Tag Archives: save the paris cafe

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Edith’s Café Spotlight: A La Place Saint Georges

[Trouvez ci-dessous la version française]
A La Place Saint-George has something very hard to find in most other Paris cafés these days: sugar cubes. France, along with Belgium, is one of the few countries in the world where you can find sugar cubes. This café also has an incredible view of the romantic Place Saint-Georges, which is fitting because you are in the district of the 19th-Century Romantics.

The painter Eugéne Delacroix once had his art studio around the corner, and a passionate, young Victor Hugo wrote his poetry not far away. The renown female writer George Sand (George, like the square but without the S) used to organize terrific pot-luck parties nearby with her chéri, musician Frederic Chopin. Of course, the two lovers never forgot to invite their neighbor Honoré de Balzac.

The view from the terrace of A la Place Saint Georges. ©Edith de Belleville

While you’re stirring your spoon in your coffee to dissolve that sugar cube, you’ll be able to admire, just in front of you, the elegant private mansion of the marquise de Paiva, the famous courtesan. A man would pay one hundred times the price of your coffee to spend just half an hour with her. You’ll spend that same half hour in this cafe, contemplating the flamboyant artists and poets who used to live in this district—their voices whispering to you. And overcome with inspiration, you’ll compose a poem on the back of your bill, a passionate verse in the style of Alfred de Musset, tragic Romantic poet. Don’t forget to keep the bill. —Edith de Belleville

  • Where? 60 Rue Saint-Georges, tel: 01.42.80.39.32
  • When? Monday-Saturday, 8am-midnight; Sunday 8am-6pm
  • How to get there? Métro Saint-Georges, line 12
  • What to drink? Coffee: 2.40 euros, hot chocolate: 4.60 euros
  • What to eat? Planches de charcuterie or fromage d’Auvergne to share, from 18 euros
  • Credit card minimum: 10 euros

Don’t miss Edith’s cafe recommendations. Sign up for our newsletter on the sidebar menu on the homepage

EDITH DE BELLEVILLE is a licensed tour guide in Paris, and the author of Belles et Rebelles, à l’ombre des Grandes Parisiennes (Éditions Erick Bonnier) available in French at Fnac.fr Amazon.fr and Amazon.ca


VERSION FRANÇAISE

©Edith de Belleville

Le café A la place Saint-George a quelque chose que l’on trouve de moins en moins dans les cafés à Paris: du sucre en morceaux. La France est avec la Belgique un des seuls pays au monde où l’on trouve du sucre en morceaux.

Ce café a aussi une vue imprenable sur la romantique place Saint-Georges car vous êtes dans le quartier des Romantiques du 19ème siècle. Le ténébreux peintre Eugène Delacroix avait son atelier au coin de la rue et le jeune et passionné Victor Hugo écrivait ses poèmes pas loin. La scandaleuse écrivaine George Sand (George comme la place mais sans la lettre s) organisait des fêtes d’enfer juste à côté avec son cher et tendre musicien Frederic Chopin. Bien sûr les deux amoureux n’oubliaient jamais d’inviter leur ami et voisin Honoré de Balzac.

Pendant que vous tournerez votre cuillère dans votre café afin de dissoudre votre sucre en morceau, vous pourrez aussi admirer juste en face de vous l’élégant hôtel particulier de la marquise de Paiva la célèbre courtisane. Alors vous penserez que les temps ont bien changé. Quel homme aujourd’hui se sentirait privilégié de payer cent fois le prix de votre café juste pour passer une demi-heure avec une femme ? Une demi-heure c’est exactement le temps qu’il vous faut pour vous rendre sur les traces de ces artistes flamboyants qui vécurent dans cet endroit poétique. Les voix de fantômes littéraires venus d’un passé onirique vous murmureront des vers délicieux. Alors, attablé au café de la place Saint-Georges et soudainement mû par une violente inspiration, vous composerez au dos de l’addition un poème que vous déclamerez avec flamme à votre dulcinée imitant le poète maudit et romantique Alfred de Musset. N’oubliez pas de conserver l’addition. —Edith de Belleville

