Café de Flore
Take a trip to Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement of Paris to experience Café de Flore, a restaurant that has been around since the 1880’s and continues to be a hot spot for intellectuals and artists alike. Since its creation, literature greats, film legends, and fashion icons, such as Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Brigitte Bardot, and Paul Lagerfeld have frequented the café. Today the cafe still attracts an elite clientele, from Sonia Rykiel and her daughter to Al Pacino and Robert de Niro. The attraction comes as no surprise, for the menu is extensive and offers all of the French cafe classics, from French onion soup to croque monsieur. The only flaw is in the prices, where thirteen euros will get you a small plate of cooked string beans. Yet it is hard not to caught up in the excitement of the café, where the waiters are accustomed to a never-ending swarm of customers and crowded spaces; in fact, they thrive in this environment and are fast paced and efficient. Whether you sit outside or inside, you’ll spend the afternoon feeling like a real Parisian.
172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
Open everyday from 7am to 2pm
In the heart of the Latin Quarter, tucked away into a small pedestrian street in the Cour du Commerce you will come across this hidden gem, La Jacobine. The restaurant has the decor of a French country kitchen, and upon entering, it is easy to feel as if you have just been welcomed into someone’s home. The gourmet salads are surprisingly large, piled high with fresh vegetable ingredients and meat that is cooked to a tee. The pastries are equally divine. If you are a fruit lover be sure to try the Crumble aux fruits rouges (Berry crumble) or the Macaronade aux framboises (raspberry macaronade). The atmosphere is warm and inviting, making it the perfect place to spend hours in with a chocolat chaude (hot chocolate) and a good book. If you’re lucky, you may even get served by waiter that bares a resemblance to Beatle’s guitarist George Harrison.
59 Rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris
Open Monday 5pm-11:30pm
Les Deux Abeilles
Right near the Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement is Les Deux Abeilles, which means the two bumblebees. Located in one of the touristiest areas in all of Paris, this café is an unlikely refreshing find, tucked away on a quiet street with its simple green awnings and quaint furnishings. Exquisite desserts are colorfully displayed on a cart by the entrance, and the menu abounds with fresh ingredients, savory vegetarian options, and a long list of teas with pots that seem to be never-ending. The café is composed of three rooms with cozy and eclectic Parisian décor: floral wallpaper, potted plants, and a lattice ceiling that lets in streams of light making this lunch nook a corner of paradise! With a predominantly female clientele, Les Deux Abeilles is the perfect place for families and friends to get together to indulge in an afternoon of tea and tarts.
189 Rue Université, 75007 Paris
Open from Monday to Saturday 9am to 7pm
Restaurant at the Musée d’Orsay
This restaurant is on the second floor of the Musée d’Orsay, a museum that has been transformed from an old train station and is in itself a work of art. The lines to enter the restaurant (as well as the museum) can be long, but once inside you are thrust into a world of exquisite beauty. Chandeliers line the outer perimeter of the ceiling, which is covered in a mural of angels floating in a cloudy sky, painted in blues, purples and pinks. The moldings are ornate with gold detailing, and the large windows make the room come alive with light. This restaurant is definitely a splurge, but the traditional French inspired cuisine is flavorful and inventive. Have you ever had an egg poached in red wine? In addition, the staff is fast moving as they clear tables and seat guests, sending orders straight to the kitchen with portable electronic devices to ensure that the meals will be delivered in the fasted possible time.
Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de Bellechasse, 75007 Paris
Lunch from 11:45am to 2:30pm
Salon de Thé 3:30pm to 5:30pm
Closed on Mondays
If tea and ice cream are what you crave then this “salon de thé” (tea house) is the perfect place to go. With a history that dates back to 1954 , the original Berthillon café is located on the Île Saint-Louis and is famous for its ice creams and sorbets. Going to Berthillon is an experience that that will wow you. Everything inside the café, from the walls and the seats to the fresh flowers and waiters’ uniforms, are decked out in purples. Even the vintage carnival masks that rest behind glass display cases are painted to match. Be sure to try the Peach Melba, which is smothered in whipped cream, raspberry sauce and pistachios, or the salty butter caramel ice cream. Also, don’t be surprised if you spot French celebrities taking dessert to go; Daniel Auteuil and his young son have been known to frequent this sweet shop.
29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’île, 75004 Paris
Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am-8pm
Story and Photos by Claire Schmidt