The Best Coffee Shops in Paris – Our Paris Café Guide

Paris is the home of the café. You’ll find them on almost every corner and they are the perfect place to take a break from sightseeing whilst watching the busy city pass by. Traditional French cafes and patisseries are usually top of the list for lunches and breakfast when visiting the city of romance, however with so much choice available, how do you really get to taste the best on offer? We explore the best coffee shops in Paris according to user reviews and our own travel experiences. If you love traditional Pain Au Chocolats and freshly brewed coffee, Paris is calling your name!

Although you’ll find a number of top cafes in the city that offer dinner, our list focuses on breakfast and lunch pastries, cakes, sandwiches and hot drinks.

Café – A Lacroix Patissier

Cuisine – French café (snack, lunch)

Recommended menu choice – Pistachio choux pastry or a caramel covered apple

Not only does A Lacroix Patissier have some of the best-looking desserts we’ve ever seen, it’s located right next to Notre Dame Cathedral, so you’re almost guaranteed to be a short walk away at some point during your trip. Although the fancy desserts are the top attraction for this patisserie, they also do a nice lunch selection. Both French and English menus are available. Dessert wise (and you should definitely order one), we recommend ordering a selection of different sorbets, cakes and tartes and taking pictures in awe of just how cool and creative they look before tucking in. Choose a seat by the front window, where you’ll have a good view of Notre Dame across the river. Lacroix is one of the best coffee shops in Paris for Instagrammable desserts!

A Lacroix Patissier Paris gourmet desserts - The best coffee shops in Paris
A Lacroix Patissier dessert counter

Café – Le Valentin

Cuisine – French café (snack, lunch)

Recommended menu choice – Macarons, strawberry tarts and choux pastries – order a selection

Le Valentin is heaven for those with a sweet tooth. You’ll find sprawling tables and counters of different treats dotted throughout the store – the amount of choice is mouth-watering. Sit down inside the café for a tea/coffee and a cake and take a break from shopping. The atmosphere is ambient and the menu is creative, although it is a little more expensive compared to other places on our list. If you fancy something more lunch worthy to go with your cake selection, Le Valentin also has a selection of hot foods and authentic Belgian beer for beer lovers. You’ll find this café in an indoor shopping arcade near the Musée Grévin wax museum.

Le Valentin Paris shop exterior - The best cafes in Paris
Le Valentin Paris dessert counter - The best coffee shops in Paris

Café – Happy Caffé

Cuisine – French café (breakfast, snack)

Recommended menu choice – Baguette and a Nutella crepe

Happy Caffé may not look like much at first but this small shop and its owner have become somewhat famous in the city. The café itself overlooks Jardin des Tuileries, the perfect location for grabbing a coffee and breakfast pastry and going for a relaxing morning walk in the gardens. Happy Caffé is cheap, excellently located and has super friendly owner. He’ll help you choose a pastry, donut, crepe or sandwich to set you up for a busy day. It’s a place you’ll want to come back time and time again and is one of the best coffee shops in Paris for affordability versus quality.

Happy Caffe Paris dessert counter
Happy Cafe Paris storefront

Café – 5 Pailles

Cuisine – French café (breakfast, lunch, snack)

Recommended menu choice – Coffee and a butter croissant

The staff at 5 Pailles are very skilled at one thing – brewing fresh coffee every day. Of all the cafes we’ve visited in Paris, 5 Pailles stands out as being a place to visit first thing on a morning before a day of seeing the sights. Sit on the terrace and people watch, whilst enjoying a top-notch coffee! 5 Pailles also has a number of tasty pastry options to enjoy with your coffee or a lunch menu if you’re visiting later in the day. Access the café easily from Saint-Denis metro station. One of the highlights for us in this place was the friendliness and attentiveness of staff.

5 Pailles cafe Paris - Show coffee on a plate
Shows 5 Pailles cafe server

Café – Soul Kitchen

Cuisine – French café (breakfast, lunch, snack)

Recommended menu choice – A daily brunch special (the flavours and dishes change every day)

Soul Kitchen has a very hip vibe. It’s a small, simple and ‘no frills’ café serving up homemade breakfast, brunch and lunch specialities. It’s located a short walk north of Sacré-Cœur Basilica and is a popular choice for students, backpackers and older tourists and locals who want some peace and quiet away from the usual humdrum of Paris. The menu also changes every day. You’ll find a selection of creative dishes and flavours that are cheaper than the high prices of more touristy cafes. And don’t be fooled by its small appearance – there are plenty of seats to go around, making it one of the best coffee shops in Paris to catch up on work or take a break from the busy crowds.

Soul Kitchen Paris cake - The best patisseries in Paris
Soul Kitchen Cafe Paris exterior

Café – Le Bethillion

Cuisine – French café (snack)

Recommended menu choice – An iced coffee and ice cream

Unlike a lot of cafes on our list, Bethillion caters greatly to ice cream lovers and could quite possibly be one of the best ice cream parlours in Paris. As well as the usual hot drinks and pastries you’d find in a typical Paris café, Bethillion has a collection of towering desserts and homemade ice cream. Either pop in for an ice cream cone or grab a table and rest your legs. Desserts are updated seasonally and there’s plenty of variety, but prices can be a little expensive.

That said, we’d definitely recommend trying the ice cream here once during your trip. The café is located right next to Notre Dame. Le Bethillion will most likely have a queue for takeaway drinks and ice cream so skip or reduce your wait by asking for a table. What’s the best flavour to try may you ask? Personally, we’d go for the hazelnut or pistachio every time.

Shows a Le Berthillion ice cream cone -Paris Cafe guide
Le Berthillion Paris ice cream - The best coffee shops in Paris

There are plenty of other great French cafes which could have made our list as Paris is unrivalled for small bakeries, patisseries and coffeehouses, however in our opinion, these were the best we found in the city. Let us know if you have another Paris café in mind that is just too good to miss off. We’d love to hear your recommendations!

Now, set your Google Maps pin and head for a coffee and pastry in some of Paris’ best cafes. We’d advise on visiting at least one per day during your visit – it’s a great way to re-energise.


Share with friends

Comments (1)

Very good post and very good photos. It reminds me of my trip to Paris. I Recommend procope coffee house

Leave a comment