  • Où ? 60 rue Saint-Georges, tel: 01.42.80.39.32
  • Quand ? Monday-Saturday, 8am-midnight; Sunday 8am-6pm
  • Comment y aller ? Métro Saint-Georges, line 12
  • Que boire ? Coffee 2.40 euros, hot chocolate 4.60 euros
  • Que manger ? Planches de charcuterie d’Auvergne à partager ; Planche de fromages d’Auvergne entre 18 et 19 euros
    Carte bleue minimum 10 euros

Guide-conférencière à Paris, EDITH DE BELLEVILLE est également l’auteure de Belles et Rebelles, à l’ombre des Grandes Parisiennes ( Éditions Erick Bonnier ) un livre disponible à la Fnac.fr Amazon.fr et Amazon.ca

Rester au courant avec Edith et ses cafés preferés ! Abonnez-vous à notre newsletter, ici.

Edith’s Café Spotlight: Le Castiglione

[Trouvez ci-dessous la version française]
There are cafés in Paris where the mere sound of the name evokes an emotion before you’ve even taken a sip of your coffee. On a cold, rainy Sunday morning in May, I was desperately searching for an open café when I stumbled upon Le Castiglione just near the chic place Vendôme. Since I didn’t want to go broke for the price of a coffee, I decided to drink mine at the bar, which is usually less expensive. Comfortably seated at one of the plush red velvet stools, I mused about the name of the café. Castiglione, of course, takes its name from the nearby street, rue de Castiglione, which was named in honor of the battle won by a then young and dashing Napoléon during his military campaign in Italy.

But there is another Castiglione. Not the name of the besieged city this time, but of a beautiful, young Italian woman. Bonaparte may have won Castiglione the city in the name of France, but Castiglione, the woman, won Napoléon in the name of her own homeland, Italy. This was during the second empire of Napoléon III, nephew of the first Napoléon. Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione was much adored by all the men of Paris, and vanquished the heart of Napoléon III. Many say her influence over the emperor helped establish the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Such was the power of her beauty.

Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione, by Pierson

Like Narcissus, Castiglione was likewise obsessed with her own beauty, and had many hundreds of portraits taken of herself in various costumes and scenarios by court photographers Mayer and Pierson, photos which still survive today. But her beauty lost its own battle with time, and she lost her joie de vivre as a result. She would only go out at night, afraid people might recognize her, and veiled all her mirrors in black, so she would not have to witness her fading beauty and advancing age. She ended her years in a lonely basement apartment with her many dogs at 26 Place Vendôme, succumbing to madness in the end. Outward beauty is nothing it seems without inner beauty—that is to say a minimum of culture, an appreciation of the deeper things of life.

That brings to mind a third Castiglione: Balthazar Castiglione. He codified the “beauty inside/out” principle, and it was he who wrote the guide of the perfect gentleman, a bestseller in Europe in the 16th Century. He even had his portrait painted by Rafael, the artist whose many Madonnas defined beauty for the era.

This elegant café, awash in red, is the ideal place to think about the importance of beauty in your life. And speaking of the perfect gentlemen, Thierry my waiter is the real thing. Everything here is a notch above; there is even a “Happy Coffee Hour” where, if you take your coffee at the bar before noon, you’ll pay only 1.60 euros instead of 1.80 euros.

As I sipped my coffee, I was suddenly seized by a desire to say hello to Mr. Balthazar Castiglione. So, I quickly paid and dashed under the raindrops towards the Louvre museum, where his Raphael portrait hangs. Café Castiglione must be like a magic filter through which beauty shines and draws you in, because one minute I’m sipping an ordinary coffee, and the next, I’m strolling in one of the biggest museums in the world, surrounded by the most beautiful art in the world. That’s one special café! —Edith de Belleville

  • Where? 235 Rue Saint-Honoré, 1st arr.
  • When? Open 7 days; 7am-11 :30pm
  • How to go? Métro Tuileries, Concorde line 1 or 12
  • When? from 7 to 2 oclock in the morning
  • What do drink/what to eat? Happy Coffee Hour: Coffee before noon at the bar is only 1.60 euros. View the menu. 

