I love Paris. And all that is typically Parisian… including the small spaces. I find them charming! But I will admit that sometimes spending day after day in a standard cramped Parisian café can get a tiny bit claustrophobic. When I’m feeling that way, I head to Instituutti for an afternoon of airy, light ambiance and zen vibes.
Not to mention: the coffee is stellar (another thing your average Parisian café is lacking!).
When I tell you that this Latin Quarter café’s full name is Coutume Institutti, there’s a chance you’ll recognize the name of the quality coffee that’s invading Paris. If not, do a quick Google search to see all the buzz surrounding Café Coutume.
Founded by an Australian (coffee connoisseur heaven) and a Frenchman, Café Coutume is dishing out their quality roasted coffee to cafes around Paris. Notably, Rocketship in Montmartre (which we reviewed and loved)… and Instituutti in the Latin Quarter! Hmmm, I wonder if Coutume’s goal is to franchise their coffee beans in every Parisian neighborhood?
If you don’t like coffee (even the really, really good stuff), don’t worry. There’s something for everyone to enjoy at Instituutti.
First, the rue des Ecoles entrance to the café takes you through a miniscule boutique/gallery. If you love Nordic design, you’ll probably spend a few minutes browsing.
Follow the signs through the boutique to the café. The first thing that will probably strike you is all the pure, natural light flowing in from the 2-story windows. Next: the airy ambiance, thanks to the high ceilings, minimalist design, and sparse décor. That’s Nordic architecture ladies and gentlemen… and it can be very comforting!
Listen to the low hum of background conversation: now THIS is somewhere you can have a nice, zen moment.
The fragrance of coffee – the good stuff, not burnt or budget – and steamed milk will probably waft over to you next. Take a deep breath and enjoy it! Mixed into that smell you may also detect some chocolate, some chai… there’s food here too. Traditional Finnish dishes are on spotlight and although I didn’t have a chance to try any of the food, it looked delicious.
The coffee on the other hand, I did try. And it’s terrific… just what I need after being pumped full of cheap, bad expresso all week! I also tried the chai latte my friend ordered and It. Was. Divine. My friend (who has spent a LOT of time in India) told me it was the best chai she’s had since she’s been back. That was 2 years ago.
The Latin Quarter is littered with very good as well as very bad (and overpriced!) cafes, so it’s nice to add one to the “excellent” side of the list.
Gold star for you, Instituutti.
60 rue des Ecoles 75005
Open: Tuesday – Saturday 9am-7pm, Sunday 10am-7pm
Note: On Sundays, enter Instituutti from 33 rue de Sommerland