Five Paris cafes within walking distance of Sacré-Cœur Basilica
When it comes to uncovering the quality and aesthetic of coffee in Paris (and pretty much anywhere else), you can’t beat Sprudge for on-the-ground reporting; however, our month living in the 18th arrondissement gave us a chance to fall for a few local favorites of our own.
Whether you’re in touristic mode visiting the Sacré-Cœur Basilica or looking to find a spot to read or write for a while, here are my top five within reasonable walking distance: Cuillier Abbesses, Sylon de Montmartre, KB CaféShop, Lomi, Cassiopée Café. Now, one at a time:
Given its proximity to Sacré-Cœur, this branch of the Cuillier coffee shops dotting Paris tends to get busy, which made quiet starts to the day there—both with my daughter and solo—even more special. Cuillier roasts its own beans, employs adept baristas, and provides an exercise in willpower to avoid the daily temptation of an accompanying baked good.
Whether seated on a stool in the expansive front window, reading the paper or watching pedestrians pass, or at a table toward the back, if you’re lucky enough to claim space, stay and savor it.
The other cafes on this list are easily discoverable, but encountering Sylon reminded me of traveling before the ubiquity of the Internet, when unexpectedly turning onto a side street might reveal a hidden gem.
One night, Eliza and I went for a long daddy-daughter walk around the neighborhood without my mobile phone to guide or distract us, and stumbled upon Sylon roughly a block below Cuillier. When we returned together the following morning, I enjoyed a delicious and unhurried flat white—at least until Eliza spit up on the leather couch. (If you’re reading this while sitting on that couch: don’t worry, this was months ago now and I made sure to clean it quite thoroughly!)
Other customers met for French language lessons, read novels, tapped away on their laptops on free wifi, and chatted away. Recently opened and with less of a visible online footprint, Sylon never got particularly busy while we were there, though I imagine that’ll quickly change.
This shop is no secret, at an intersection on the bustling Rue des Martyrs in the 9th arrondissement. You’ll find a good few coffee drinkers camped out on their Macbooks here, but the outdoor seating truly can’t be beat on a fine day.
KB’s is a full-on cafe, so you’ll also find enough cakes and sandwiches to sustain you. As sleek of a space as it is, the foot traffic and churn meant that a few of my orders felt somewhat rushed, it was at times difficult to find a seat, and I found the quality to be less consistent than elsewhere. That said, when it was good, it was very good.
Few day-trippers to Montmartre unfortunately seem likely to wander all of the fifteen minutes of a walk down to the 19th arrondissement, but there’s no lack of reasons to spend time there too. For coffee just east of Boulevard Barbès, Lomi has its own roastery on-site and provides training as well. The prices seemed a bit higher than elsewhere, but every cup I experienced was expertly, and beautifully, made.
If you’re looking for a space to work a while, Lomi allocates a coworking-esque table at the front where you’re welcome to sit with a laptop for however long you like. If you’d prefer to sit instead with analog reading or writing utensils, there’s a gem of a small and comfortable couch on a raised platform at the back left.
You’d do well to enjoy your coffee here without rushing; however, if you’re picking up a takeaway order, don’t overlook the neighboring street art. And if you’re like us and planning a post-caffeine picnic, wander over to the market, Marché de La Chapelle (i.e., Marché de l’Olive), and the captivating park, Jardins Rosa-Luxemburg.
I’m including Cassiopée as more of an honorable mention here. The coffee was quite average during our visits, both the beans and the preparation seemingly treated as a functional complement to their gluten-free baked goods. But the space was artsy, cozy, and full of books—an ideal place to sit inside for hours on a rainy day. And there’s a perfect little patio in the back to appreciate more pleasant weather.
Coffee aside, the staff was memorably welcoming: it may have helped that the owner and I were wearing the same shirt or that the barista entertained our daughter and even invited us as guests to her birthday party. We immediately felt like neighbors.
Given the constantly changing coffee scene in Paris, we’ll be keeping an eye out for any new additions whenever we’re back in the neighborhood next. Did we miss anywhere you love?