If you saw the movie “Paris, je t’aime” then you have seen the inside of this lovely turn of the century café-restaurant located right across the street from the pretty square Trousseau—a perfect view from the heated terrasse. My favorite time to hang out at Le Square Trousseau is during off-hours when there is always a free table on the terrasse (and not too many smokers around) and for l’apéro or breakfast. They serve good coffee and some of the best croissants and pain au chocolats (voted best in Paris) that come from the very popular bakery next door, Blé Sucré.
The restaurant fills up pretty quickly for lunch and dinner so I would recommend making a reservation. If you want to try a dish that makes this restaurant more than worth going back to, try the seven-hour lamb. Oh, and the hamburger looks delicious. Le Square Trousseau restaurant can also accommodate private parties up to 18 people in the restaurant’s adjacent private dining-room. The food is good, the staff is great, the place is very charming, the atmosphere is peaceful, there’s free Wi-Fi and magazines, Le Square Trousseau is always open—it’s a great address.
Le square Trousseau
1 Rue Antoine Vollon
M-Sun: 8am-2pm (lunch/dinner menu from 12pm until 12am non-stop)
I know a place in Paris where the espressos don’t taste like tar. Established as a coffee roaster since 1880, Café Verlet is no secret to coffee and tea lovers; three Michelin stars chefs such as Alain Passard, Pierre Gagnaire or Gérard Passédat order their coffee there. Owned by Eric Duchossoy who comes from a family with a long tradition of coffee roasters, Café Verlet has been in the hands of the same family for the past three generations.
Open all day, Café Verlet offers a small lunch menu as well as some tarts from the fancy pastry shop Stohrer. But what stands out the most on the menu is the two-page list of coffee beans to choose from: you pick the coffee beans of your choice and they grind them right there and then to make your espresso drink.
Among the wide selection of coffee beans for sale (Africa, Central and South America, Asia) Café Verlet has a selection of gourmets beans from Australia, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Yemen, Hawaii and a very rare one from Guadeloupe considered one of the best in the world.
Café Verlet also has a wide selection of teas (about 50) sold in bulk, ranging from classics to blended and flavored teas, with some rare and very fine ones such as the Japanese Gyokuro (green tea) or the Chinese Yin Zhen Jasmin (white tea).
256 Rue Saint-Honoré
Metro: Palais-Royal - Musée du Louvre
M-Sat: 9.30am-7pm (Tea salon closes at 6.30pm)
Closed on Sunday
At Café des Musées, the food is seasonal, straightforward and comforting. Whether choosing the Entrecôte à la plancha with fries and salad in a tarragon dressing (17,50€) or the 19€ dinner menu with its artichoke (served with both crème fraîche and vinaigrette), mackerel and rice, and the plum tart of the day, you will find yourself enjoying a simple meal very well crafted, in a relaxed atmosphere. For dessert try the red currant clafoutis for its perfect balance of sweet and sour (the caramelized hard crust makes it more of a crème brulée than a clafoutis, but that’s just one more reason to order it!) The service is very friendly and the servers are more than happy to speak English. The menu offers a good selection of classic French dishes reasonably priced and for lunch the prix fixe menu is a bargain at 12€. The Café des Musées is open all day and serves breakfast until noon.
Café des Musées
49 Rue de Turenne
Metro: Fille du Calvaire
You might have seen the restaurant/café Le Rostand in Paris Je t’aime, with Gena Rowlands and Bob Hoskins being served by Gerard Depardieu. When it isn’t used as a movie set Le Rostand has a wonderful terrasse facing the gorgeous Jardin du Luxembourg. Le Rostand is a perfect spot for sipping champagne and eating olives in the afternoon sun, or indulging in a hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream and a sweet crêpe, say for example, after visiting Le Panthéon.
6 place Edmond Rostand
Le refectoire means refectory. The water glasses are the same ones that French kids drink out of in the school cafeteria (the ones that have a number at the bottom.) The dishes served overall are traditional bistro food, sometimes with a twist such as the hachis parmentier (a ground beef-mash potato dish) made here with boudin noir sausage instead of beef. It would have been perfect if served a bit warmer. The hamburger comes with bacon, cheese and avocado and is served with good fries. The place gets very busy around lunch time and quickly empties as people go back to work. Le Refectoire is open all day every day of the week, the wine is cheap and good, there’s free WI-FI, the atmosphere is nice, the servers are very friendly and the few tables on the sidewalk (I’m not going to call it a terrasse) get a lot of sun. You might even get the unsolicited company of the house cat.
80 Boulevard Richard Lenoir
Metro: Richard Lenoir, Saint-Ambroise
M-Sat: 8.30am-12am (lunch: 12pm-2.30pm
When 70’s formica countertops meet 90’s track lighting, you have Le Petit Café on rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine. It is a very small and charming little neighborhood café, with 8 tables (6 tables of 4 and 2 tables of 2) and a bar — a small formica bar. It is tended by the lovely Arlette, a lady in her early seventies, who bakes the sweet tarts and the delicious quiches herself. I walked in really hungry one day and even though it was tea time she made me up a plate of quiche Lorraine and cruditées (shredded carrots, celery remoulade, red cabbage and some diced beets). It totally hit the spot.
Le Petit Café is a very mellow place, a little corner of peace and quiet in the middle of the very busy Faubourg Saint-Antoine—the cabinetmakers’ neighborhood since the Middle Ages.
Le Petit Café
89 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine
Closed on Sunday
Le Fumoir in Paris has been mentioned everywhere, from the Paris guides to the NYTimes. It’s location is prime, it is right across the street from the world’s most visited museum — the Louvre. It’s very central, serves food all day, has a few tables on the sidewalk that are heated during the cold days and are hard to get when it’s warm and sunny. Le Fumoir has a cozy atmosphere, 1940’s music, dim lights, leather chairs and dark wooden tables, the espressos are served with speculoos (cinnamon cookies) and water, lots of it—my American friends should appreciate that. It’s a few steps away from one of my favorite places in Paris: the cour carrée du Louvre. The cour carrée du Louvre is most beautiful, i think, at dusk. I was once alone there (probably unlikely to happen ever again) until someone walked by and stopped for a short while, it was just the two of us, me and Isabella Rossellini.
6 Rue de l’Amiral Coligny
All year round.