Don’t miss Edith’s cafe recommendations. Sign up for our newsletter on the sidebar menu on the homepage

EDITH DE BELLEVILLE is a licensed tour guide in Paris, and the author of Belles et Rebelles, à l’ombre des Grandes Parisiennes (Éditions Erick Bonnier) available in French at Fnac.fr Amazon.fr and Amazon.ca


VERSION FRANÇAISE

Il y a des cafés à Paris dont le nom seul vous donne déjà à réfléchir avant même d’avoir bu votre café. Un dimanche en mai alors qu’il pleuvait et qu’il faisait froid comme en hiver, je cherchais  désespérément un café encore ouvert. Le café Castiglione se trouve juste au coin de la chic place Vendôme. Ne voulant pas me ruiner pour un café,  je décidai donc de m’installer au comptoir. Assise confortablement sur mon tabouret recouvert de velours rouge, je me mis alors à rêver au nom de ce café. Castiglione, bien sûr, c’est le nom de la rue juste à coté. La rue Castiglione fut baptisée en l’honneur de la bataille gagnée par Napoléon Bonaparte lors de sa campagne militaire d’Italie quand il était jeune et beau.

Mais il y a une autre Castiglione. Elle est également italienne et ce n’est pas le nom d’une ville assiégée mais d’une femme jeune et belle dont le corps sculptural faisait fantasmer tous les mâles de Paris. Bonaparte a conquis la ville de Castiglione mais la Castiglione elle, a conquis Napoléon au nom de sa patrie, l’Italie.

C’était au temps du second Empire et l’empereur c’était Napoléon III, le neveu de Napoléon premier. Comme Narcisse, Virginia di Castiglione était folle de son corps et s’est fait prendre en photo des centaines de fois. Et puis elle a perdu sa bataille et s’est avouée vaincu quand sa beauté s’est flétrie. Elle est devenue vieille, pauvre et abandonné de tous. Enfin, abandonnée des humains car elle fini sa vie dans un soupirail avec ses nombreux chiens au 26 place Vendôme. Elle ne sortait que la nuit de peur qu’on la reconnaisse. Elle a recouvert tous ses miroirs d’un voile noir pour ne plus se voir. Elle est devenue véritablement folle. La beauté extérieure c’est bien mais cela n’est rien si on n’a pas aussi la beauté intérieure c’est à dire un minimum de culture.

Balthazar Castiglione par Raffael. Balthazar Castiglione by Raffael.

Ce café rouge et élégant est vraiment  le lieu idéal pour rêver de l’importance de la beauté dans votre vie. Thierry qui tient le bar lui aussi est un vrai gentleman. Il y a même un « happy coffee hour » et vous paierez seulement 1,60 euros votre café au bar au lieu de 1,80 euros si vous le buvez avant midi. Mais comment sont les toilettes me direz-vous ? Elle sont à l’image de ce café chic et elles ne vous décevront pas.

Et tout d’un coup un troisième Castiglione me vient à l’esprit: Balthazar Castiglione. Il fut le premier à codifier le principe “être beau à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur”. Castiglione a écrit le manuel du parfait gentleman et son livre est devenu un best seller au XVIème siècle dans toute l’Europe. Le peintre Rafael a même fait son portrait.

Et si j’allais dire bonjour à Monsieur Castiglione ? Sitôt mon café bu, d’un pas alerte et sous la pluie, je me dirige vers le musée du Louvre pour admirer le tableau de Rafael. La vie a Paris est vraiment extraordinaire. Le café ici est un philtre magique. Grâce à un simple café, vous vous retrouvez à déambuler dans le plus grand musée du monde. C’est ça l’effet fantastique des cafés de Paris !
—Edith de Belleville

  • Où ? 235, rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris
  • Quand ? 7 jours sur 7 ; 12h00 à 23h30 (petit-déjeuner : 7h à 11h30)
  • Comment y aller ? Métro Tuileries, Concorde line 1 or 12
  • Que manger, que boire ? Happy Coffee Hour : 1,60 euros votre café au bar avant midi. Voir la carte

Guide-conférencière à Paris, EDITH DE BELLEVILLE est également l’auteure de Belles et Rebelles, à l’ombre des Grandes Parisiennes ( Éditions Erick Bonnier ) un livre disponible à la Fnac.fr Amazon.fr et Amazon.ca

Rester au courant avec Edith et ses cafés preferés ! Abonnez-vous à notre newsletter, ici.

