From classic bistros to hipster hang outs, the travel experts at Expedia share their five favourite Parisian cafes. Keep reading for more info on these quintessentially French institutions…

Paris: the City of Light, the capital of France, the home of romance. A city break in Paris promises much for those who dream of visiting the capital of France, whether they want to walk in the footsteps of intellectuals and artists or see the locations of modern day movies, such as Amelie, Russian Dolls, L’Appartement, La Haine or Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris to name but a few.

As we all know, nothing could be more quintessentially French than enjoying a coffee and croissant at a quirky café. So read on for some top tips on five cafés that you would kick yourself for missing…

Café A

Situated in what was once a convent, Café A is a favourite amongst the Parisian creative community. And it’s little wonder: the rest of the building includes two centres dedicated to architecture and one to the arts, and the eatery itself hosts ongoing exhibitions that are refreshed regularly throughout the summer months.

Pass through the cloistered courtyard and the bar area to discover another huge draw – the walled secret garden around the back! While away an afternoon enjoying an organic wine and then, as night falls, check out small gigs, cine-concerts and DJ sets.

48 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin

cafe a paris
Photo by Blowing Puffer Fish.

Café Saint Regis

From the vintage décor to the waiters in long white aprons, Café Saint Regis is quintessentially Parisian experience. The place is packed out eight until late, and sees busy crowds at all hours of the day. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, early evening happy hour – the people keep coming even after it turns into a nightspot at midnight.

Found on the cobbled streets of the Ile Saint Louis, behind the Notre Dame cathedral, this café is popular with tourists and locals alike. It’s hip, it’s stylish, and it’s excellent for brunch. Order the Eggs Benedict and relax with an espresso as the world goes by…

6 Rue Jean du Bellay

Le Bal Café

A restaurant that receives credit from no less than the New York Times, Le Bal Café serves an Anglo-French fusion to trendy young creative professionals from the gentrified neighbourhoods near Place de Clichy. It’s situated directly below a bookstore and photography exhibition space that does its hipster credentials no harm.

The café has a simple Parisian elegance – step in from the cobbled alleyway to a café with white walls, a high black ceiling and minimalist lights – and the food offers a similar aesthetic: understated style with plenty of substance.

6 Impasse de la Défense

Les Deux Moulins

Critics will point to the fact that the café is often busy with tourists, while others may say that the food and drink is a little overpriced for what it is. But even if that is true, this place is the café from the movie Amélie, so it’s a must for fans of this quirky French favourite and film buffs in general!

It’s lively, fun and the food is enjoyable. Kick back with a café au lait, and take in the décor that features a goodly amount of references to Mlle Amélie Poulain. You’ll also find a shrine to the filmic heroine if you make your way to the toilets.

15 Rue Lepic

Photo by Fabrizio.
Photo by Fabrizio.

Café de Flore

One for the writers and intellectuals among you, Café de Flore is something of a mecca for those who know their existentialism from their nihilism. A regular haunt of creatives and existentialists including Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Café de Flore has bohemian credentials to burn.

With a prime location and excellent quality fare, the café is a little pricier than most of our other suggestions. Sit down in the conservatory-style patio with a book – preferably something by Baudelaire – order un café noire or some aperitifs, and do some high-brow people watching.

172 Boulevard Saint-Germain

Have you been to Paris and encountered a café that you feel simply should not be overlooked? Tell us your thoughts and experiences below.

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