Café life in Paris and restaurant reviews

Café life in Paris is the best

This post will be all about the café life in Paris and restaurant reviews. To me, a visit to Paris includes a relaxing café life and people watching. Visiting a fancy restaurant is also nice, but honestly, I prefer sitting outside at a classic Parisian café with a coffee or a glass of wine, looking at the beautiful buildings and watching chic Parisiennes and tourists walk by.

I was in Paris with my bestie a couple of weeks ago, and before we left we got lots of great tips on where to eat. We couldn’t try them all, but here I’ll let you know my thoughts about the ones we did try. In addition, we also sat down on a few random places when hunger or thirst suddenly got to us. There are SO MANY cafés on almost every corner in Paris that it’s not hard to find a cozy place for a quick pit stop, lunch or dinner.

Strathberry

Hotel Costes

We got so many recommendations to try Hotel Costes. It was kind of a must, so we had lunch here the first day.

Even before we came I realized this was a posh place with a posh staff (which was confirmed by a lovely SA we chatted with at Dior before going to lunch, ha!). It wasn’t possible to book a table online and I had to call THREE times to get a reservation. First time I called it was too far away and I was told I had to call back the day before I wanted a reservation. So I did, but then I was told I had to call back the same day because they were so busy during fashion week. Three times was the charm, and when I called back the same day we finally got a reservation for lunch.

The restaurant area is beautiful with a small garden. We ordered mimosas and avocado and salmon sandwiches with super thin fries. Although the food tasted great, it wasn’t fantastic, at least not for the ridiculously high prices. If you pay that much for a meal it should give you something extra and surprise you in a positive way. Sure, this is a nice restaurant with lovely surroundings, but this is the most expensive mimosa and sandwich I’ve ever had! On a more positive note, the service was great and our waiter was very friendly with a sense of humor.

All in all, Hotel Costes is a lovely place, but to be honest, it’s not worth the money. We were happy we’ve tried it out so we know what the fuss is all about, but we’ll probably not visit again.

Monsieur Bleu

We wanted to have lunch with an Eiffel Tower view and had a few options based on recommendations before we left. We chose Monsieur Bleu and booked a table for a late Saturday brunch. Although the place is wonderful and we sat outside on the terrace, there was absolutely no Eiffel Tower view because of the many large trees! You had to go outside the restaurant area to get a glimpse.

Apart from this, the food was great and we loved the relaxed but classy atmosphere. We ordered two different salads which were both really nice. The portions were quite small, so keep that in mind if you’re really hungry. But it was OK for us since it was lunch and it was nice not feeling stuffed afterward. The price level was quite high, but all in all, it was worth it. I’d love to visit another time for dinner. The inside of the restaurant looked amazing and I’ve heard it’s a cool place to go for a Friday or Saturday night dinner.

Shopbop

Kong Paris

We had booked dinner a couple of weeks in advance and had big expectations for Saturday evening at Kong Paris. This futuristic rooftop restaurant lies in an amazing glass dome where every window boasts a different view.  So you can imagine our disappointment when we arrived and were shown into another room with no view what so ever! No tables in the main area were available. I’m sorry, but WTF? We booked weeks in advance and were led to believe we were supposed to get a table in a unique glass dome with a great view. They should at least have informed us there was a risk of getting a table in another room. Bummer!

We could see the disappointment of other guests as well when they were shown into the same room as us. A lady even refused to sit down and left. I can’t blame her, this was not what we signed up for. But it was 9 pm on a Saturday evening in Paris and we didn’t have a better alternative, so we decided to make the best of it.

To give them some credit, our waiter was very nice and gave us the best service. The food was amazing, and after one of their signature drinks with passion fruit and some wine, we enjoyed ourselves despite the lack of their futuristic atmosphere with a view.

In addition, it was the night before my bestie’s birthday so, after dinner, we went one floor down into their cocktail bar where a DJ played just the right mix of classics and modern electro tunes. And when the clock struck twelve it was officially Jannicke’s birthday, and of course, she deserved to start her birthday celebration with champagne!

To sum it up, make sure you are getting a table in the main glass dome area when you book, or else you may end up very disappointed. Apart from this, the food and service were lovely, and I recommend a visit to the cocktail bar after dinner. The price level is pretty high, but if a nice view had been included, it would have been OK.

 

Café de Flore

This classic Parisian art deco café in Saint Germain is one of the oldest coffee houses in Paris and a must to visit. And all the tourists obviously know that! Café de Flore doesn’t do reservations, so when we popped up for lunch on a Sunday it was super crowded with a waiting line. We were very hungry and we don’t do long waiting lines (been there, done that) so we had lunch at another café and came back here for some cake later on in the afternoon.

We got a table outside and ordered a bottle of rosé wine, their take on the Napoleon cake and some strawberries and creme. The lazy afternoon atmosphere gave us the chance to really enjoy this place. Our waiter was really sweet and service-minded. We had no plans this afternoon so hanging out here while people watching and chit chatting was the best way to spend it.

If you’ve never been to Café de Flore I suggest you go next time you are in Paris. Although it resembles many other Parisian cafés, it has a great history and their cakes are lovely. Next time I’ll have lunch or dinner here, if there is no waiting line.

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L’Avenue

The day after, on Sunday evening, we had a dinner reservation at L’Avenue. This restaurant lies in Avenue Montaigne, in the middle of all the luxury designer boutiques. Naturally, this also reflects the clientele. There’s plenty of Birkins and Chanel bags to spot, so this is a great place for handbag watching for a crazy handbag lady like myself. I brought my new Gabby along and she blended in well.

This place was amazing! Not only did this restaurant have a really pleasant atmosphere, we also got a table by the window with a great view of the amazing Dior boutique across the street. Our waitress was incredibly professional, service-minded and nice. I also teamed up with her, very discreetly, to arrange a special birthday dessert for Jannicke as this was her actual birthday.

We shared a lovely salad as a starter, followed by duck and cod as a main course. When it was time for dessert I received a tiny signal from our waitress that she had everything under control. A few minutes later she came out with a chocolate fondant with a candle for my birthday gal. Perfect ending to a perfect day.

Out of all the restaurants we went to on this Paris trip, L’Avenue is the winner. The atmosphere, interior, service, food, drinks and people watching are the best.  Yes, it’s pretty expensive, but when the overall experience is amazing, it’s worth it. We loved this place and can highly recommend it. But remember to book a table in advance because it’s popular. And I certainly understand why.

Christian Dior Avenue Montaigne Paris

Judy Paris

We had breakfast at Judy the last day in Paris. Here, everything is homemade, seasonal, locally sourced, organic and biodynamic. We sat outside so we could do some people watching at the same time, but it’s nice to sit inside as well. It’s also a popular takeaway place.

Their coffee is amazing! It was so good that I had to order two café au laits. We had banana bread, acai bowl, and avocado sandwich for breakfast and everything tasted delicious. The staff was super friendly and sweet. Prices aren’t too bad either, for Paris that is. Definitely a great place for breakfast or lunch that I’d love to visit again.

Ladurée

Last but not least, we need to include Ladurée. To me, this is the place to buy macarons, especially when you’re in Paris. Pierre Hermé makes amazing macarons too, but there is just something special about Ladurée. The fairytale-ish interior, the pretty boxes and the beautiful rainbow of macarons and other yummy treats. Although it’s really nice to sit down at one of their restaurants for lunch or for some cake and a glass of pink champagne, we only went in to buy a box of macarons this time.

IRO

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