Le Quartier Montorgueil: A Village of Cafés

by Amy Thomas

Author Amy Thomas kicks off our series, “My Favorite Café Is…” with this tour of the Montorgueil District.

There was at least one time in my life that felt like I was living a Hollywood script: when the in-house recruiter of my New York-based ad agency strolled into my office to ask what I thought of Paris. Fast forward six months, and I was living the dream—I had gotten transferred to Paris.

I chose my apartment in the second arrondissement for its proximity to Rue Montorgueil, a delightful pedestrian street that is chock-a-block with marchés, fromageries, fleuristes, patisseries, chocolatiers and other temples of food and drink. Naturally, the classic French cafés were plentiful—about a dozen alone on “my” little stretch of the street.

Before long, I had my own routine and favorite spots. I was going to les vernissages (gallery openings) on Thursday evenings. To le marché bio (organic shop) on Boulevard Raspail on Sunday mornings. Getting warm baguettes from the boulangerie on my way home from work during the week. And wholeheartedly embracing the café culture any old day:

Mardi, 7h45: Café du Centre
A French lesson with my tutor before work. I found I learned more when I had a pain au chocolat and café crème to inspire me.

Courtesy of Cafe du Centre

Mercredi, 20h: Le Café
A hot date with une salade de chèvre chaud. Is there anything better than solo dining? Anything better than café salads, served with baskets of crusty baguette? In a word, non.

Courtesy of lafourchette.com

Jeudi, 19h: Lézard Café
Not ready to climb the six flights up to my apartment just yet. Oh, look, a table au terrasse. Don’t mind if I do.

Courtesy of Lezard Café

Vendredi, 22h: Le Compas
A late dinner and carafe du vin after my American friend and I got in a cheesy blockbuster at the Cinéma Les Halles. Croques and burgers—the perfect Franco-American finale.

Photo: Edith de Belleville

Dimanche, 16h: Au Rocher de Cancale
After a weekend of flaneuring, Velib’ing, and other favorite Parisian activities, a moment with a book and a chocolat chaud. I really was living the dream.

Courtesy of Au Rocher de Cancale

Each of these spots had their own personalities, of course. And I frequented cafés beyond my own happy universe, of course, of course. Because the cafés are everywhere in Paris. They’re such an important part of life. The stained walls. The dark woods. Those irresistible bistro chairs.

Passing time at a Parisian café is an everyday luxury. They don’t rush you, don’t shame you, they never disappoint you. Instead, they invite you in and make you feel part of the very history and culture that seduced you. Let’s hope it stays that way.

AMY’S FAVORITE CAFES

©Lisa Anselmo

Café du Centre
57 rue Montorgueil, 01 42 33 20 40

Most cafes in Paris have been there for generations, or at least feel that way. This one is a little newer; it’s airy and bright from two walls of windows and has a jam-packed terrace.

Le Café
62 Rue Tiquetonne, 01 40 39 08 00
“Funky” isn’t exactly a word associated with the French, much less a French café but with its dangling globes, shelves of antiques and other unexpected charms, that’s exactly what Le Café is.

Lézard Café
32 Rue Étienne Marcel, 01 42 33 22 73
Lézard serves a relatively varied menu for a café (pasta, duck, prime rib (!)), but more often than not, the young Bobos thronging the giant terrace are there to drink.

Le Compas
62 Rue Montorgueil, 01 42 33 94 73
A fabulous corner location, a boisterous clientele, an excellent late evening option.

Au Rocher de Cancale
78 Rue Montorgueil, 01 42 33 50 29
A classic. While the interior is actually non-descript, the building and café have been around since 1848, giving it a well-worn, cozy vibe. Of all things, don’t miss the beautiful façade.

AMY THOMAS is the author of three books including Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (And Dark Chocolate) and its follow-up, Brooklyn In Love. For two lucky years, she got to call Paris home. She now resides in Brooklyn as a freelance writer, covering food, travel, and parenting.

NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE CAFE!

