There's just something about Saint-Germain-des-Près
that makes you feel like going to a coffee shop to relax. It's a bustling part of the French capital, that's for sure, and while there are many exciting places to explore, sights to see, and people to meet, you'll also need to take a break every once and a while. And you couldn't have picked a better district for it. With fine cafes like Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, Coutume Café, Café Le Procope, and Marcello on offer, you can easily relax and unwind here. Moreover, these are some of the most historic coffee shops in all of Paris! You won't believe the stories they tell!
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Cheng-en Cheng
Café de Flore
One of the longest-running and undoubtedly the iconic café on Bd Saint-Germain, Café de Flore is a definite must-see. You've probably already seen it online, particularly posted on travel inspo Instagram pages. Having opened in the 1880s, it's one of the oldest cafes in Paris. Not to mention a landmark in the 6th arrondissement. Influential figures like painter Pablo Picasso and philosopher Georges Bataille were once its patrons. And today, it stands as a preserved relic of those tumultuous times. Yet, even without the historical significance, Café de Flore remains a great place for a cup of coffee in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Les Deux Magots
In the American writer's essay, 'A Tale of Two Cafes,' he pits Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore as main rivals. And that's not necessarily far from the truth. Though the two coffee shops were never antagonistic towards each other, they did compete—or more accurately, shared—for the same legendary patrons. Just like Café de Flore, many of the 20th century's intellectual and artistic elites frequented Les Deux Magots. There are Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso, Ernst Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir and more. From the start of the 20th century, peaking in the 1920s
, up to right before World War II, Les Deux Magots served as the center of café society.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ @2014 David McSpadden
Café Le Procope
Now, if you truly want to talk about historic cafes in Paris, let alone those in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, look no further than Café Le Procope! Founded in 1686, it's undoubtedly the oldest establishment of its kind in the entire French capital. The fact that it's still open to this day is a marvel in its own right. However, it's also the fact that US founding father and then American ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin, worked on the US constitution here truly makes the place historically significant. You can also see Napoleon's hat displayed in a glass case if you visit the cafe now.
Source: Café Le Procope
Though not as historically significant as the first three places, Coutume Café is undoubtedly a culinary hotspot in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Located on Rue de Babylone, it takes its coffees and teas very seriously. While many would argue that most cafes in Paris focus more on their beautiful spaces and charming ambiances, Coutume Café is truly all about the warm beverages they serve. They offer exotic coffee brands from different countries, herbal teas with relaxing properties, and the like. It's here where you'll really get the right cup of coffee
that will perk you up no matter what time of the day it is!
Source: Coutume Café Facebook Page
As far as cafes in Paris are concerned, the ones from Saint-Germain-des-Prés are truly worth your while. They're the type of charming coffee shops, with the right ambiance and excellent food, that you'd expect in the French capital!