Escargots? Caviar? Steak Tartare? The French may be renowned for their cuisine, but defeatedly, I admit to you that I might possess the least adventurous palate you'll encounter. Still, if you're anywhere near as apprehensive as I am to try Des cuisses de grenouille (aka frog legs), don't you worry. Paris offers menus even for the timid. In any case, I could survive solely off of croissants and baguettes if I had to.
I'm by no means asserting that the following are objectively the best cafés and pâtisseries in Paris, but they are the places I've quite enjoyed for casual days out meandering the Parisian streets or nights spent sitting outdoors breathing in the magic of the city. If you want to capture that Parisian dining feel without being laden by Michelin Star prices or caught in tourist traps, here is a list of 5 cafés and pâtisseries you should dine at in Paris.
1. Café St Regis
Imagine we take a trip to Paris together. It's our first evening in the city, but somehow we've gotten separated (most likely because I wanted to spend six hours in Shakespeare and Company while you wanted to do more with your life). Night approaches, but we still can't find a way to contact each other. Chances are, you'll find me at Café St Regis.
I can never make it through a trip to Paris without eating here a handful of times, and it is a requisite to eat dinner here on my first night. I'm in love with their bolognese. Plus, they have a fantastique selection of cocktails.
The café opens at 7am and closes at 2am, so on late nights, you can spy locals and visitors alike lounging outside, sipping cocktails and conversing about life and existence in different languages.
Address: 6 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004 Paris, France
2. Café de Flore
I featured Café de Flore in my post on An Ideal Day in Paris, because it truly is one of the most iconic cafés in all of Paris.
As I shared in the article, you'll find Café de Flore on the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue Saint-Benoit. Renowned writers, philosophers, French intellectuals, and even artists like Pablo Picasso were once regulars at the cafe. Some may think it's over-hyped, and it does tend to have a constant flow of patrons, but it is still one of my favorite spots in Paris. Their coffee and tea are sublime, and if you're in the mood for something sweeter, order the Chocolat Viennois, a decadent hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.
In addition to coffee, tea, and pastries, they also offer a menu of salads and sandwiches to provide you with sustenance to make it through the rest of your day.
Pro tip: Arrive before lunch to ensure you get one of their fresh croissants to savor with your coffee or tea.
Address: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain 75006, Paris, France
Boasting three locations, Carette is a pâtisserie that offers an inviting selection of pastries and some of my favorite macarons in the city. With a lovely selection of salads and sandwiches, Carette is the perfect place for an afternoon tea or lunch.
Of the three locations, my personal favorite is the one located inside Place des Vosges, the oldest and also one of the prettiest courtyards in Paris. After indulging in a sweet and savory afternoon at Carette, step into the square for a quiet stroll and watch a musician or artist at work with the arts they've mastered.
Place de Vosges Location: 25 Place des Vosges, 75003 Paris, France
4. Louise Café
After a day at the Louvre, stray away from the crowds and take just a fifteen minute walk to Louise Cafe. This cozy cafe with warm colors offers a savory menu of homestyle and quintessentially French cuisine. You might even meet Louise! Try the coq a vin and their divine lasagna, or if you have a more developed palate, their fois gras and ratatouille.
Address: 8 rue Croix des Petits Champs, 75001 Paris, France
I'm certain I've inherited my sweet tooth from my father. We relish desserts and pastries of all colors and ethnicities, but for some reason, I have never fancied cream puffs... until I tried Odette. Just around the corner from Shakespeare and Company, you'll spy a quaint vertical building outfitted with a bicycle out front and cascading flower boxes in the windows. But inside lies the real magic.
With a range of flavors from pistache to fruits de bois, you'll feel compelled to buy an entire box just to try them all. If you have time, wind your way up the stairs with your box(es) of cream puffs to their seating area, that feels a bit like a cozy attic, where you can gaze out the window at Notre Dame while sipping a cup of their chocolat chaud.
Address: 77 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris, France
P.S. During my next trip to Paris, I'll post a more comprehensive list of my favorite dining spots, from finer restaurants to boulangeries.
P.P.S. I credit my sister for taking me to many of these places. She is my favorite person to try new restaurants with, not only because we enjoy similar environments and types of food, but also because she takes as long as I do to take food photos. And of course, it's always more enjoyable to eat out with someone who enjoys their time too.