Drag your Macbook along with you to a cafe in Paris and you’ll probably end up being hard pressed to get any work done. While there are a handful of cafes that tolerate their space being used as a workspace, the hole-up-for-five-hours-and-get-a-coffee-buzz-that-only-a-freelancer-knows concept doesn’t really fly here. And yet…
As the French capital, Paris draws all kinds of people, from around France and from abroad, and amongst those people are plenty of creatives, students and entrepreneurial spirits that don’t always fit in the 9 to 5 category. This city is an iconic epicenter of art and culture, after all. While a more traditional work culture has been the dominant one, slowly but surely startup and freelance culture is starting to grow, and with it, the need for temporary workspaces.
Enter Cafe Craft, a cafe that calls itself the “premier café dédié aux créatifs indépendants.” If your French is rusty: “the first cafe devoted to independent creatives.” And that’s exactly what you get. Desk space, fast and free wifi (often an anomaly in this city) and most important, a plethora of outlets to charge your computer. You can literally sit here all day, and as long as you’re willing to pay for it, no one is going to hassle you or give you a nasty Parisian glare.
Even as I pop in for a coffee on a Saturday afternoon the place is fairly full, with a few spaces available at the main “co-working” table – a long table with individual outlets at each desk area. A sleek and modern black couch faces the window and looks out to the street. Two French men are sitting there, one with an open a computer and the other with a stack of loose papers filled with notes. From the looks of it, they’re doing some web startup, or at least I secretly hope that they are because it fits the vibe of this place.
The concept at Cafe Craft is simple: it’s 3 euros/hour by “consumption or connection.” Basically that means if you buy one café filtre for 3 euros but stay and work for two, you’ll still get charged 6 euros. Which means you probably should just spring for a baked good to eat with that coffee.
There’s a larger space in the back known as the “salon” which is essentially set up to serve as a work area for larger groups or if you have a meeting. As a friend recently put it, “I have a co-worker that comes in from out of town, and he’s always a loud talker on phone calls, so I am afraid to take him anywhere else.” Good to know there’s a place for those types.
Cafe Craft serves coffee Cafe Lomi, roasted just a few arrondissements away in the 18th, and made on site in the shiny matte black La Marzocco FB80 espresso machine. They’ve got the require Anglo-inspired baked goods that seems to be the fuel of coffee culture in Paris: muffins, cookies, and yes, even bagel sandwiches.
But don’t worry, even if you’re not working, you’re still welcome. Located in the hip Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood, it has become a popular spot with locals and tourists alike, and with all the freelance action coming in and out of here, you’re sure to find some inspiration, modern or otherwise.
Anna Brones (@annabrones) is the founder of Foodie Underground, and a contributor to The Guardian, Cheek Magazine, Thrillist, and The Huffington Post. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist, with a cookbook due out next year from Ten Speed Press. This is her first feature for Sprudge.