We completely understand the desire to spend much of your Paris holiday in traditional cafés. But if you’ve reached your quota of typical French brasseries, think about checking out some of the not-so-ordinary cafés that are springing up around the city…
Ever heard of an AntiCafé? The concept is simple, instead of paying for your food and drink, you pay for the time you spend in the café. And the cakes, salads, coffee, tea and juices are all unlimited! Located in a cobbled side road just next to the Pompidou Center, the AntiCafé also offers free WiFi, board games, spaces to sit and relax, and even desks you can work at. If you’re in Paris for a business trip, this is the perfect place to catch up on emails over a coffee (or several). They also offer 30 minutes free if it’s your first visit, so check out their website for more information.
79 rue Quincampoix, 75003
Métro: Etienne Marcel or Rambuteau
Everybody is talking about the new Café des Chats that opened in September 2013. It has become so popular, in fact, that you have to reserve up to three weeks in advance. But what is it? Well, the answer lies in the name, really. This café/tearoom is also home to twelve cats, who roam around the café freely. These feline regulars are all rescue cats, and love nothing more than curling up on customers’ laps for a catnap! The idea comes from Japan, where cat cafés are hugely popular. At the Café des Chats, customers are briefed on cat-etiquette (wash your hands before stroking, don’t wake a sleeping cat, don’t feed them etc.) and then left to enjoy a delicious quiche or herbal tea to a purring soundtrack!
16 rue Michel Lecomte, 75003
As much of a bar-restaurant as a café, Café A, situated between the trendy Canal saint Martin and the Gare de l’Est, is a haven of peace in the busy 10th arrondissement. What makes this place special is its history: located inside an old convent now owned by the “Maison de l’Architecture”. The building itself is impressive, but what makes visitors come back time and time again is the lovely outside space. You’d never think you were in a bustling city, as the high walls and surrounding trees cut out the noise of car horns outside. If it’s a warm evening, this is the ideal place to rest your legs over a glass of cold white wine.
148-154 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin, 75010
Métro: Gare de l’Est
It’s the end of the world. No, really, we’re recommending a café/bar called “The Last Bar before the End of the World” (Le dernier bar avant la fin du monde.) Sci-fi and comic book fans take note, this one’s for you. Proud to call itself a space for the expression of imagination culture, you can drink your coffee while geeking out to your heart’s content, surrounded by World of Warcraft and Star Wars figurines, and a “Medieval steampunk” décor. There are bookshelves full of sci-fi books and board games, and the bar regularly hosts events, such as the “Blind Test du Geek” being held on January 29. Check their website for upcoming events.
Address: 19 avenue Victoria, 75001