Espresso on every corner

Coffee can be a reason to cross town. Or just leave your apartment. Luckily, the 20th arrondissement is full of places in which to find a decent roast, often with good music, a friendly welcome and wi-fi thrown in. Here, in no particular order, are 15 local favourites and recent discoveries.

Cream A chic niche on multi-culti rue de Belleville, Cream upped the local coffee bar when it opened in 2015. The excellent Belleville Brûlerie roast comes in a well-edited range of styles – including a mini-crème-like cortado (3€) for those expanding their coffee vocab – but there’s no decaf, soy or wi-fi. Tempting sandwiches, salads, cookies and cakes hit the spot if you feel like eating. Afterwards, head up the steep hill to Parc de Belleville for one of the best views over Paris. 50 rue de Belleville

Les Pères Populaires This place, with its fine tunes, mismatched décor and bargain coffee (1€ espresso), is a chilled-out haven near Place de la Nation. It has 5G wi-fi, plenty of space and a laissez-faire attitude towards laptop jockeys who spend hours over a single beverage. If you come for lunch, the 16€ set menu is seasonal and satisfying (with moreish Ten Belles bread on the side). With a truly mixed crowd – native millennials, families, welded-on regulars – Pères Pop is also a lively (read noisy) option for apéro46 rue de Buzenval

Les Pichettes This homey newcomer does a 10€ Sunday brunch, making the most of the market atmosphere and passing foot traffic. It’s mostly a lunch spot, though, open from 11am to 4pm every day but Saturday, with a daily menu (three courses, 15€), natural wines and beer from Montreuil brewery La Baleine. Continuous service means you can just pop in for noisette (1.90€) served in a vintage teacup with choc-coated coffee beans on the side. 47 rue des Vignoles


Le Café Sans Nom On Thursday and Sunday mornings, this spacious café (on the corner opposite Les Pichettes) hums to the rhythm of the open-air market in Place de la Réunion. As well as a certain zinc-bar, no-frills charm – and serviceable coffee (1.30€ noisette) – there are books to browse, wi-fi and a genuine neighbourhood vibe to enjoy from a table on the terrace. 57 rue de la Réunion


L’Escargot d’Or They roast the coffee on the spot here. It’s only open in the afternoon (or evening on Friday and Saturday) and closed Sunday. They also have a stand at Marché de Charonne on Friday mornings and sell coffee beans from around the world. 53 rue de Bagnolet

La Chouette Well-made espresso and flaky croissant at La Chouette (with its double meaning of owl and super) is a good way to start the day, with free wi-fi removing any excuse not to work, if that’s the mission. Locals take equally to the footpath terrace for a sundowner. The menu at lunch and dinner is fresh and inventive and the Art Deco design touches – mirrors, light fittings – make this handsome space a standout at the southern end of the arrondissement. 89 rue des Pyrénées

Le Barbouquin Worth the detour to street-art-filled rue Denoyez, this cute, casual café does double duty as a second-hand bookshop (hence the name). Sip your noisette (2.40€) in a velour-covered armchair or at the long communal table. It has wi-fi but also a weekend laptop ban – to encourage conviviality, as a sign on the door helpfully explains. Its comme-ci, comme-ça attitude to tables filled with laptops bearing glowing fruit is, it seems, increasingly common. 1 rue Denoyez

Café La Laverie It’s a little bit Paris terrace, a little bit rock’n’roll, with fairy lights outside and retro-inspired décor indoors (including the old laundromat sign, evidence of the building’s former life). In the fine weather, enjoy your espresso (1.90€) or panaché (that’s a shandy in Australian parlance) looking out across the shady square. There’s no wi-fi, just conversation, cigarettes and a book (yes, a paper one). Cnr rue Sorbier and rue de Ménilmontant

Benoît Castel – La Pâtisserie-Boulangerie The open-kitchen concept comes to the bakery. At Benoît Castel’s eponymous boulangerie-pâtisserie, you can have excellent coffee (2.20€ noisette), lunch or weekend brunch (29€) with a backdrop of artisan flour, dough hooks and antique wood-fired ovens (logs stacked neatly the side). Long tables, floor-to-ceiling front windows and wi-fi make this a very pleasant working spot. Take home some jam, biscuits or granola as well as irresistible bread and pastries. 150 rue de Ménilmontant

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Cerwood Terrasse Just off the main strip at Jourdain, the second Cerwood address (after the original in the 19th) is more log cabin than typical Parisian café. It’s all antlers, animal hide and hunks of tree suspended from the ceiling, not to mention a leather chesterfield couch by a faux open fire (in an echo of the owners’ pretty-rustic florist shop, Nouvelle Ere, nearby). The coffee is from Brûlerie de Jourdain, there’s free wi-fi and, as per the name, an inviting terrace. 8 rue Jean-Baptiste Dumay

Kahwehgi Coffee House Pull up a stool at the bar in this tiny, friendly café for a macchiato or signature Kahwehgi (an espresso topped with cream), both 2.50€, made with coffee from award-winning French roaster Pfaff. A range of teas, sweet nibbles and ground coffee are available to take away. The location is welcoming, too, on a leafy side street between Place Gambetta and Père Lachaise cemetery. 9 avenue du Père Lachaise

Ô Divin Traiteur Mid-morning, just after opening, the glass-and-marble bar at Ô Divin Traiteur is already topped with Middle Eastern-inspired pastries and salads. The whole place smells incredible, and the espresso (2€) is smooth. Linger for lunch or go up the road to sister épicerie and primeur (greengrocers) – both part of the group along with Restaurant Ô Divin in the 19th – for wine, cheese, charcuterie and fresh produce, if you fancy a gourmet picnic at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. 118 rue de Belleville

Le Monte-en-l’AirHidden away opposite Ménilmontant’s beautiful Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix church, this design-focused bookshop – art, photography, graphic novels and illustration – is not really a café, but it does offer coffee and cold drinks on the terrace. 2 rue de la Mare

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Aux Ours Maybe it’s the banks of sidewalk tables, maybe the neighbourhood atmosphere, but this place is always buzzy, often to the point of heaving. It leans more towards bar/restaurant (with a classic French menu and new home-delivery service) than café, but in the morning, it’s a quiet place to work or simply have a coffee (1.10€ espresso). The spacious interior and free wi-fi make it popular with freelancers. 236 rue des Pyrénées

ABC Belleville – Arts of Bakery & Coffee Opposite the forecourt that overlooks Parc de Belleville, ABC puts the city at your feet. Although you might not notice the view (look, the Eiffel Tower!) if you’re here, bleary-eyed, when it opens at 7am. If a croissant and espresso (1.20€) are not sustenance enough, the breakfast offerings extend along a distinctly anglo bent, from granola to omelette, and for those who don’t get going until midday, there’s a lunch menu, too. 10 rue des Envierges

 

 

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