Les Parisettes: the best breakfast in Paris – my top 5
When some people think of French dining, they think of a three-course dinner with champagne, magret de canard and perfectly caramelised crème brûlée.
Others may think of a lazy two-hour lunch, of just-barely-seared entrecôte, salted fries and rich red wine in the afternoon. Still others may think of the plethora of French desserts, from macarons to Breton crêpes to the most decadent of pastries, like the religieuse. All of these dining experiences are quintessentially French.
But me? I think of breakfast.
I have a thousand and one memories of my first trip to Paris as a wide-eyed fourteen-year-old. Years later, I’ve amassed thousands more.
But one of my first memories of Paris has stayed with me all this time: my first French breakfast, under the narrow, sloping roof of a tiny Parisian hotel. Warm, crusty baguette, tart-yet-sugary raspberry jam, flaky croissant, juice moments out of the orange, and a bowl (a bowl!) of creamy chocolat chaud.
Today, after several years of Parisian life, I’ve honed my breakfast carnet d’adresses down to only the finest destinations; places that make me remember how much I loved that first breakfast in Paris.
Here are my favourite Parisian breakfast spots…
If a multi-course French breakfast, replete with all the trimmings, is what you’re searching for, Café Madam is the place to go. Tucked away in the second arrondissement, surrounded by the city’s historic passages couvert, Café Madam is an understated, modern space that serves the now-famous Parisian coffee staple, Coutume. With your creamy latte, order a menu brunch with fresh juice, pastries, seeded breads, granola, fresh berries, yogurt and condiments… and even an egg, if you’re famished.Café Madam
150 Rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris
Nestled in a narrow shopfront with a plush upstairs area, it’s clear that the people at Claus really care about their work. The coffee is rich and aromatic, the pastries are fresh and buttery and the homemade orange blossom yogurt is divine. Situated on the cusp of the first and second arrondissements, Claus is the perfect place to start your day before window-shopping along the rue Saint Honoré, or raiding the fresh food markets on the rue Montorgueuil.Claus
14 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris
L’Acanthe may not have as much of a cult following as the other destinations on this list, but having lived around the corner from this little art deco café for a year, it’s the closest to my heart. Steps from the Tour Saint Jacques and its gardens, on the threshold of the Marais, L’Acanthe serves an eight-euro petit déjeuner classique that I must have ordered a hundred times. Their breakfast is simple: fresh, crusty baguette, strawberry jam and salted butter, pulpy fresh orange juice and a piping hot coffee, served at a tiny round table with a turquoise velvet seat.L’Acanthe
22 Rue Saint-Martin, 75004 Paris
Métro: Hôtel de Ville/Châtelet
I’ve written about the glory of Marlette before, but there truly is nowhere else in Paris like this charming little café. Named after owners Margot and Scarlette, Marlette has a cosy, living-room feel and some of the finest hot chocolate in the city. Be sure to snap up one of their pistachio financiers, as well, for a sweet morning pick-me-up.Marlette
51 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris
While the other spots on this list are cafés, Gontran Cherrier is a bona fide boulangerie. Nestled in one of my favourite areas of the whole city, the leafy, quiet Montmartre corner of Lamarck Caulaincourt, renowned chef Cherrier’s venture into baking occupies a corner shop fitted out in white métro tiles and wide window benches. The perfect mix of tradition and modernity, in my humble opinion, this sleek little bakery makes the most perfect croissant in all of Paris.Gontran Cherrier
22 Rue Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris
What’s your favourite Paris breakfast haunt? Please share your best-loved petit dejeuner locations the comments below.
1 & 3 © Gemma King.
2. Café Madam, via IDF-Commerces.
4. L’Acanthe, via Entouriste.
5. Marlette, via Pretty Parade.
6. Gontran Cherrier, via Painrisien.