The clichéd Parisian café. Accordion music play in the background as you idle away an hour or two, people-watching or reading some sort of literature (probably Hemingway), nursing a tiny espresso or equally tiny glass of wine, basking in the glory that is Paris and the luxury of wasting time in it. While this is all wonderful, finals week during grad school has eliminated such luxury for me, and sent me roaming the city in search of a more laptop-friendly café. And to be honest, Paris has a bit of a problem with those tiny espressos: they are usually really not very good (here's a blog post that explains why). So I took to the Internet, and found the following two beautiful little cafés that serve a variety of high-quality imported coffee, lattes (which the French have decided just don't exist), salads, soups, and baked goods (including chocolate cake!), and feature free WiFi and outlets for laptops.
53 Avenue Trudaine, 9éme
Situated on the corner of a cute little square overlooking the Rue des Martyrs, KB Cafeshop serves amazing coffee (including the gorgeous latte art creation at the top of this post) along with scones, cookies, sandwiches, salads, soups, and even smoothies and juice. That's right, juice has hit Paris.
The thing I love about KB though is the bar along the window that overlooks the square (which happens to be quite festive at the moment). Power strips galore, the bar is the perfect place to park your laptop and get some work done while sipping a gorgeously large latte or artisan drip coffee and munching on an apricot scone or 6€ carrot soup. I spent six hours here today (a Saturday) and the place never got too crowded or loud to work, although in the moments when I looked up from my work to take a people-watching break several different languages (including English) washed over me.
3 ter Rue Marcadet, 18éme
Café Lomi is tucked on the other side of Montmartre, in a hidden part of the eighteenth arrondissement that's slowly becoming one of my favorite Parisian spots. It might be a bit out of the way, but it's worth it for the view of a very different Paris than the clichéd romantic Eiffel Tower version. True to the broken cliché, Café Lomi doesn't fall into the traditional Parisian Café category. It's got sort of a warehouse feel, with a big, beautiful open interior, industrial chic lighting, and even a communal table. Definitely a spot for coffee nerds, the coffee menu offers several different types of beans and brew methods to choose from. And on a misguided search for the bathroom, I accidentally stumbled into the storeroom (much to the horror of the guy working there) and was faced with bags upon bags of beautiful, rich imported coffee...so I know for a fact they're not lying when they say it comes from Kenya. Or Colombia. Or Ethiopia.
They also have an incredible 8.50€ soup/salad combo, a delicious chocolate cake, free (fast!) WiFi, and a view of this really cool graffiti mural on the barbed-wire topped wall across the street...which may or may not house a previous nuclear site, war camp, or factory (the most likely but also the least imaginative).
So until I am freed from the grad school finals burden burying me in 20 pages of unwritten papers, you can find me at either one of these study-spots sipping a beautifully-foamed latte and slurping on winter soup.