I have been doing a healthy amount of café hopping since my arrival. In part, it’s my attempt to get to know my neighborhood, try out some basic French skills and also, to be social.
I should clarify, I have been enjoying coffee shops inside rather than the outdoor cafés. It is warm enough with the overhead heaters to sit outside and watch the world go by, but I have been trying to do some reading and writing. I like the inside environment for those purposes.
It is very American of me to bring my computer and ask for the wifi (weeee-feeee) password. A true French-woman goes to cafés to relax, meet friends and in general, take a break. I need to work on that.
While it is the norm to work at coffee shops in the United States, it is not the norm in France. Oliver Gee, of the Earful Tower, offered a helpful piece of advice. He mentioned when heading a café to work on your laptop, ask the owner or the staff if it is okay to use it. I’m finding through my very basic research the newer/younger cafés in Paris have no problem with people working remotely in their space.
Cafés, bars and restaurants become a second home to folks in Paris. These establishments allow you to spend as much time as you would like enjoying your café lait or meal. Very often, you do not pay your bill until the end of your visit and even then, you must ask for your check. It’s in steep contrast to the United States where very often, the restaurant is looking to turnover your table and get the next customer seated. The ‘enjoy your meal and take as much time as you would like’ takes a little getting used to; by American standards, you may feel neglected by the server.
Should you find yourself in Paris, near the 11th, here some great spots to check out:
54 rue Saintonge, 75003 Paris
Facebook and Instagram: @obladi
A sweet little shop and busy, busy, busy. The staff greets you with English which is a surprise for a spot buried in Le Marais. It has some great homemade offerings for breakfast/brunch and snacking. I enjoyed a hearty breakfast of avocado toast with a poached egg. As I finished my breakfast, caffeine-deprived customers were waiting inside and outside the shop. I would have liked to work for a bit, but I think this spot might be too small and too popular for camping out with a laptop.
22 rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris
A lovely spot and very quickly becoming my preference for coffee and work. It’s a beautiful industrial environment with enough elbow room to set up for a few hours of work. The owner is a welcoming guy who speaks English and French. It is one of the rare spots in Paris that offers filtered coffee, which is just a basic cup of black coffee. (My favorite!) I have not tried any of the food at this time, but my eyes widen each time a dish emerges from the kitchen. I sense a breakfast in my immediate future.
25 rue Sedaine, 75011 Paris
This is a farm-to-table type café. The offerings seem to be organic and extend well beyond coffee. I have picked up a slice or two of quiche for lunch. PUR has options for individuals with specific dietary restrictions which you do not always find in Paris. There is free wifi, although the morning I went to work at the shop the wifi was down. The owner was apologetic and it sent her in to a rage (in French) about the internet carrier. I enjoyed her passion.
Paul & Rimbaud
40 rue Sedaine, 75011 Paris
Wonderful little literary café. This is like sitting in a cozy library or living room. During my visit jazz was playing in the background which warmed the environment. They have a coffee menu, a few cakes and croissant, and a plat du jour as well. Wifi is available. This is an easy place to settle into for a few hours.