Coutume Café - Paris
Paris, a city known for its rich cuisine and excellent wines, has long been reproached for its undrinkable coffee. Happily, in the last few years, the city has seen a coffee revolution. Local brewers like Coutume, Café Lomi, and Belleville Brûlerie in Paris’ east side have brought the craft of artisan brewing to Paris’ coffee connoisseurs.
Coutume, in addition to supplying coffee beans to many Parisian restaurants, has two outposts in the city. The Finnish Cultural Centre’s Coutume Instituutti, a coffee shop within the Institut Finlandais, provides an occasion to meet and enjoy a drink while participating in the many artistic and social events proposed by the institute. This sister branch is a superb café with extras in a lovely Scandinavian insprired space.
A few minutes walk from the Bon Marché on Paris’ Left Bank is Coutume Café Babylone offering: coffee, fresh fruit juice, baked goods, and lunch specials like delicious sandwiches, savory tarts, and salads. A delicious weekend brunch features many options ranging from a more traditional plate of eggs, ham, spinach, and mushrooms to the exotic Columbian spread of fried plantain cakes with tomato and garlic sauce, roast chicken, and avocado with coriander.
The ambiance is casual, friendly, and multilingual. Busy behind a white tile bar, the team of artisan baristas produce perfectly-frothed cappuccinos and artisan brewed coffee. On mornings and afternoons, the space is filled with happy Parisians and expats. Expect a couple of French girls conversing quietly in the window over steaming coffee and a shared slice of carrot cake, or a more boisterous group of Americans ordering soups and sandwiches from the lunch menu. The community table at the end of the room is usually filled with serious individuals quietly tapping on their laptops keys and sipping on their flat whites.
A simple and spacious interior design incorporates modern tiles, hardwood floorings, wooden tables and chairs, and exposed bulbs that hang on long rods from the high, traditional French moulded ceiling. The effect is a white Scandinavian space that allows for easy movement and a calm atmosphere.
A favourite café for many, Coutume is a must visit for anyone traveling in Paris and craving a good cup of coffee in a welcoming community space.
Images © Emma Stencil
After a few years traveling around Europe, Emma traded Parisian cafés and marchés for the New York dollar-slice. Currently based in Manhattan, Emma works in travel PR and writes about food, wine, and destinations. Find her brunch recommendations at www.goodbrunch.wordpress.com