godawful this week.
posted by gracchus at 12:39 PM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]

I want to emphasize what gracchus said : hey, you're in Paris. It's been a while since I've been there so I don't have specific recommendations, but I certainly don't remember disliking any of the cafe's because they didn't have good enough ambiance.
posted by garlic at 5:30 PM on June 6, 2011

Look here!
posted by la petite marie at 6:52 PM on June 6, 2011

Response by poster: Maybe I was doing Point Ephemere wrong, but when I went there yesterday it looked like a very noisy bar full of rowdy Parisian youths. What time does the "night life" start here during the week? And what time do things generally shut down?

Thanks for all of the suggestions! I will definitely try Point Ephemere again, as well as some of the other places from gracchus's really great comment above.

garlic, I'm not really at all concerned about the ambiance, I'd just rather go for ambiance (as in, a good environment to work) over coffee quality. The taste of the coffee is something I could care less about, but I have to have wireless and be able to get good work done.
posted by k8lin at 1:44 AM on June 7, 2011

Response by poster: Actually, I couldn't care less about the taste of the coffee.
posted by k8lin at 3:33 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just an FYI for others who come across the post: I'm at Café Suédois right now and they don't have their own wifi (I asked). Luckily I'm picking up the free Orange signal from the park, but it's only for two hours, and pretty weak, so you might want to think twice if wifi is a must for you. (The tuna sandwich & mint iced tea, on the other hand, are fab. And great ambiance!)

I also liked La Ferme, when I gave it a shot thanks to this post. My sandwich was nothing special, but all the space and the free wifi were awesome.

(And a tip for anyone looking for wifi in Paris, it's pronounced "weefee".)

Big thanks to everyone for all these recs.
posted by Moireach at 5:19 AM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

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