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20 Best Traditional Cafes and Brasseries in Paris [Historic Spots]

20 Best Traditional Cafes and Brasseries in Paris [Historic Spots]

There is nothing more enjoyable than taking a couple of minutes in a day to sit inside one of the thousand beautiful cafes in the romantic city of Paris. No matter whether you are in a banquette or on a terrace, people-watching remains a cherished pastime in France.

Paris is well known for the charming spots spread all across the city. There are musicians, artists, and writers who frequent most of the traditional cafes and they have done their best to maintain the romance and glamor.

A trip to Paris remains incomplete without a visit to the sidewalk cafes. It is not possible to imagine a city without them. You cannot live in Paris without the cafes and the chalkboard menus in French.

While you take a stroll in the city, coffee, Croque monsieur or croissants will keep you company. It is indeed one of the things you miss most when you are away from Paris.

If you are wondering where are the best cafes in Paris, here is your complete guide. Let us take a look at the historic spots in Paris that are a must-visit.

Traditional cafes in Paris

1. Café de la Paix

The iconic cafe is known as a historic site since 1975. It was a setting for several poems, films, and paintings. The cafe has unique interiors and is close to Opera Garnier which makes it look similar to a museum instead of a simple cafe. It is one of the best local cafes in Paris.

It has an ideal location and is frequented by tourists. The cafe was once a favorite of well-known French writers like Émile Zola and Guy de Maupassant.

It is extremely famous and a must-visit when in Paris. It is acclaimed for incredible service and excellent food.

Address: 5 Place de l’Opéra, 75009 Paris, France

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2. Brasserie Lipp

Established in 1880, there is nothing like Brasserie Lipp in all of Paris. It is a historic spot in the city and it has been featured prominently in movies. It sponsors an annual literary prize named after the previous owner, Prix Cazes. Brasserie Lipp is on the top of the list of top Parisian cafes.

With more than 120 years of history, the cafe is not only about food and service, there is much more to it and it is one of the best cafes in Paris.

It is a historic site and is frequented by tourists and locals alike.

Whenever you are in Paris, make it a point to visit this classic cafe. It speaks a lot about the rich history of the city.

Address: 151 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France

Woman eating croissant

3. Le Select

Le Select is a classic Parisian cafe in the busy area of Montparnasse. It has a list of famous clients including Picasso, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Picasso. They used to take their coffee breaks with sun shining on them at the terrace. It is one of the best sidewalk cafes in Paris.

The cafe has mosaic tiles on the floor and the one thing that sets it apart from other cafes is the absence of smoke in the air since smoking is banned indoors.

Address: 99 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75006 Paris, France

Les Deux Magots

4. Les Deux Magots

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre lounge at this cafe which is now a posh hangout for travelers. It is frequented by the rich and famous in Paris. It once enjoyed the reputation of being the meeting place of the literary and intellectuals. This cafe is considered as one of the literary cafes in Paris and to date, it remains one of the best cafes in Paris.

Sit on the terrace with a newspaper and your favorite cup of coffee. Pablo Picasso, Albert Camus, and Ernest Hemingway used to visit this cafe frequently.

Address: 6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris, France

See Related: Best Paris Nicknames to Know

5. Bar Hemingway

Bar Hemingway needs no introduction. It is located in Hotel Ritz and is a favorite destination of James Joyce and Sartre. It is the world’s smallest and the most famous bar. Bar Hemingway is not a traditional cafe but a bar that needs a special mention.

It also plays a tribute to the famous American author through a wall display of 25 original photos from A Moveable Feast.

The cafe has unique wood paneling and leather stools that feel like a movie set. If you want to enjoy luxury and feel like a celebrity, this is the place to be.

Address: 15 Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris, France

6. Cafe de Flore

Located across the street from Les Deux Magots, the Cafe de Flore has existed since World War II and very little has changed about it. The oldest coffee house in Paris, Cafe de Flore is known for its famous clientele. It was established in 1880 and its name was taken from the sculpture of Flora.

There are large mirrors and red booths with an enviable clientele. This cafe is a hotspot for tourists and is famous for its classic ambiance. It once hosted Sartre and de Beauvoir amongst many others.  Its clientele includes high-profile philosophers and writers. It has also appeared in several movies and music videos.

The cafe is ideally located at the intersection of two busy streets. It is a perfect place for watching people go about their day.

Address: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France

Cup of coffee

7.  La Closerie des Lilas

It is highly recommended to stop by the Montparnasse cafe for the tables. They are named plated after the regulars at this cafe including Emile Zola, Oscar Wilde, Paul Verlaine, and Paul Cezanne. You can stop by for a drink here or enjoy a romantic, candlelit dinner in the beautifully done banquettes.

Address: 171 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75006 Paris, France

Procope

8.  Le Procope

Established in 1686, this is the oldest cafe and was frequented by Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire at one point in time. It has high ceilings with chandeliers and the walls are decorated with antique paintings.

Le Procope remains one of the best historic bistros in Paris.

A visit to Le Procope will take you back in time and it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Check out the oldest passage while you are at one of the best cafes in Paris.

Address: 13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris, France

9.  Fouquet’s

This cafe and restaurant were established in 1899. It is one of the top historic cafes in Paris. The cafe and the hotel is an important destinations for Parisian locals. French President Nicolas Sarkozy celebrated his electoral victory at this cafe in 2007 and it is also a high-profile venue for Cesar Film Awards after-parties.

Take a photo atop the gold-plated stars at the entrance before you walk inside the famous cafe.

