There’s all manner of delicious ways to start the day in Paris. Years of bad coffee and limp pancakes are now firmly in the past, and if you’re willing to drop up to €20 on the first meal of the day, it’s never been easier to find an exquisite flat white and syrup-drenched short stack.
The French capital has embraced Anglo breakfast culture with abandon, led by a clutch of pioneering roasteries and patisseries. Even classic Parisian breakfasts are getting a makeover. The finest tartines now comprise artisanal sourdough and obligatory organic Normandy butter, while chia seed bowls and smoothies are as ubiquitous here as they are in New York or London.
The most traditional petit déj remains a pain au chocolat still warm from the boulangerie oven, but frankly, sometimes we fancy something a little more substantial for breakfast. Looking to go big at the weekend? We’ve picked the best blowout brunches, too.
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Best breakfasts in Paris
What’s the deal? Belleville Brûlerie’s ace little coffee bar – sibling to one of our top five brunch spots La Fontaine – is a proper neighbourhood café. Perch at the counter to read the paper with an espresso, or bag one of the teal-topped tables at the back. The menu’s short and sweet at breakfast time: eggs or a tartine.
What should I order? A café crème and an oeuf à la coque – a boiled egg served with sourdough soldiers. The bread comes from superb bakery Le Petit Grain just down the road.
Where? 50 Rue de Belleville, 20th
What’s the deal? This tiny daytime-only café might be the best-loved in the 11th, such is Moko and Omar’s reputation for hospitality (and tahini cookies). Blending influences from Japan, Lebanon, New York and London, the menu spans everything from granola to freshly baked cakes. Breakfast is served until 11am, with lunch starting from noon, so get down early.
What should I order? The labneh toast, but save room for lunch at Mokoloco, their new sandwich shop around the corner.
Where? 5 Rue Saint-Bernard, 11th
What’s the deal? The name’s misleading: there are actually seats at Frenchie To Go, aka ‘FTG’, the most casual spot in Gregory Marchand’s ever-growing Rue du Nil empire. The transatlantic menu sounds improbable yet works magnificently, mixing shakshuka and pastries at breakfast with hot dogs and lobster rolls at lunch. Everything is made from scratch and ingredients are sourced from the same producers that supply the adjacent one-star restaurant.
What should I order? The bacon, cheddar and egg muffin with an earl grey tea and glass of OJ.
Where? 9 Rue du Nil, 2nd
What’s the deal? They inexplicably don’t advertise this, but La Felicità’s ‘caffetteria’ is actually open from 9am – and you don’t need to work at Station F to breakfast here. That means you’ve got the pick of the seats in Europe’s largest restaurant at your disposal and a seriously sugary help-yourself spread to choose from. We mean really sweet: popcorn-topped brick-sized brownies are a-OK breakfast foods if you ask us.
What should I order? One of the city’s cheapest flat whites (€3), a fresh juice and a chunk of tear-off brioche.
Where? 5 Parvis Alan Turing, 13th
What’s the deal? A good option for the gluten and lactose intolerant, Wild and the Moon’s Saint-Honoré location has brought its sustainable, plant-based philosophy to the city’s ritziest quartier. Made as they are with seasonal, organic and ethically sourced ingredients, their ‘detox’ dishes are about more than just skin-deep beauty.
What should I order? A cold-pressed tiger juice (feat. sweet potato, turmeric and orange) and the moon porridge (quinoa, millet, banana, cinnamon and almond milk).
Where? 19 Place du Marché Saint-Honoré, 1st
What’s the deal? The coveted metal tables outside bakery Blé Sucré might not represent an all-weather breakfast option, but this is one of few spots in Paris where you can actually eat viennoiseries from a fantastic boulangerie without having to leave the premises. The only place to stop before exploring the Marché d’Aligre.
What should I order? Stay classic with a croissant. Don’t be misled by their deceptively airy appearance: they’re rich and buttery inside.
Where? 7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 12th
What’s the deal? This Strasbourg-Saint-Denis coffee bar makes more than just a mean espresso. Brunch-style breakfasts are served here every day of the week. Think eggs, eggs and more eggs, baked Turkish-style with yoghurt, za’atar and walnuts as well as fried sunny side up on pancakes. You wouldn’t know from the street, but it’s surprisingly roomy, too.
What should I order? Smoked salmon, either on toast with ricotta, pickles and dill or draped over the Nordic eggs benedict with homemade hollandaise.
Where? 79 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 10th
What’s the deal? KB Coffee Roasters’ second address is a top-notch roastery and bright, airy café in one. It’s a popular laptop zone during the week, but don’t let that distract you from the excellent coffee, either espresso-based or pour-over. To eat, choose between butter-slathered banana bread (what third-wave café would be complete without it?), toasties, scrambled eggs and healthy-ish brunch dishes like chia seed pudding and granola.
What should I order? The rosti za’atar topped with shaved carrots, kale, roasted hazelnuts and a fried egg.
Where? 25 Rue Amelot, 11th
What’s the deal? All-organic and gluten-free bakery-café Chambelland – a laid-back spot more focused on taste than Instagrammable aesthetics – is a godsend for anyone drowning in a sea of pain au chocolat. Aside from being on top of their allergens, they also bake a huge range of sweet and savoury treats, from cakes to breads to cookies.
What should I order? A browkie – that’s a brownie-cookie – and bag of chouquettes to share or the pain de sucre, their signature sweet rice-flour bread, vaguely akin to brioche.
Where? 14 Rue Ternaux, 11th
What’s the deal? The hype rings true at this wildly popular Melbourne export in Montmartre, a homely spot thanks to its cosy checkerboard floors and spindle-back chairs. They’ve earned a rep for their blowout brunch, but get here when they open at 9am and there’s no reason you can’t have fried brioche with crème anglaise or truffled mushrooms and eggs before exploring the Sacré-Cœur.
What should I order? If you’re short on time, go all-Aussie with a lamington and flat white.
Where? 10 Rue Lamarck, 18th
What’s the deal? This modern, light-filled bakery prides itself on its creativity. Chef pâtissier Timothy Breton has made quite the splash with his seriously beautiful tarts and flans. Even if you come for an early breakfast, you can’t leave without something sweet to save for later on. They also have a second location on the Rue Saint-Martin.
What should I order? A raspberry croissant or their famous pain praliné, bien sûr.
Where? 18 Rue de Turbigo, 2nd
What’s the deal? Ten Belles might be an old hand on the Parisian speciality coffee scene, but their cute Rive Gauche café only opened in summer 2019. They still set the standard for others. Their winning formula is simple: first-rate coffee, bread from their boulangerie and plenty of seasonal bakes.
What should I order? Add sugar to your coffee at your peril, but an uber-sticky cinnamon and orange bun is the perfect choice on the side for pick-me-up petit déj.
Where? 53 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 6th
What’s the deal? If you like your tartines sans gluten, your burritos meat-free and your lattes made with turmeric, Season is for you. Don’t expect to hear much French spoken here, but do bank on uber-pretty presentation and great lighting for the perfect #butfirstcoffee selfie. Founder Cathy Closier has also released a lifestyle book featuring some of the café’s most popular dishes.
What should I order? An aperol spritz without judgement before noon and the pancakes with crispy bacon, maple syrup and pecans.
Where? 1 Rue Dupuis, 3rd