Coffee in Paris: What’s Open in August

22 July 2016
Boot Cafe Paris

We’ve reached that time of year again. Parisians have packed their bags to the brim and begun their annual exodus out of the city for summer holiday. That also includes restaurant and coffee shop owners who will be taking a breather. My friend Wendy has a solid list of restaurants staying open this summer so I thought I would tackle the specialty coffee shops I enjoy and that you may want to visit in July/August. And if you’re not coming to Paris and are wondering why on earth this would be relevant to you, look at it as a sign of positive change: more and more establishments are staggering their closures so that we aren’t stranded without good coffee and community! Other relevant spots to be added as information is available. — Amami – closed August 8-31st Boot Café – staying open Café Craft – closed August 12-26th Cafe Lomi – closed August 1-21st Café Oberkampf – closed August 15-31st Coutume Café  – closed August 22-31st on rue de Babylone; August 8-22nd at the Coutume Instituutti Cream – closed August 1-15th Fondation Café – staying open (reduced hours) Fragments– Staying open Fringe – closed until end of August Hardware Société – staying open (normal […]…

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The New Parisian Cafe: La Fontaine de Belleville

1 June 2016
La Fontaine de Belleville

Before the weather took a nosedive (The Local reported that it has been the rainiest month of May since 1873), I was celebrating the opening of the ultimate Parisian neighborhood café by engaging in the consummate Parisian pastime, apéro hour. La Fontaine de Belleville, the first café extension from the roasters behind Belleville Brûlerie, is the quintessential corner hangout, adapted to today’s tastes. By which I mean that it blends quality coffee, quality craft beer, wine and spirits and simply delicious snacks like pain perdu and yogurt for breakfast, croque monsieur for lunch, and top-shelf cheese and charcuterie for evening nibbles, in a space that successfully looks both to the past and to the future with glorious effect. It’s a warm environment with spacious terrace seating, enjoyable music, and a rollicking vibe that sends the message that Parisians will never, under any circumstance, relinquish their bon vivant tendencies. But most importantly, it sees the gap between the specialty coffee world and the Parisian café idiom close just enough so that devotees of both can feel satisfied. Operating as a café since 1915, the café had a firm identity and a loyal set of regulars. The Belleville trio David Flynn, Thomas Lehoux and Jeff Marois didn’t want to radically alter its visual […]…

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Shakespeare & Company Café Opens in Paris

12 October 2015

There are a few special places in Paris that need little introduction – the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, a handful of parks and, I’d argue, the literary institution, Shakespeare & Company. But I’ll give you a little background anyway. When it was owned by American expat Sylvia Beach in the 1920s-1930s, it was a magnet for the period’s literary greats, from Hemingway to Fitzgerald and Joyce. It shuttered during the Nazi occupation and only reopened in 1951, when George Whitman, another American, took over the space. Under Whitman’s charge, the bookshop continued to be a draw for writers (Langston Hughes, Anais Nin, James Baldwin) who came to work, hangout and eventually present their work. When he passed, his daughter Sylvia took the reigns and has grown the business ever since. That one bookshop with such legacy has been so fervently protected and cared for is a testament to Sylvia’s love for the space; what it symbolizes within her family and for so many readers and writers around the world. So when I was interviewing Marc Grossman of Bob’s Bake Shop (and Bob’s Juice Bar and Bob’s Kitchen) for my book and learned he was going to be involved […]…

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Paris Snapshots: Favorites du Moment

8 June 2015

For the next week, I’m stationed in New York City (and hopefully I can soon share what motivated the visit!) – feel free to follow my adventures on Instagram! In the meantime, here is another edition of Paris snapshots with some of my favorite sights and edibles of the moment. // Pooches frolicking // Nature showing off // Friends who bake (and bake well!) // Everything by Carl Marletti (but particularly the Lily Valley) // Dressed up profiteroles by Philippe Urraca, Meilleur Ouvrier de France & President MOF Pâtisserie // The perfect cup at Steel (more on Steel in my story for T Magazine! Photo by Jesse Morgan). What’s on your must-try list?…

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How to Find Good Coffee in Paris

6 March 2015

Last year I shared with you WHERE you can find specialty coffee in Paris (a post that is regularly updated). Now, I want to share HOW to find the best in a market that is rapidly maturing. The below is the unedited version of a coffee story I wrote for the NYT T Magazine this week, with loads of additional thoughts from the coffee movement’s experts.  *** The coffee tune in Paris has changed. In the last two years, coffee has evolved from much-maligned to much-adored by a burgeoning set of specialty coffee aficionados, celebrated as much for the newfound awareness the third wave movement inspired as for the talents pioneering it. With new openings every few months, the market is rapidly maturing. But with greater choice comes a greater challenge for the coffee lover. Given the growing democratization of artisanal coffee, particularly in Paris, almost anyone with business acumen and an ability to ape the coffee shop pre-requisites – colorful Inker ceramic mugs, La Marzocco machinery, minimalist, distressed wood interiors, artisanal cakes and tattooed baristas – can presumably open and run a shop. With those characteristics firmly in place, the assumption among many is that the product must be quality. Lest […]…

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