There’s all manner of delicious ways to start the day in Paris. Years of bad coffee and limp pancakes are now firmly in the past, and if you’re willing to drop up to €20 on the first meal of the day, it’s never been easier to find an exquisite flat white and syrup-drenched short stack. Here is a checklist for the best breakfast in Paris.
Belleville Brûlerie’s ace little coffee bar – sibling to one of our top five brunch spots La Fontaine – is a proper neighbourhood café. Perch at the counter to read the paper with an espresso, or bag one of the teal-topped tables at the back. The menu’s short and sweet at breakfast time.
Created on the site of a 1920s dance hall, this exhibition space has a great cafe, run by chefs Anna Trattles and Alice Quillet, who are English and Anglo-French respectively and serve one of the best weekend brunches in the city, including a great fry-up, kippers, kedgeree, pancakes and porridge. The baked goods, especially the scones, are superb, and the serious barista does some of the best coffee in town.
This modern bistrot in the heart of Paris second district had to be on our list of the best breakfast places in Paris, and apparently we are not the only ones to think that way. It is always crowded! So if the weather is nice and you are not against the idea of taking your breakfast away on some bench, you have to go there! English muffin and crispy bacon, scones and a killer homemade sticky bun.
Health-conscious New Yorker Marc Grossman threw over a Wall Street job 15 years ago and moved to Paris, where he has created a quartet of excellent healthy-eating addresses. His latest is this edible homage to New York City in a former railroad warehouse. What pulls crowds are the are made-on-the-premises New York-style bagels in flavours including onion, poppyseed and pumpernickel, and also Polish bialy rolls.
Occupying a narrow, tiled space that was once a Moroccan restaurant near Canal Saint Martin, this is now the most popular new breakfast destination in Paris. Getting a table will often require a wait, even a long one, since they don’t take reservations. But it’s worth it because this “Melbourne-style cafe” does the best breakfasts in Paris, with dishes like black-rice porridge made with coconut milk and garnished with fromage blanc and seasonal fruit, or fried eggs and pancakes with bacon, Bourbon butter and maple syrup.
Bavarian-born former fashion PR Claus Estermann decided to share his countrymen’s love of a hearty frühstück when he opened this coolly chic boutique-cum-breakfast cafe in a side street near Les Halles. On the ground floor there’s a carefully curated selection of biscuits, mueslis, jams and other condiments, and in the green-carpeted dining room upstairs, you settle at a white table for a good feed. The German breakfast offers Saint-Nectaire cheese, hard-boiled egg, ham, fruit compote, bread and beverages.
Run by Guillaume Gil, who formerly worked at the swanky Hotel Plaza Athénée, this arty Left Bank pastry shop and tea room with Marimekko wallpaper pulls a stylish crowd. Simple French breakfasts comprise bread, pastries and good coffee during the week but, on Saturday and Sunday, there are freshly made fruit juices, homemade cakes and fruit compote in the lighter brunch menu. The full feed includes dishes like pumpkin soup with chestnut shavings and eggs Benedict.
This rustic hen-house-sized cafe in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés has become a hit by freeing the French talent for cooking eggs from the corset of traditional cameo roles. Here it’s all-eggs, all-the-time, with a menu that runs to well-executed basics like scrambled, boiled and omelettes and more sophisticated dishes like oeufs en cocotte.
The best grand-hotel breakfast buffet in Paris is probably the lavish morning spread at the Hôtel Le Bristol, but for a different but still luxurious start to the day, consider the superb Japanese breakfast in the light-filled dining room of the Four Seasons George V Hotel. This 10-part meal is expensive, but it’s beautifully prepared and you probably won’t want any other food than a late light supper after breakfasting on miso soup with tofu, pickled vegetables, nori seaweed, salted fish, Japanese omelette, steamed rice, spinach with sesame seeds, fried tofu, salmon sashimi, daikon turnips with soy sauce and green tea.
Designed by star New York designer Peter Marino, this chic dining room in the newly renovated Guerlain boutique on the Champs-Elysées has emerged as one of the most fashionable breakfast venues for the city’s fashion and media mavens. This serene, well-lit restaurant is run by chef Guy Martin of Le Grand Véfour, and the morning meal runs to freshly pressed juice, beautifully made bread and viennoiserie – pains au chocolat, pains aux raisins and croissants, plus farmhouse yoghurt or cheese, eggs to order, and tea or coffee.
Tipping its hat at the great American all-day breakfast, this snug little place in the trendy 10th assumes you’ll have a nice lie-in: it doesn’t open until 10am. From then on, though, a variety of themed prix-fixe brunch menus – American, English, Greek and more – are served all day. The Scandinavian one comes with a Nordic riff on eggs Benedict (with smoked salmon), and there’s also a gluten-free version.
If you are not the type to be very hungry in the morning but you value a good coffee, Coutume Café is perfect for you. Indeed, the place looks more like the coffee laboratory than a restaurant. You almost expect the waiters to wear lab coats and safety glasses. So the food is very classic, the “trio de viennoiseries” with croissant is an excellent choice! Plus, the coffee that is roasted on site is perfect.
If you are vegetarian, or simply like to start the day with something healthy and light, the Café Pinson is designed for you on our list of the best breakfast places in Paris. Soja yogurt, vegan butter (coconut and almond), soft tofu cream. Plus, the place looks very trendy. The place is located at 6 Rue Forez in the Marais neighborhood.
Café Oberkampf is something of an institution in the 11th arrondissement. The café feels like a typical neighbourhood coffee spot; local students brush shoulders and share tables with freelancers banging away at their laptops. The house speciality is a flavourful shakshuka, a traditionally Middle Eastern/North African dish of baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce, but the menu also features more typical breakfast dishes, including variations on the tartine (bread with butter or jam), granolas and even porridge.
While it took a bit of time for Parisians to get used to the idea of mixing sweet and savoury in the same dish, they did, and today, Pancake Sisters is always full. The café offers American-style pancakes with traditional sweet toppings (such as maple syrup or Nutella), alongside the daily-changing savoury options, such as the Panster Madame with charcuterie, melted cheese, cream cheese, organic fried egg and a side salad.