Melburnians are faced with a serious problem when it comes to overseas travel: finding a place that does decent coffee. We live in a city where coffee-making has been elevated to the highest echelon of scientific/artistic achievement and where rockstar baristas are recognised on the street. Sometimes, we forget that most other cities in the world are not like this. And in those cities, we suffer.
Paris is no different. With few exceptions, its coffee-loving citizens and tourists live in a city where buying a morning brew runs a high risk of watery, bitter, badly textured disappointment.
Then there’s Holybelly. This petite café in the 10th arrondissement has been winning hearts (and ruining coffee everywhere else for Parisians) since 2013 – and has taken a lot of inspiration from Melbourne. The owners Sarah Mouchot and Nico Alary (who aren’t from Melbourne, although we suspect they must have visited) describe Holybelly as “really close to a Melbourne-style café in the sense that we specialise in delicious food served from 9am, good coffee and friendly service."
The beans at Holybelly are sourced from a local roaster, and the water for the espresso machine goes through a reverse osmosis system to ensure it’s of the highest quality. On the drinks menu, you’ll find flat whites, on-trend filter coffee and craft beer.
On the food menu, you’ll find an even more explicit nod to Melbourne.
"Eggs and sides is the ultimate Melbourne breakfast. You'll see people in cafés, before work or on their days off, smashing hearty portions of eggs with a few sides and a thick piece of sourdough. There's no better way to start your day really."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Time Out Paris’s review of the café describes Holybelly’s staff as “tattooed” and “beanie-wearing” (sound familiar?). Even the fit-out – all steel frames, vaulted ceilings, filament lightbulbs and bursts of greenery – feels quintessentially Melbourne.
Next time you’re in Paris, track down Holybelly and introduce yourself. We’re sure you’ll receive a warm welcome.
For a guide to the best cafés in town, check out our list of Melbourne's best breakfasts.