The coffee revolution in Paris
Author: Oliver Strand
A slew of new cafés is changing Parisians' daily grind.
The coffee revolution that has transformed the start of the day in cities such as Melbourne and London has finally surfaced in Paris. To be sure, some of the most stately cafés turn out the over-extracted, overheated swill most Parisians still drink, but, if you know where to go, you can find a coffee that could pass in Sydney or San Francisco. "Le flat white" is now French for coffee.
In fact, there's an antipodean current running through many of the best cafés in Paris. You might hear a familiar accent from behind the bar, and some recognisable options on the menu when you've pushed through the crowds at Holybelly - opened by Nico Alary, who worked at Melbourne's Market Lane - on a quiet backstreet off the stylish but still scruffy Canal Saint-Martin (holybel.ly). Or take a seat outside Fondation Café, a tiny espresso bar close to the Square du Temple in the Marais, opened by Sydney native Chris Nielson, who pulled shots at Mecca Espresso.
Not that these shops are simply copies of what you find in Australia. Some are in settings so regal and chic they could only be in Paris. There's Honor, an exquisitely stark kiosk in the courtyard of the Comme des Garçons building on the rue St-Honoré (honor-cafe.com), and Café Kitsuné, a coffee bar in the colonnaded arcade of the Palais Royale (shop.kitsune.fr).
It's that sense of place that sets these cafés apart. The real draw of Télescope, where fashion insiders cosy up in a buttercream-coloured room close to the Palais Royale, or Ten Belles (tenbelles.com), where the attractively dishevelled spill out onto the street off the Canal Saint-Martin, is that they are populated by the tastemakers who give the city its character. Go for the expertly made coffee, stay for the scene.