Located in the 18th-century former convent of Les Récollets, Café A is unique, nestling as it does into one of the corners of this beautiful building of huge white stones. It’s an artistic landmark beloved by Parisian initiates – to reach it, you’ll need to navigate your way through an iron gate and across a cloistered courtyard. Open until 10pm in winter and until midnight in summer, the huge space is decorated with works by young Parisian artists, in a series of exhibitions that’s refreshed every so often over the course of the summer. But the real draw of this bar is its secret garden, protected from the street by a surrounding wall – a vast, poetic courtyard planted with old trees.
An array of chaises longues are set out like an invitation to relax, peacefully reading a book during the day or with a glass in hand in the evening. On the menu are good quality (but not cheap) organic and biodynamic wines, as well as bruschetta, salads, charcuterie and cheese plates and a main dish of the day – order at the bar if you don’t want to die of hunger, as service is slow and quickly gets overloaded. Be aware that it closes at 10, so come in the day for the best of the garden, or before 7pm to be sure of finding a seat outside.
The café also puts on a cool programme of entertainment: small concerts on weekends, but also cine-concerts, live sets from underground music station Radio Nova, artistic performances and DJ sets get the courtyard moving. The weekend programme can be found on their Facebook page. No reservations.
This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list.