Have a café you love? Tell us about it and we may profile it, or include it in our site’s upcoming café guide. From upscale haunts to the local dive—we love them all! More info here. Nominate here.

Introducing Edith de Bellevilles’s Café Series

Parisian storyteller and licensed tour guide, Edith de Belleville

[Trouvez ci-dessous la version française]
Parisian storyteller Edith de Belleville spends a lot of time in cafés, bistros, and brasseries around Paris. A licensed tour guide, Edith is our go-to for the history of Paris, and notably its cafés. She has her favorites, but also discovers new cafés all the time as she bides her time between tours. We’ve asked Edith to share her picks with us—and you can be sure there’s a story in each.

In this upcoming series, Edith will showcase some classic places full of history, and some new and notable places worth a try. Make no mistake; these are not restaurant reviews. You’re going to be taken on a unique journey through time as only Edith de Belleville can do.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for Edith’s favorite places around Paris to sip a coffee or glass of wine and watch Paris go by.

Don’t miss Edith’s cafe recommendations. Sign up for our newsletter on the sidebar menu or on the homepage

Edith de Belleville is an attorney and licensed tour guide in Paris. She is also the author of Belles et Rebelles, à l’ombre des Grandes Parisiennes (Éditions Erick Bonnier) available in French at Fnac.fr Amazon.fr and Amazon.ca


VERSION FRANÇAISE

Photo: Edith de Bellevillle

Il était une fois à Paris…Edith a toujours aimé raconter des histoires sur la ville qui l’a vue naître. 

Quand elle n’est pas en train de faire découvrir sa ville adorée, Edith est attablée à la terrasse d’un café. Nous lui avons donc demandé de nous raconter ses cafés préférés, les anciens comme les nouveaux. Et même si c’est un fait bien connu que la Française ne grossit pas, Edith a bien voulu nous dévoiler aussi les bistros et les brasseries de Paris qu’elle affectionne particulièrement quand elle a (un peu ) faim. Siroter un café ou un verre de vin tout en regardant Paris et les Parisiens, c’est sa Vie Parisienne qu’elle vous fera partager. Restez branché dans les semaines qui suivent et Edith vous fera découvrir  les histoires  qui se cachent  derrière les cafés connus ou inconnus.

Avocate et guide-conférencière à Paris, Edith de Belleville est également l’auteure de Belles et Rebelles, à l’ombre des Grandes Parisiennes ( Éditions Erick Bonnier ) un livre disponible à la Fnac.fr Amazon.fr et Amazon.ca

Rester au courant avec Edith et ses cafés préferés ! Abonnez-vous à notre newsletter, ici.

 

Welcome to Save the Paris Café

(Our First) Letter from the Editor

Hello, readers!

Well, we are officially launched. C’est parti, as they say: here we go! For those hundred or so of you who have already subscribed during our beta stage, what can we say but, “merci!” And, if you’re just finding us now: bienvenue. Welcome, friends.

Who are we? We are an ever-growing group of French and expat collaborators, all lovers of café life in Paris, who will be extolling the wonders of the Paris café, and sharing the latest café news. For more on that, and why we do what we do, go here.

Photo: Edith de Belleville

What will you find in our pages? In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing articles from, and interviews with, notable locals, writers and authors, restaurateurs, and other residents sharing their stories  and backstories about their favorites cafés, café trends and news, and café culture in Paris. We’ll highlight new cafés, local favorites, cafés in danger, and more. Meet our team, and our growing list of extraordinary contributors.

We hope you’ll come along with us as we grow and evolve, and celebrate the Paris café. In a globalized world, where trends come and go at a breakneck pace, and local color can become whitewashed by commercialism and gentrification, Save the Paris Café is here to remind us that we can’t take for granted the unique and wonderful gems that make Paris shine, like her cafés and the diverse communities they  serve.

Enjoy the read, and join our café cause. Your table awaits.

Lisa Anselmo
Founding and Editorial Director

Lisa Anselmo at La Grappe d’Or, in the Montorgueil district. Photo: Geoffrey Guillin

Want to write for us, or contribute a photo or video? Here’s how.
Nominate your favorite cafe.
Alert us of a café closure.

Cover image: Edith de Belleville