If you were forced to name a hub of the Parisian craft coffee scene, it would have to be the Marais. Kind of like Seattle must have been in the early 1990s, when it was the one place in the country where there was always a Starbucks a stone’s throw away, no matter where you found yourself. Like that, but with adorable independent cafes. Ok, so that might be a bit exaggerated, but if you’re hanging out in the Marais for the day, you certainly won’t experience a coffee shortage. Staying in the Marais while you’re visiting Paris? Just hanging out here for an afternoon? Simply dreaming of the day when you land in Paris and need to pair a croissant with a good espresso? Then here’s a guide for you.
As a small espresso bar, the focus at Fondation Café is on one thing and one thing only: good coffee. Beans are from Belleville, and founder Chris Nielson pulls his shots on a Kees Van Der Westen Spirit. The decor screams simple Scandinavian sleek, and yes there are sheepskin throws on the outdoor benches in order to seat the best of vikings. If the weather is nice you can sit outside and get in some good people watching; this is Paris after all.
Fondation Café is located at 16 rue Dupetit Thouars.
Youssef Louanjli, the owner of the now-closed cafe Black Market, now runs Fragments, which is solely devoted to good coffee. In fact, when it first opened up there was a slim selection of sandwiches, but now Youssef has even scrapped those and the menu consists solely of coffee. Like Fondation, he’s also pulling shots on a Kees Van Der Westen. His beans are constantly changing, and he aims to feature interesting and quality roasts. Currently he’s serving up beans from Stephane Cataldi, a roaster in Brittany who’s well-known with the local craft coffee movement. Parisian barista Brian O’Keefe, winner of the recent Brewers Cup Competition, was using Cataldi’s beans in his winning cup.
Fragments is located at 76 rue des Tournelles.
The first time I met Loustic’s owner Channa Galhenage we gushed about Stumptown. This was just after he had opened and before the coffee explosion had hit Paris with full force. Galhenage is committed to not only serving good coffee, but creating a cafe environment that’s a community hub and local hangout. There’s a print on the wall that says “make coffee, not war,” and if Loustic in charge of the world we would all be peaceful beings downing well-pulled espresso shots, made with beans roasted by Belgium’s Caffenation.
Loustic is located at 40 rue Chapon.
The Broken Arm
The Broken Arm is the kind of concept store that’s done right. In other words, there’s a fashionable store with all kinds of hip accoutrements that Parisian dreams are made of, and there’s coffee, but you don’t have to do the two at the same time. The cafe sits next to the fashionable store, a glass door separating the two, so after you’ve downed your espresso you can head across and buy a good looking t-shirt. Beans used to come from Solberg & Hansen in Norway, until a customs issue, so now they’re more locally sourced ones from Cafe Lomi.
Located at 12 rue Perrée.
Tucked into a small space on Rue de Temple, if you weren’t looking for Strada Café you might miss it, and that would be a shame. This is a cozy space, the kind of place where you could pass the gray, Parisian wintery months in comfort. Strada serves locally roasted L’Arbre à Café, and the pour over can be ordered in three different sizes. Aussies will be happy to know that there’s a flat white on the menu, and if for some reason you’ve overdosed on coffee recently, there are freshly made juices to be had.
Strada Café is located at 94 rue du Temple.
Housed in an old shoe repair place, it’s fitting that this tiny coffee bar is called Boot Cafe. In fact it feels as if you’re squeezing into one, this space is so small. But that also makes it cozy, and super easy to make new friends. The scones are housemade and the coffee is local as well. It also functions as a bit of a gallery space, currently there are funky mugs for sale by Echo Park Pottery.
Boot Cafe is located at 19 rue du Pont aux Choux.
If you’re vegan in Paris there aren’t a lot of places to take refuge in, but Cafe Pinson is one of them. While more of a cafe dedicated to food, the cozy space is nice for settling in with a morning coffee. The beans comes from Coutume, and it can be whipped into a variety of vegan-friendly lattes (if that’s your jam).
Cafe Pinson located at 6 rue du Forez.
A bit farther but worth mentioning:
While not in the heart of the Marais, you can’t really talk about craft coffee in Paris without mentioning La Caféotheque. Opened 9 years ago, it’s where many of today’s popular baristas trained, and it was essentially one of the first places in town that was referenced as a spot to get “good coffee” and not the typical Parisian, over-roasted and over-extracted stuff that offended the coffee journalists (if in fact being a coffee journalist is a thing). They continue to roast and sell coffees from around the world in a cozy, no-frills setting.
Located at 52, rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville.