The coffee scene in Paris is undergoing a massive transformation. Cute picture-perfect cafes are making room for cool spaces where the focus is firmly on the quality of the brew. Here’s where to find the best coffee in Paris.

Ten years ago, on my first trip to the city of lights, I discovered the paradox of cafes in Paris.

Sitting in a beautiful café, every detail had been crafted to perfection. Small round tables lined the pavement with well-coiffed waiters hurrying between them. Wisteria clung to pastel walls and the smell of freshly baked croissants wafted in the air. Vintage mirrors were scribbled with today’s menu and the sounds of French jazz competed with lively chatter.

Then my coffee arrived. Pale, grey and lifeless. The care taken to create the perfect Parisian café atmosphere came to a grinding halt at the coffee grinder.

Today, however, coffee in Paris runs to a very different tune with the third wave coffee movement in full swing. Single-origin beans sourced via direct trade are prepared to exacting standards; cafes roast their own blend and alternative forms of preparation add to the expansive list of rich caffeine offerings. Subsequently, coffee in Paris has moved from a commodity to a fully-fledged artisanal product.

Here’s our review of the best coffee in Paris where as much craftsmanship goes into the cup as it does the café setting.

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best coffee in paris / best cafes in paris
IN THIS GUIDE

BEST COFFEE IN PARIS

01 – OB LA DI
02 – FRINGE
03 – COUTUME CAFÉ
04 – CAFÉ OBERKAMPF
05 – FRAGMENTS

01 – OB LA DI

Ob La Di is a cute café space in the heart of Le Marais with details reminiscent of a traditional bistro in a sleek modern execution. Their vintage mirrors, gold trimmings, marble benches and geometric tiling give the place a bright uplifting feel.

Lomi coffee delivered a subtle, caramel taste that was perfectly crafted into a flat white with deliciously glossy milk, stretched to perfection. Unlike Fondation Café, the café crème at Ob la Di was a single shot so a flat white is required if you’re looking for a stronger caffeine hit to get your Paris sightseeing underway. In addition to espresso-based drinks, Ob La Di also has various other brewing options including Chemex, Aeropress and a nifty looking pour-over device that was both art and function.

Ob La Di have a good selection of light breakfast options including pastries, homemade granolas and on our visit, delicious eggs with hummus. As with many of the best cafes in Paris, Ob La Di is small with only 6 seats at tables, plus 5 stools at the counter, so you may need to time your visit to snare a spot.

Ob La Di / 8:00 – 17:00 Mon-Fri; 9:00 – 17:00 Sat-Sun | Location54 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris | Beans: Lomi | Machine: La Marzocco.

02 – FRINGE

Fringe delivers one of the best coffees in Paris in a cool modern space with an emphasis on one of the owner’s other loves, photography. Beautiful black and white images adorn the walls, various shades of grey provide a relaxing vibe and the atmosphere is finished off with light shades that look like big fluffy clouds.

The coffee was as on-point as the surroundings. A long selection of espresso-based coffee options were available including allongé, noisette, cortado, cappuccino and latte, but no flat white. After a quick chat with the friendly staff, we settled on a concoction that was going to be a flat white in spirit, if not in name. And who cares what it’s called with coffee this good; fragrant and full-bodied with smooth sweet notes. The taste was subtle but the finish long and overall, a very satisfying coffee experience.

Fringe has a great selection of breakfast options, which they source directly from the producers. Various beautifully presented ingredients on toast as well as fresh juices, granolas and pastries round out the breakfast menu. With around 16 seats, it’s small enough to feel cosy but large enough to grab a seat.

Fringe / 9:00 – 17:30 Mon-Fri; 10:00 – 17:00 Sat-Sun | Location106 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris | Beans: Coffee Collective – Single Origin | Machine: La Marzocco

03 – COUTUME CAFÉ

Coutume Café is a large restaurant with an industrial-inspired feel in the heart of the West Bank; an ideal way to start the day before visiting the nearby Rodin Museum. Professional coffee activity bustles behind a white tile bar with exposed light bulbs, plants growing in old sinks and vintage-looking roasting equipment.

Coutume Café roast their own beans which they use in-house and supply to other cafes in Paris. They also conduct courses on all thing’s coffee-making, so it was no surprise that their coffee was technical perfection. The espresso was extracted to scientific measurements and the milk was textured with intense focus until perfectly glossy and velvety. This created a delicious flat white that was punchy, sweet and fragrant.

They offer a good selection of brunch items with an emphasis on seasonal vegetarian dishes with some vegan options. Compared to some of the other cafes on this list the food lacked a bit of inspiration and the service was a bit brisk. But, for scientifically pleasing, exacting standards, Coutume Café delivers some of the best coffee in Paris.

Coutume Café / 8:30 – 17:30 Mon-Fri; 9:00 – 18:00 Sat-Sun | Location47 Rue de Babylone, 75007 Paris | Beans: San Francisco (Colombia) | Machine: Synesso

best coffee in paris / best cafes in paris

04 – CAFÉ OBERKAMPF

Café Oberkampf is a comfy coffee spot styled in an unfussy way with a priority on function. Ingredients wait in easy reach on shelves and fruit sits in boxes on the floor. The result is a warm and casual cafe whose emphasis is very much on food and coffee.

And it’s gold stars all around for execution. The coffee options cover the full spectrum of styles from espresso to allongé, through to noisette, piccolo, cortado, and a subtle quaffable latte. But, it was the flat white that I road-tested which was rich, bold and complex. After what must have been an expertly timed extraction, the final presentation was a glossy flat white that would be at home in many Melbourne cafés. Café Oberkampf delivered what was easily a best coffee in Paris.

The breakfast options were a colourful blend of punchy flavours and simple execution. Their avocado on toast with dukkah, ginger and pomegranate was spot on, as was their halloumi tartaine. Everything else around me looked equally as inviting.

Sainte Chapelle / 8:00 – 17:00 | Location3 Rue Neuve Popincourt, 75011 Paris | Beans: Brulerie de Belleville | Machine: Kees van der Westen – Mirage

best coffee in paris / best cafes in paris

05 – FRAGMENTS

It’s hipster-chic all the way at Fragments with exposed brick walls, ceiling beams, low hanging lights and an obscure location that you’d probably never walk past on a stroll around Le Marais. The warm cosy atmosphere is friendly and trendy in equal proportions.

Like all good hipster joints, all the decision making is taken out of the hands of customers. Therefore, the coffee choices are espresso, cappuccino or latte in single or double shot. Perfectly fine by me. The double shot cappuccino was a deluxe, perfectly executed cup of joy. Strong bitter coffee with a hint of acidity was blended beautifully with dense velvety milk, textured under the control of a very skilled barista.

Tasty breakfast options are created in the open plan kitchen and include popular favourites such as avocado on toast, scrambled eggs and homemade granola. With around 20 seats and table service, it’s the ideal hidden spot to meet people for one of the best coffees on Paris before hitting the sites.

Fragments / 8:00 – 18:00 Mon-Fri; 10:00 – 18:00 Sat-Sun | Location76 Rue de Tournelles, 75003 Paris | Beans: Hexagone | Machine: Kees van der Western

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