Recently I had the opportunity to visit Paris for a week and since it had been a while since my last trip, I packed in a *bit* too much to my daily agendas. A little break was needed each day and today I’m happy to share with you some of my favorite places to pause in the charming ville lumière.
1. Café Lorette
9th arr. (metro: Notre-Dame-de-Lorette)
Small, charming, and conveniently located, I stopped into Café Lorette to have an apéro before meeting some friends for dinner nearby. One thing I love about café culture is that you don’t feel rushed to leave, even after finishing your drink, which allows you to spend time people-watching and decompressing from your day. After I had a small beer, I spent a bit more time journaling to remember my first day in town walking along the Seine and stepping inside the newly reopened department store La Samaritaine.
2. Chez Francis
8th arr. (metro: Pont de l’Alma)
If you are looking for a pause with a view, Chez Francis is a great spot! Not only are you minutes from the Seine, you also have a prime view of the Iron Lady herself. En route to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent from the Musée Rodin, I took a mental note when I spotted Chez Francis as a place to suggest to friends for meeting after my last cultural excursion. At the time I thought it a convenient location to regain some strength from a long day and catch up with friends. After we were seated on the terrace, I was not prepared to look to my right and see in plain view the symbol of Paris herself. Un verre de vin with a side of sparkle? Yes, please!
3. Terrasse de la Sybille
19th arr. (metro: Buttes-Chaumont)
Terrasse de la Sybille is not the place to go if you want to “see and be seen”. It is not fancy, there are no specialty menus, and it won’t be on any “best of” lists this year. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed my little pause at Sybille because of its unassuming and neighborly atmosphere. Sometimes it’s nice to get outside of the center of town and experience life in a residential, slower part of the city. After a late afternoon stroll in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, I meandered past some pétanque players and wandered down the streets in this new-to-me neighborhood. I badly needed an espresso and some time to journal again so I stopped into one of the first cafés I saw. On this gray day the café welcomed friends catching up outside and what looked to be a few regulars/friends of the server playing cards and dice in between servings. It was a no-frills yet memorable way to spend my pause in the 19th.
4. Chocolaterie Cyril Lignac
11th arr. (metro: Charonnes or Rue des Boulets)
Chocolaterie Cyril Lignac is the contrast to Terrasse de la Sybille. It has thoughtful branding, a well-placed location, and I-want-to-try-everything treats. It was raining the day I visited so I ducked inside and sat at one of the tables next to the blue and white tiled walls. While the communal table in the middle of the café was less charming and more work-from-anywhere utilitarian, I was still able to savor my afternoon treat with the attention it deserved. To be honest I don't even know the name for the particular treat/pastry I had tried; I recall the name had “pépites” at the end. It was some sort of chocolate bread- literally a pain au chocolat- that I wasn’t expecting to fully enjoy but still think about! It was light, but not super flaky like a croissant. Dense, but not as crispy as a baguette. A flavorful treat, it not only allowed me to pause then but, like travel, gave the gift of a memory so that when days get difficult, I can mentally pause and then carry on!
Do you have a favorite place to pause in Paris? Let us know in the comments below!
From the Midwest, Natalie is a Francophile at heart. Her interest in French started when studying ballet and the language and culture entranced her through her student years. She became involved with the - Alliance - in the suburbs of Chicago after she spent an unforgettable year teaching English in a French high school near Bordeaux. She is happy to join the team in Boston and work with the members to provide them with unique opportunities, quality programming, and a community through French!