Address: 99 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France

See Related: Best Things to do in Paris With Kids

10. Le Cafe Tournon

Only a few steps from Luxembourg Gardens, the Le Cafe Tournon is a very swanky spot and it remains filled with politicians, journalists, and celebrities.

It is known for its market-fresh cuisine and a classic selection of regional wines. The cafe is perfect for a mid-afternoon cup of coffee or a relaxed meal in the evening. Le Cafe Tournon is one of the best Parisian cafes in Paris.

Address: 18 Rue de Tournon, 75006 Paris, France

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11. Le Baron Rouge

Those who have already had different sorts of coffee in the city, head to the wine bar located in the 12th arrondissement.

You will find makeshift tables here that are constructed from wine carts and redwood. You will see a lot of young, professional Parisians who stop by for a quick drink here. It usually remains packed on Sunday afternoons.

Address: 1 Rue Théophile Roussel, 75012 Paris, France

Paris Cafes at dusk

12.  Le Train Bleu

While in Paris, enjoy a traditional French meal while you soak in the action of a train station. Le Train Bleu brasserie was established in 1900 to celebrate the Universal Exposition of the same year in the city. It is a very famous traditional Parisian bistro.

The elegant cafe is located in the Gare de Lyon station and is a perfect place to stop while on your way to other destinations in the country.

The cafe has a gold and blue color code with beautifully decorated ceilings. Everything at the cafe speaks of the grandeur of the Bella Epoque era. You can either take a fixed-price meal or a la carte menu.

If not, enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in the lounge designed with train station romance in mind. It is one of the best cafes in Paris.

Address: Place Louis-Armand, 75012 Paris, France

13. Cafe de la Rotonde

The cafe was established by Victor Libio in 1911 and artists like Amedeo Modigliani and Picasso would spend long hours here. They used to pay with a drawing when they did not have enough cash.

However, the drinks at the cafe are a bit more costly now and it is worth visiting for the Old Paris feel and for the Art Deco elegance.

Address: 105 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75006 Paris, France

14.  Café des Deux Moulins

Several cafes in Paris start as classics while many others acquire the status over a period of time. This corner cafe was chosen by Director Jean Pierre Jeunet to host a few scenes for the film Amélie.

 Enjoy your cup of coffee amidst the constant flashing of tourist’s cameras here. The cafe has been a part of several photos and movie stills.

Address: 15 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France

See Related: London vs Paris – What’s the Difference?

15. La Coupole

La Coupole is an elegant and stylish cafe that can be enjoyed for the coffee, food, and champagne. This cafe was once a wood and coal store that was transformed in 1927 into the largest brasserie in the city and it welcomed several artists including Hemingway.

There is a dancehall in the basement which is an after-hours treat and it used to be a favorite of de Beauvoir, Sartre, and Josephine Baker. You can enjoy electro-soul beats, house music, and salsa here.

Address: 102 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75014 Paris, France

Paris cafe

16. Café du Coin

The cafe has a laid -back vibe and a classic seasonal menu. In no time, it has become a go to for many locals when the coffee craving strikes. The cafe offers excellent food and drinks throughout the day. You can start with coffee and move to the three-course lunch menu.

Address:  9 Rue Camille Desmoulins, 75011 Paris, France

17. La Palette

Repeatedly declared as the best outdoor cafe in Paris, La Palette is a popular destination. The cafe is on the corner of a tree lined square and is easy to reach while you explore Paris. It is close to Ecole des Beaux Arts. The cafe was often visited by Picasso, Julia Roberts, Hemmingway, and Harrison Ford.

Address: 43 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris, France

See Related: Best Paris Wine Tasting Options

18. Le Chat Noir

One of the classic Montmartre establishments which is very famous in the city is Le Chat Noir. The famous cafe was established in 1881 when it started as a nightclub. It has now turned into an attraction in itself and has live performances in the evening.

Immerse yourself in the history of the city while you enjoy your delicious cup of coffee. They also have a happy hour for those looking to have a bit of boozy fun. The cafe has a vibrant atmosphere and a welcoming vibe.

Address: 68 boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris France

19. La Maison Rose

It is hard to miss La Maison Rose with its bright color. While you are on the way to Sacré-Cœur, you will notice the pink-colored cafe standing tall. It was a hangout spot of Pablo Picasso and is frequented by locals. This cafe is known as a popular literary cafe with a culture of its own. Soak in the rich literary spirit and history of the city at one of the best cafes in Paris.

Address: 2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir, 75018 Paris, France

20. Le Dome Cafe

Cafe du Dome or Le Dome Cafe was established in the 1900s. It has always been known as a gathering place of intellectuals.

This cafe was once frequented by well-known writers, models, sculptors, painters, and art connoisseurs. It remains a gathering place of the literary professionals in America and is a popular spot for the artists that reside in the Left Bank area of Paris.

Address: 108 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75014 Paris, France

Conclusion

Include the best cafes and bistros in Paris in your itinerary on your next trip to Paris. Undoubtedly, there is a lot to see and do in Paris and while you are strolling about the Parisian streets, head to these cafes for a quick cup of coffee.

You never know who you might brush your arms with. Every cafe has a unique charm and a classic feel.

It does not matter how you like your coffee, because in Paris, you get exactly what you are looking for. There is no better place to enjoy a cup of coffee than the famous cafes in Paris.

If you have time on hand, spend your time on the terrace, people watching, and reading. A trip to Paris remains incomplete without spending some time at the cafes that the city is famous for.

Whether it is your first trip or you frequently visit a beautiful destination, a visit to the cafes is a must. Enjoy the best food, wine, and coffee with the finest and the most elegant ambiance in Paris.

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