Working in tourism, I’m constantly asked questions about Paris. Travelers who do our tours, visiting family or friends, friends of friends, random people on the street… It seems they all believe I am a beacon of Parisian knowledge! (I am.) However, something I still struggle with is restaurant recommendations in ‘touristy’ parts of Paris. Well in La Caféothèque I’ve found a central, delicious, quality stop for food and coffee.
I’ve been on the prowl for better-than-average coffee in Paris for a while now, and I’m happy to say that I’ve found some amazing locations (like Instituutti, KB Cafe) peppered all over the city. Now, I’ve got a recommendation up my sleeve that’s right on the Seine River!
It actually wasn’t online research that brought me to the banks of the Seine in search of coffee, as with my other finds. It was the recommendation from a very close friend. We had just popped over to L’Institut du Monde Arabe for the breathtaking view, but it was too chilly for a tea on the terrace so we continued on our walk.
My friend suggested we stroll along the Seine- it was a beautiful day after a string of grey ones so we were happy to be outside. As we approached the Marais, she spotted the café she’d been wanting to take me to for months: La Caféothèque! In we went.
Right from the start, we were greeted warmly by the staff at the entrance, where their coffee beans are sold. We chatted with one of the baristas for a couple minutes about coffee and tea (have you heard of blue-green tea? They have it here!) before entering the café part of Caféothèque.
After walking through a bright, couch-lined, high-ceilinged lounge area (my sister would LOVE this, I said to myself), we arrived at the café counter. Though we saw a bit of seating there, we continued just past the counter to the ‘tropical room’… the beautiful golden light peeking through the windows was calling to us!
Plus, a table had just opened up.
I’ve got a thing for cappuccinos lately, so I ordered one without hesitation. My friend chose the lunch formule, which comes with a coffee-of-the-day (a sweet aromatic Ethiopian blend that day), a quiche or tart, and a dessert. She graciously let me try everything.
First things first: the cappuccino was excellent. As with any good coffee, it didn’t need any sugar. The fragrance was pleasant and the drink didn’t leave any bitter taste in my mouth. Not like my neighborhood brasserie’s coffee does!
The vegetable quiche – though a bit small – was delicious and paired nicely with the simple green salad cozying up next to it. The real show-stealer however was the generous portion of carrot cake. It’s been years since I’ve eaten carrot cake, and this hearty hunk only whet my appetite for more. (Can you predict that Sight Seeker’s Delight might post a carrot cake recipe soon?). La Caféothèque also offers cheesecake from the now-famous She’s Cake boutique in Paris. But a word to the wise: get there early in the day if you want one of those coveted cakes; to our sadness La Caféothèque had none left by the time we ordered.
All in all, we had an excellent lunch and absolutely delicious coffee. The golden-hour light drifting through the windows as the sun set over the Seine River was just the icing on the cake.
I get the feeling that this place is pretty busy. Even though we arrived around 3:30pm, many of the seats (especially in the tropical room) were taken. We really were lucky to snag our table! Just a tip for you – if you’re going for lunch, try to make it an early (noon) or late (post-2pm) one, to give you a better chance of good seating.
52 rue de l’Hotel de Ville 75004
Open : every day 9:30am – 7:30pm