As a freelancer in Paris, I’m constantly on the lookout for great places to work. But while the city boasts a plethora of libraries and co-working spaces, I usually prefer a café or coffee shop with a dash of charm and style.
While a quiet library can sometimes feel like the ideal space to work, especially on deadline, it’s tough to stay in a library all day, especially if you have a tendency to get a bit peckish or thirsty. Co-working spaces, meanwhile, tend to be a bit more expensive in the long run. Most of the ones in Paris charge you by the hour, and while they also allow you to redeem whatever you’ve paid for food or drinks, even I can’t imbibe 20 euros worth of coffee in five hours (as much as I’ve tried!)
Instead, I prefer to work in independent coffee shops and cafés throughout the city. Unlike in the U.S., where you often feel pressured to “pay rent” when you’ve been sitting in a café for an hour or two, French cafés are usually happy for you to sit unobtrusively and work while nursing just a coffee or two – provided you’re not taking the space away from someone else who might want it.
Should you decide to work in any of these cafés or coffee shops, keep a few things in mind. While laptops are welcome in these places during the week, weekends might not be the ideal time to work. And if you notice that a café is filling up, especially at lunchtime, consider moving along or, at the very least, closing your computer for an hour and enjoying a meal.
With that in mind, here are my current favorite spots to work in Paris:
This café boasts book-lined walls and tons of delicious teas and baked goods to enjoy while you wait for inspiration to strike. It’s slightly less work-friendly than some other spots on this list due to a dearth of plugs, but it’s always nice to have the option to take a work-break by perusing the adjoining Merci concept store.
Where: 111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris
It’s hard not to be inspired by the lending library bookshelves at the back of this cozy coffee shop in the 11th. With fast WiFi, a good selection of lunch options, and more than a handful of outlets for charging up your computer as you work, this is one of my favorite spots to work in Paris.
Where: 36 rue Saint-Sébastien, 75011 Paris
One of Paris’ original craft coffee houses, La Caféothèque serves up delicious, single-origin coffees and boasts no fewer than three separate rooms, each with its own vibe. The front room affords beautiful views over the Seine and the Notre Dame Cathedral, while the back room has more individual tables and quite a few plugs for charging your computer as you work. I also love that it’s open until 7:30 pm, which means your work day won’t get cut short at 4:30 or 5 pm when many other shops shut their doors. Just be aware: computers are not allowed here on weekends!
Where: 52 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75004 Paris
This trendy coffee shop serves a full lunch menu, including vegetarian and vegan options, and tons of delicious hot beverages including my favorite golden latte in the city.
Where: 52 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 75010 Paris
One of my favorite coffee roasters in the city also has its very own coffee shop in the Goutte d’Or neighborhood. With a Brooklyn-style aesthetic and some of the very best coffee in the city, it’s a great place to get inspired.
Where: 3 ter rue Marcadet, 75018 Paris
I love this little coffee shop, tucked into a cozy street not far from the Canal. Not only does it serve one of my favorite filter coffees in the city – not to mention my favorite lemon cake – but sitting on the mezzanine overlooking the dining room below is the perfect way to get some prime people-watching time in (on breaks from working, that is!)
Where: 10 rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010 Paris
This immense space in the 19th is decked out to look like a home, with each room decorated to resemble, for example, a kitchen, living room, or bedroom. You can even sit and work in the bathtub! It’s worth mentioning that laptops are not allowed on weekends or at lunchtime, but the coffee here is cheap, and the surroundings couldn’t be more charming.
Where: 39 quai de la Loire, 75019 Paris
This outpost of Season, a popular North Marais restaurant with a stellar weekend brunch, is a great place to work thanks to fast Wi-Fi, tons of plugs, and delicious cakes. It’s far less busy than its sister restaurant around the corner, though you will have to duck next door if you want to use the facilities (no bathrooms here!) and it closes promptly at 5 pm, so if you’re hoping to work late, you’ll have to move elsewhere.
Where: 8 rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003 Paris
La Recyclerie is my favorite place to go when I need to work but also want some inspiration! With its outdoor space overlooking the petite ceinture railroad tracks and tons of regular events from yoga to gardening, this space can host you all day long – whether you’re working 10 hours or not.
Where: 83 boulevard Ormano, 75018 Paris
This spot breaks a bit from the rest of this list in that it’s a truly typical French café located in the quasi-touristy Latin Quarter. It doesn’t boast the fantastic craft coffee that so many of these other spots do, but it’s a great space to work, with a huge back dining room filled with cozy leather chairs. There are a handful of plugs and free Wi-Fi, and best of all, it’s open until 2 am – perfect for late-night work sessions.
Where: 57 rue Lacépède, 75005 Paris